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Sancerre and Environs: Le Laurier, Le Bistro des Monts Damnes, Le Chat, etc.

Jake Dear | Aug 12, 201803:03 PM

Lodging: La Chanceliere, http://www.la-chanceliere.com/ 5 rue Hilaire Amagat, Saint Satur, 18300, Sancerre, is a lovely and well-appointed six or so bedroom ancient manor house run by a friendly and very helpful couple, Nicole and Jacques, and their two dogs. Super and extremely generous breakfasts are served in the four different downstairs parlors -- and in good weather, on the terrace, with a view of Sancerre perched atop its small mountain. We would happily return here. Dining nearby:

Dinners: Le Laurier, Saint Satur, https://www.lelaurier-sancerre.fr, a minute’s walk from La Chanceliere, was the dinner of the trip. Standouts: Escargot, tripe, tete de veau. This is old school in the best sense, and very well described (with great pics) by our dining companion here: http://foodandsens.com/made-by-f-and-.... We enjoyed this so much, we returned for Sunday lunch, which too was also lovely. Also: l'Auberge du Vigneron, just a bit northwest of Sancerre, in Verdigny, https://www.facebook.com/Lauberge-du-... was hearty and good (ubiquitous grilled chevere crottins with lardons; beef for two), but not memorable, except that the lighting was too bright. Finally, a Sunday night dinner at a local sports bar / pizzeria hangout, Auberge L’Ecurie, Sancerre, www.auberge-ecurie.fr was good, but nothing really special.

Lunches: Le Bistro des Monts Damnes, in Chavignol, https://www.montsdamnes.com/en/bistro/ . We happily went twice to this hopping, crowded, and very local place in a lovely village with its famous steep vineyards. Standouts: tete de veau, and wonderfully light and cheesy tourte au chavignol. Driving south to the Auvergne, we had nice fresh fish at Le Lion D’Argent, 36400 La Chatre, www.leliondargent.com, and finished with a fine Grand Marnier soufflé.

Out and about: In addition to visiting a few wineries (Domaine Vacheron, etc.) we also had a memorable excursion and visit (thanks to our traveling companion) to a walnut/hazelnut/almond-oil press and factory, Huilerie du Moulin de l’Île, in nearby (30 min drive) Donzy. The mill is circa 1860, and essentially unchanged since then. See the story and pictures at http://foodandsens.com/made-by-f-and-....

Note: We were initially unable to get in to Le Chat, https://www.restaurant-lechat.fr/en/ , but a week later, on our return drive from the south to Paris, we had a lovely Sunday lunch there, in the sleepy hamlet of Cosne-sur-Loire. This ended up being our favorite lunch of our 8-day trip. Standouts: asparagus soup with smoked fish pate; pork belly atop lentils; perfectly prepared tuna with (roasted seaweed?) atop mushrooms. Nice wine list, and lovely old bottles decorating the bright and lively room. We ended up visited here twice as well -- but the second, just 30 minutes after we departed, was to retrieve my wallet, which I managed to drop there. We realized that out only as we approached the first A77 toll booth -- and then backed up 600 meters on the shoulder of the autoroute, across an onramp to the prior exit, before quickly calling the restaurant just before they closed up for 36 hours. Now that’s memorable!

Next: Five nights in the central and northern Auvergne . . .

-- Jake

Le Laurier,
L'auberge du vigneron,
auberge de l'ecurie,
Le Lion d'Argent,
Le Chat
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