Gourmet nights: 10 of France’s best country inns with restaurants | Travel

Château les Oliviers de Salettes, Drôme

This turreted mansion used to be part of a larger château surrounded by vineyards. Today its grounds are given over to parkland and lavender fields. The 13 double rooms and nine suites all have glorious rural views over one of France’s most unsung regions. Bedrooms are unfussily styled with traditional furniture, exposed stone walls and wooden beams – and Lavandin, the hotel’s restaurant, is an absolute delight, showcasing the region’s terroir. Seasonal three-course menus (€65) span snails and coquilles Saint-Jacques, perfectly cooked shellfish beurre blanc, or local fowl, and Chantilly meringues.
Doubles from €99 B&B; sawdays.co.uk

Domaine de la Tortinière, Loire Valley

Poached chicken and pot-au-feu reign supreme in French-Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung’s film The Taste of Things, starring Juliette Binoche, which is in cinemas this month. It was filmed at a château deep in the dreamy Loire Valley and a similar gourmet idyll can be found at Domaine de la Tortinière, a romantic château-hotelwith pepper-pot towers set in glorious parkland. Just 10 minutes’ drive from Tours, this family-run Relais du Silence has eight traditionally decorated bedrooms alongside a seriously good restaurant. It’s the place for local duck with saffron, côte d’agneau, fabulous Loire cheeses and pear soufflé. Gastronomic menus start from €63, or opt for lighter bistro or vegetarian choices.
Doubles from €136 B&B; tortiniere.com

Auberge de Chassignolles, Haut-Loire

Another Loire gem to remind you of Tran Anh Hung’s culinary drama, Auberge de Chassignolles has a dreamy outlook over forests and fields towards Le Mont-Dore. This 1930s village restaurant-with-rooms is very much a locals’ favourite and its nine bedrooms (including two family rooms) are comfortable, unpretentious and simply furnished. Organic trout and Auvergne Puy lentils, wild mushrooms or poulet with ratatouille often feature in the value-for-money four-course menu (€38). Breakfasts include homemade crusty bread, jams and local butters.
Doubles from €55 B&B; sawdays.co.uk

Le Pont de l’Orme, Provence

View to the north slope of Mont Ventoux. Photograph: Daniele Schneider/Getty Images

Right in the foothills of Mont Ventoux, this charming, blue-shuttered auberge has five airy bedrooms enjoying views either on to parkland or Mont Ventoux itself alongside a pool, wine bar and restaurant serving Provençal cuisine. Dinners in fine weather are taken on the wisteria-clad terrace, with excellent-value €36 seasonal menus offering a range of dishes from velouté de champignons and oeuf parfait et lard to fish of the day. Follow with local cheeses and exquisite puds including pistachio fondant or nougat glacé.
Doubles from €150 B&B; pontdelorme.com

Hôtel les Orangeries, Vienne

This charming green-shuttered 15-bedroom Poitou hotel is proud of its organic credentials – an extensive vegetable garden, links with small producers and quality local farm produce all feature in its low-mileage seasonal cuisine. Dinners take place in the 18th-century wood-beamed Great Room, dominated by an enormous fire. A three-course menu (€38.50) might include local trout gravadlax followed by foie gras cooked in leaves from the hotel’s fig tree, followed by pink veal from the village farm or cod fillet, then local cheeses or perhaps an apple-pear Chantilly with pear brandy to follow. Afterwards, enjoy hiking or cycling through the Vienne and Gartempe valleys or simply flop in its gorgeous garden.
Doubles from €85 B&B; sawdays.co.uk

Maison Doucet, Charolles

Relais & Chateaux properties are famously gorgeous and often expensive, but this elegant riverside manor in the bucolic southern sector of Burgundy is an absolute bargain. Fifteen contemporary bedrooms and villas are just half the pleasure here. Maison Doucet’s gourmet restaurant with its outdoor terrace is the real magnet – with Michelin-starred chef Frédéric Doucet rustling up creative regional dishes (three courses, €65) using ingredients from his extensive kitchen garden. Enjoy starters such as asparagus with egg confit and hearty mains like Charolais “oxtail” gnocchi with black truffle and mustard broth accompanied by dazzling Burgundian wines. Its Bistrot du Quai has three-course set menus for €35.
Doubles from £90, room only; relaischateaux.com.

Hostellerie des Clos, Chablis

Wine-lovers will adore this charming vine-draped hostellerie set in the ancient Clos des Hospices de Chablis in Burgundy. Alongside 26 simply furnished bedrooms, this auberge is famed for its gastronomic Les Clos restaurant, where chef Guillaume Collet serves up Burgundian classics at reasonable prices (mains from €19). Look out for snails with garlic croutons or roasted scallops with slow-simmered leeks. A word of warning: the wine list features more than 400 Chablis, but the in-house sommelier is on hand to help.
Doubles from €110 B&B; chablis-hotel.com

Le Mas des Gres, Provence

Photograph: Pierre Longnus/Getty Images

The perfect stayover for antique hunters, Le Mas des Gres is relaxed, homely and a short distance from the renowned markets of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. It’s also within easy reach of the pretty villages of the Luberon. Mains (from €18) span local trout to tarte fine à la tomate et au pistou, fried courgette flowers, aubergine raviolis or piece du boucher et frites. Being in the heart of melon and peach country, breakfasts are particularly delicious.
Doubles from €128 B&B; masdesgres.com

La Bergerie Bearn, Pays Basque

This cosy 18th-century bergerie has amazing views over undulating Basque countryside towards the Pyrenees – and if you’re about to embark on the long-distance Santiago de Compostela trek, there’s no better place to fuel up. La Bergerie has four simply furnished bedrooms, including a delightful wood-clad shepherd’s cabin. Expect to find Bayonne ham, hearty garbure meat and vegetable soup (a medieval cassoulet) and deeply traditional dishes such as jugged hare, boar and venison – all for a reasonable €38 a head.
Doubles from €122 B&B; labergeriebearn.com

La Cour de Remi, Hauts de France

Photograph: Franck Hamel

A short hop across the Channel brings you to this gorgeous off-the-beaten-track 10-bedroom country inn in Hauts de France. Family run, it’s a haven of home comforts: expect simple rooms featuring exposed brick walls with wooden beams and a restaurant serving “simple, ultra-gourmet food”, most of which is locally sourced and produced. Alongside crusty homemade bread and organic wines, there’s a three-course €38 menu featuring starters such as brandade crémeuse de morue or crème de potimarron, then mains such as jarret de veau braisé or poitrine de cochon caramelisée with a gratin of Comté and lard.
Doubles from €115, room only; lacourderemi.com

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