10 of the best foodie retreats in rural France

These charming B& amp; Bs, guesthouses and gtes offer comfortable pitstops on a French escapade, but with their mouth-watering regional food and wine they may prove hard to leave

Manoir de Troezel Vras, Brittany

Strawberries, squash, lemon verbena and lettuce come from Franoise Mayniers immaculately maintained gardens only inland from Brittanys Pink Granite Coast. She also keeps got a couple of donkeys, three cats and six hens who overlook the statues and ancient rose shrubs in the five gardens, separate bungalow and ponds. The manor has four rooms and an apartment, all done out in Breton stripes and nautical swank. The table dhtes set dinner, which Franoise prepares herself, usually involves fish and seafood, such as thick slabs of cod, prawns and crab. As the local fishermen dont used to go on Sundays, a typical Monday evening meal might be melon and mint soup, then chicken in cider followed by roast peach with gingerbread. Franoise also does an extraordinary far breton , a custard-based sponge cake with prunes.
Doubles 90, dinner 25, +33 2 96 22 89 68, troezel-vras.com

La Cour de Lise, Alsace

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Chef Jean-Paul Bosse and his wife Isabelle opened their maison dhtes in Willgottheim, 20 km north-east of Strasbourg, in 2010 having already created a restaurant on their ground floor. In fine weather, guests eat outside in an open-sided, beamed barn, and in winter, they sit in a dining room in front of an open fire. Isabelle describes her husbands creations as refined, authentic, simple haute cuisine. All products are sourced the local Kochersberg region, and emerge from the kitchen with inventive lan: blue ling and smoked salmon with Elodie potatoes, herbs and horseradish cream to start, followed by veal filet mignon with pleurotes ( oyster mushrooms) dAlsace, and for dessert, chocolate mousse or peach melba revisited. Jean-Paul even stimulates sptzles ( egg noodles) for the childrens menu.
Doubles from 125 B& B, half-board an extra 25, +33 3 88 64 93 36,
lacourdelise.fr

Le Manoir de la Rivire, Normandy

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The vaulted dining room at Le Manoir de la Rivire

Isabelle and Grard Leharivel have been running their guesthouse in Calvados for 32 years. Isabelle buys fish direct from the barges as they arrive at Grandcamp port, while Grard tends his vegetable garden and discusses Brexit with British guests over breakfast. On the table is homemade bread, fruit from their orchard and rhubarb and blackcurrant compote. Dinner, served in the vaulted medieval dining room, might be a fish stew, ham cooked in cider, orange segments in fennel and a splash of the local Calvados apple brandy in the sauce. Isabelle reserves her andouilles ( chitterlings sausage) for French clients: The English arent so keen! The home has three bedrooms and two gtes for rent near where William the Conqueror set sail.
Doubles from 65 B& B, dinner 26 pp, +33 2 31 22 64 45,
lemanoirdelariviere.net

Chteau des Allues, Savoie

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The kitchen garden

Owner Stphane Vandeville talks lovingly about what he has prepared for tonights snack: a tomato confit with crumble made from pine nuts, rosemary, parmesan and local goats cheese, followed by a chicken souffl, cheeseboard and poached peach with lemon verbena and sherbet. His five-bedroom guesthouse is majestic but its the garden with its 88 wood-framed squares of organic fruits and vegetables that is the most inspiring feature. Each 1.2 -metre square is filled with a mix of herbs and rare-variety vegetables, The squares are that size so you can reach the middle without stepping on the clay, tells Stphane. We have nine ranges in each square and use rotation techniques to develop healthy render. The fruit of that knowledge tomatoes planted with basil to protect them from insects arrive on the plates that evening.
Doubles 140 B& B, evening snack with apritif and drinks 48 pp, +33 6 75 38 61 56,
chateaudesallues.com

St Victor La Grand Maison, Loire Valley

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While St Victor is the perfect base for visiting the chateaux of the Loire, the prospect of a riverside barbecue under the 400 -year-old oak tree stimulates it hard to leave the manors garden. The region is known for its fish and fruit, and both are combined to create intriguing dishes. If you take one of the gtes, proprietor Marie Grandclment prepares a welcome basket of local render including potato cakes, smoked fish, and macaroons. Guests can sip ros from Anjou and the best of nearby Sancerre, Pouilly and Reuilly while gazing out across the grounds, stroll alongside the Anglin river or expend the afternoon playing the grand piano in the library. Marie bought the manor house more than 30 years ago after falling in love with it and has restored it gradually to ivy-clad, slate-roofed and turreted splendour.
Doubles from 125, evening snack from 20 pp, +33 2 54 37 46 55, saintvictorlagrandmaison.com

Tomlins Vegetarian Guesthouse, near La Rochelle

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Having run a veggie restaurant in Penarth, Wales, for eight years, David and Lorraine Tomlinson moved their family to the hamlet of Chambon, in Poitou-Charentes, in 2003 and converted a rambling old farmhouse into one of Frances few vegetarian guesthouses. The cowsheds are now two apartments. The French insure us as something different, although they tend to be vegetarian for health rather than environmental reasons, tells David, who prepares the food and runs the cooking school. The basics courgettes, potatoes, garlic and onions come from their garden, the rest comes from La Rochelles organic shops and a nearby farmers cooperative. A typical snack might include ginger squash salad with steamed bok choi, edamame beans, crispy weed, wonton and orange soy garmenting followed by carrot and feta rsti stacks, poached egg and tarragon hollandaise and, to finish, a custard tart with baked cognac figs. David also caters for vegans and those on raw-food diets.
Doubles from 75 B& B, +33 5 46 35 65 42,
tomlinsinfrance.com

Le Mas des Grs, Provence

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Ideally placed for a visit to the antiques marketplaces of LIsle-sur-la-Sorgue and the perched villages of the Luberon, Nina and Thierry Crovaras Provencal mas is the epitome of rural Provence. The couple met at hotel school in Switzerland and Thierry subsequently trained under Anton Mosimann at the Dorchester in London. The dinners Thierry cooks depend on what catches his eye at the market each day. Often appearing in pink braces over a pink shirt, he chats to guests before disappearing into the kitchen to prepare dishes such as red snapper and basil, Mediterranean meatballs, fried courgette flowers, rabbit with garlic and thyme or sea bass with ratatouille. Their cat, Rokey, spends most of the working day sunning himself on the terrace, where two huge trees acts as giant parasols for outdoor dinners. The mas is in the heart of peach, melon and honey country, so buffet breakfasts are delicious and there is always a fridge full of drinkings beside the pond. The couple also run cooking courses in March and October.
Doubles from 120, +33 4 90 20 32 85,
masdesgres.com

La Ferme des Prades, Auvergne

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For a couple born and bred in the Volcanoes natural park, Philippe and Franoise Vauch are astonishingly calm. The local cantal cheese forms a big part of their farmhouse cooking but they also specialise in truffades ( potato flapjacks) nettle soup, aligot ( cheese and mashed potato) and pounti a sweet-savoury loaf made from cured pork, spinach and prunes. Guests sit together at a single table in the evening while Philippe grills meat on the open fire, or prepares ham cooked in hay in the 15 th-century bread-oven outside( currently being repaired after a tree fell on it ). The grey-stone, red-shuttered home, constructed at the beginning of the 19 th century, has five bedrooms and there is also a brightly painted old freight wagon in the wooded grounds with its own kitchen and hot tub( 110 a night ).
Doubles from 75 B& B, dinner 25 pp and picnic lunch 12 pp, +33 4 71 20 48 17, fermedesprades.com

La Bergerie, Basque country

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Of the hundreds of places all over France called La Bergerie, this one in the rolling green Basque Country genuinely does live up to its pastoral name, with seats covered in sheepskin, a leg of lamb slow-roasting in front of the flame and sheeps cheese on the menu. Hosts Sabine and Didier Meyers other gourmet specialities include beef rib with hot barnaise sauce, cream of cpe soup, wild boar, venison, wood pigeon and home-cured ham. He uses the local red-hot Espelette peppers to spice up his gazpacho and pork terrine, as well as piprade ( spicy scrambled eggs and thick garbure ( cabbage soup ). Didier describes his cuisine as hearty, authentic, countryside cooking with big joints and big flavors. Guests can select a gastronomic version of the evening snack which includes foie gras. There are green fields all around, views of the Pyrenees and a salt-water pond for early-evening dips.
Doubles from 78 B& B, evening snack 29 pp( menu gastronomique 38.50 pp ), +33 5 59 38 63 76,
labergeriebearn.com

Les Hautes Claires, Dordogne

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