Before May 2014, I wasn’t totally sure what Vouvray was apart from my mom’s favorite wine. Turns out, it’s actually a small town in the Loire Valley and all the wine produced there. It’s an especially nice because it’s easy to pronounce, for a French wine. Voo-vray.
Vouvray is made from Chenin Blanc grapes, so it’s a white wine and sometimes a sparkling wine, and it is yummy. It’s not the most famous wine within France, but it should be because it is delicious enough to make me put down my rosé. If you’d like to know more, I’ll go ahead and direct you to Wikipedia or another reputable source of your choosing, as this is not my particular area of expertise.
If you’re in Vouvray and you’d like to go wine tasting, you should call and make an appointment, especially off-season. Otherwise, busy wine makers will look at you like you are crazy for showing up unannounced, even though their website implies you can. Our lovely hosts at La Bagatelle recommended we check out Domaine Huet, one of the big-wig producers of Vouvray, and it was very nice. My favorite, though, was Domaine Pichot.
I’d never really thought of going to the Loire Valley. It sounded nice, but I had no plans to visit. My mother, however, did, and since she and my dad traveled all the way from California just to see me, I was perfectly willing to go wherever they damn well pleased, so off to the Loire Valley we went. (We saw a lot of chateaux. Like, all the chateaux.)
By way of this, we ended up staying in the town of Vouvray, which is home to my mother’s favorite wine and the loveliest B&B this side of the Atlantic, La Bagatelle Chambres d’hôtes. It’s run by Anne and Bertrand, a fascinating couple who lived all over the world before settling down in Vouvray to run their B & B.
What was my favorite thing about La Bagatelle? The interior design is Pinterest-worthy and the breakfast was delish (I love breakfast) but what makes La Bagatelle the best is the hosts. They are warm and welcoming and do everything to make their guests feel at home.
Anne bought almond milk and oatmeal especially for my mom prior to our arrival – how nice is that? They artfully engage their international guests in conversation around the breakfast table while making sure everyone has their coffee, tea, and fresh juice refilled.
If the idea of a communal B & B breakfast makes you cringe, know that in the summer, they set up little tables outside and serve breakfast to each party individually. (But I will say, I loved hearing Anne’s stories from Arizona and Bertrand’s opinions on diplomacy, and learning about the story of the art on Anne’s Russian collectibles from a Russian breakfast companion.)
Every morning, there was thoughtfully prepared fresh fruit, croissants, pain au chocolate, bread, ham, cheese, homemade jam, and the kind of delicious coffee you just can’t get in a French café. I loved the pretty place settings (which changed daily) and the tiny butter pats.
I adored staying in La Bagatelle. I love the color mint and I can’t resist homemade jam. I’d love to go back during the summer and take advantage of the pool.
A word of advice: the tiny town of Vouvray is not exactly hopping, and most of the restaurants are closed Sunday through Wednesday. You’re better off taking the short drive to Tours than eating at the one pizzeria in Vouvray that is open seven days a week.
(In the meantime, what to do in Vouvray? Wine tasting, of course!)