Domaine des Hauts de Loire, Onzain

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Little did we know when we celebrated Relationnel’s birthday at Domaine des Hauts de Loire in Onzain in the Loire Valley last October that in June we would have finished furnishing a 400-year old house for rental just 15 minutes away! We had decided to come down for a week at the beginning of October to start looking for a place to retire in October 2014 and didn’t imagine for one minute that the first place we visited would be our dream home.

It was already cold in October and when we arrived at Rémy Giraud’s 2-star restuarant at Domaine des Hauts de Loire, an elegant 19th century hunting pavilion in a 70-hectare park, we were delighted to find ourselves in a beautiful drawing room with a log fire. There we were served amuse-bouches with our traditional glass of champagne, based on truffles, basil and red mullet. We were given the menu to peruse and decided to take the wine pairing menu. I had told them in advance that it was “madame’s invitation” so Relationnel was given a menu without prices.

After finishing our apéritif, we were shown to our table in the beautifully decorated dining roof next door. I can only say it must have been a very luxurious hunting lodge in its day! The pikeperch mousse with a crustacean sauce and the caviar and crayfish blancmanger were served with a local chardonnay 2007 from Oisly. This was followed by foie gras with shallot preserve and truffle shavings, lobster with chestnut ravioli and green apple jelly with rosemary and lime. And they were only the starters!

As becomes a hunting lodge in autumn, the main course was fillet of doe with parsnip and cardomom croquettes and mushrooms. To accompany it, we were served an excellent cabernet sauvignon made from the grapes of very old vines. After goat’s cheese with paprika on capsicum, we had peaches in basil with a sorbet in filo pastry and a chocolate sphere with the name of the restaurant in gold letters served with pears.

Of course, I only know what we had to eat and drink because I noted down everything in my trusty iPhone. What I do remember, however, was that each dish was an artistic marvel that tasted as delicious as it looked and that the service was impeccable. Next time, we’ll go there on a fine day so we can eat on the terrace that we tantalised us from our inside table. A perfect venue for a special occasion!

You can order à la carte (starters about 35 euro and main courses about 55 euro) or choose a set menu at 160, 96 or 77 euro at night or a special “express” menu at lunchtime Wednesdays to Fridays for 49 euro including a main course, dessert, glass of wine, bottled water and coffee.

Domaine des Hauts de Loire, Route de Herbault, 41150 Onzain 02 54 20 72 57,, (the English version of the site doesn’t seem to be working at present).
There is also a hotel with 25 bedrooms and 11 apartments but I haven’t tried them!
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15 thoughts on “Domaine des Hauts de Loire, Onzain”

  1. This restaurant looks beautiful..and the terrace DOES look inviting 🙂 Wonderful weekend to you Jill
    ps on a different subject…Cafe de Flore is showing here at the moment…I found it a bizzare to start with …then facinating from then on…couldnt stop thinking about it for days…trying to work out the true story line 🙂 I believe it is story of passionate love…but there is more to it than that…There is surely some syncronicity between soulmates and between past lives…too many links not to be…? Did you see it, Fraussie?

  2. Fraussie, I love reading about your travels and your celebrations at wonderful places that I can only hope to visit one day!! So I am making the most of my cyber tour, thanks to your blog and your wonderful photos. Clyde and I still remember with nostalgia an authentic French Restaurant in Mackay that we used to frequent in the early ’70s called Chez Andre. I don’t think we have visited any restaurant since then that has impressed us as much, and that has had the same quality of personal service, atmosphere and delicious food combined. It was there I tasted Veal Cordon Bleu for the first time. I also remember a three course meal for two was around $10.!!

    1. Those were the days! A three-course meal for two for $10! Those memories are so precious, aren’t they? Glad you’re enjoying your cyber tour, but I certainly hope we’ll see you over this way some day.

  3. Dear Fraussie
    Have been travelling for the past 6-7 weeks (Hungary, Vienna, Lake Como and Provence) and so haven’t had much opportunity to follow all my usual blogs. Just yesterday we were walking around the gardens in the Palais Royal and I thought of you and your blog. So I found your website and read your latest post on your wonderful experience with accommodation and dining.

    It made me wonder whether you can recommend any good bistrots/restaurants (affordable) for everyday dining at lunch time around the Palais Royal, Beaubourg/Marais area – we’re staying for a couple of weeks in an apartment a few minutes walk from the Pompidou centre.
    We’ve already been to A Priori The in the Galerie Vivienne and the light salads and desserts were very good. Today we’re going to Le Pain Cotidien (we often go to their cafe in Sydney) – as we discovered it walking back from the Galerie Vivienne to the Palais Royal.
    Before we left Australia you very kindly translated into French a few lines about my allergy to monosodim glutamate and my request for food without msg. I put it on our mobile phone as a memo and have been showing it to waiters ever since. It’s been a great help! So thank you again most sincerely for your help with this problem. And if you do have any suggestions for pleasant affordable places with good quality fresh food that would be great. With best wishes, Pamela

    1. Hi Pamela,

      I’m glad that the information has helped! If you click on Place to Eat & Drink just under the photo at the top of the blog, then scroll down to Paris, you’ll find a few recommendations for places to have lunch near the Palais Royal & the Louvre. They are described in a post called Five Places to Lunch near the Louvre. If you go to Louise’s on rue Croix des Petits Champs, tell her I sent you! Let me know how you get on. I do the sun will come out this week so you can eat at Diane’s in the Tuileries Gardens.

      1. Dear Fraussie

        Thank you very much for such helpful information. We look forward to trying out several of the ones you’ve recommended. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will be good tomorrow so we can go Diane’s in the Tuileries Gardens.
        Best wishes

        1. Thank you Fraussie. The weather was so beautiful today in Paris, after a week of clouds and showers, so we were able to enjoy sitting out at the Cafe Diane in the Tuileries Gardens. It was very relaxing and it was good simple food, delivered amazingly quickly. The views back to the Louvre and of the fountain and gardens are so lovely. We had spent the morning at the Louis Vuitton/Mark Jacobs Exhbition and then in another world at the wonderful Histoire de Babar, both at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. We will also be trying the Cafe Louise in the next few days. Thank you again!
          Best wishes, Pamela

          1. I’m delighted you were able to enjoy Café Diane in the Tuileries. I just love those views. I have to admit I’ve never been to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. I’ll have to remedy that! Enjoy Louise’s!

  4. Fraussie
    Once again, thank you! We went to Cafe Louise yesterday and tried her lobster salad, duckling parmentier and chocolate mousse. Superb! We mentioned you’d recommended and they were delighted (we met both Louise and her daughter) and they said how beautiful your new house is – they’d seen the pictures. It was interesting that many of the other diners appeared to be public servants, senior bank employees as you said in your blog.
    May have seen you in the arcades of the Palais Royal as we were walking through after lunch. At least it was someone who looks very like you. Best wishes, Pamela

    1. I’m so pleased you enjoyed Louise’s. I did go through the gallery yesterday but not sure what time – about 12.15 and then again maybe 2.30 or so.

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