Chinon, in the Loire Valley about 30 miles southwest of Tours, is a small, charming medieval town on the banks of the La Vienne river. With plenty of restaurants, local services and sights it makes for an ideal home base. It’s pure delight to walk the narrow streets of the old town and take in the atmosphere.
Hotel Diderot, located on the east side of the town center within walking distance of beaucoup de restaurants, is ideal for those driving to les châteaux, jardins and other sites in the area. Easy to get in and out of with hotel parking – €7 a night – or a free lot just 50 yards down the block. The hotel, in an old manor house, has individually decorated rooms in a range of sizes. Even the “cozy” room was amply large for the two of us. The staff is très sympathique and will accommodate you in either English or French (or both) if you so desire. The breakfast showcasing their homemade jams is served in a quaint dining room or on the garden terrace in warmer weather. Great breads and bottomless coffee. The €9 price also includes artisan apple juice and local chèvre. Monsieur will explain to you the traditional manner in which to prepare your toast with fresh chèvre, honey and fresh cracked walnuts.
For casual dining Sucre Salé, listed in Lonely Planet, offers crepes, omelets and a prix fixe menu option during meals times, or Jeane de France has a wide selection of pizzas on a très thin French-style house made crust. Both are located in the town center near Place du Gènèral de Gaulle and have outdoor seating for those soft warm evenings.