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Any Loire Valley Tips For The How-To Guru?

Boy, I can't wait. As you read this, I'll be winging my way eastward on an Air France jet bound for Paris, and trying desperately to remember the verb conjugations for "I want to eat that/those/it/all of them/more of it." I'm headed to the Loire Valley for the first time to see some castles, drink some wine, mangle some language and see the sights.

Which leads me to ask you, my loyal readers: Is there anything that you recommend that I do in the Loire? Any sights that you've seen there that you absolutely recommend, or things I should definitely see and experience? I'm open to suggestions here, and if the suggestions have anything to do with searching for large pastries that absolutely must be sampled, well, all the better.

In the past, I've gone to Paris and done the requisite slog through the Louvre, visited the perfume factories of Grasse and the golf courses of the French Riviera. I've picked grapes in Burgundy and Beaujolais as a post-graduate college student, and last year I returned to Burgundy on a wonderful barge cruise.

Honestly, there is little about France that I haven't enjoyed, other than having the communication skills of a three-year old. Hope it continues on this trip. I'll keep you posted from the Loire, but in the meantime, send me some tips. Merci! Au revoir! And are you going to finish that croissant…baguette…chunk of foie gras…crepe, Suzette? Because I wouldn't want to see it go to waste.

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