Nogent le Rotrou is a town in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France. It lies about 150 km south west of Paris and 50 km west of Chartres. It is on the river Huisne on the border between the Eure-et-Loir and Orne departments and is part of the Perche regional parc.
Nogent can be reached via the A11 (Paris - Nantes) motorway, which passes 20 km south of the town. There are also regular trains from the Montparnasse station in Paris. Travel time by car from Paris is about 1h45. Train can take a few minutes less (1h40) if you take a regional express heading to Le Mans.
The town is small and it is easy to get around by foot. There is a limited urban bus service.
The town is dominated by the heavily fortified walls and towers of the 12/13th century Château Saint-Jean, which sits atop a rocky promontory about 1 km south of the town centre. Giving a great view over 5 valleys, it's easy to see why the spot was chosen.
Nogent is well-placed to visit the rolling countryside of the Perche
- Percheval : Yearly in May. A celebration of the Percheron (draught horse) and the medieval roots of the town, centred around the castle.
The town offers about a dozen restaurants, half of them being pizzeria-grills. For more up-market fare there are several restaurants in the surrounding villages (up to 20 km away).
- Brasserie de l'Hôtel de Ville, 30 place Saint-Pol. Right on the main square. Spacious, open late and the people are friendly. Food is served until about 22H00 and the bar stays open later. There is a full menu, offering choucroute, pasta, tartare, flammekeuche, mussels, etc. They also do snacks such as sandwiches, croque-monsieur, etc. The place is shut on Sunday evenings and Monday. Prices vary, with starters at about €6 main courses from €8 to €13 (Starter + main course + desert + 50cl beer = €29). Was totally refurbished in February 2010. There is a fixed price lunchtime menu at €9.50.
- Café Saint-Pol, 22 place Saint-Pol : Again another bar/restaurant on the main square with meals at lunchtime and in the evening. (Steak with side salad + 50cl wine + cheese = €25). Shut on Sunday. There is a fixed price lunchtime menu at €9.50. The bar has started to sell the "local" Nogentaise beer.
- Casa Line, place Saint-Pol. Restaurant attached to the bar of the same name. Opened in October 2009 and offers a variety of fare at a variety of prices with nothing being exhorbitant. The only "pure" restaurant on the place Saint-Pol and so the decor is more refined, even though the plastic chairs may not be to everybody's taste (Starter + main course + desert + 50cl wine = €29).
- La Station, 24 bis place du Onze Août 1944 : A pizzeria-grill with a fairly extensive "meat and other" menu. Very popular and one can understand why, as the owner has invested in the décor. Final cost depends on what you eat and drink so the bill could run from anything from 15 to €30 and beyond. (Starter + 75cl beer + pizza + desert = €33).
- L'Adresse, 17 place St Pôl : The Taverne restaurant which closed in October 2009 has reopened under a new owner and has a new name.
- Bar-Grill de la Gare, 12 place de la Gare : Right next to the station (to the left as you look at station building). Spacious and relatively modern interior. Does a garden service during the summer. Plenty of BBQ style cooking, with an open grill in plain view. Average salad, but good meat. (Starter + 50cl wine + steak + desert = €33). Three fixed priced menus from €11 to €21.
- La Maison Italie, 121 rue Saint Hilaire : Close to Place St Pol. Another of Nogent's pizzeria-grill. Given the name, one could hope for something more "authentique". Friendly service (as everywhere) but the TV, blaring loudly, dominates the scene. The house speciality pizza was a big disappointment (wafer thin crust and unappetising). Final bill including 50cl of wine + desert = €34.
- Rapido Pizza, 16 rue Saint Hilaire : Between the station and the centre of town. Small pizzeria that does a roaring take-away trade (so at least that means that ingredients are likely to be fresh). Everything is good; nothing is extraordinary (Beer + starter + Pizza + Desert + 50cl wine = €32).
- La Boule Verte, 8 place Saint-Pol : A bar/restaurant/hotel just off to the side of the main square. Has a €10 menu plus a fairly extensive menu. Restaurant is clean and tidy, but toilet facilities are somewhat antiquated.
- Hotel Restaurant de la Gare, 6, place de la Gare : A bar/restaurant/hotel opposite the Bar-Grill de la Gare (see above). Decor seems to date from the 1960s. Does various fixed priced menus, including an €11 menu in the evening with all-you-can-eat salad buffet ! (Buffet starter + main course + desert + 50cl wine = €16). Shut during the weekend.
- La Sarrasine, 18 rue Sully : A creperie opposite the church of Notre-Dame. Savoury and sweet pancakes plus steak, chips etc. (4 sodas + 2 bottles cider + 2 hamburger/chips + 2 savoury pancakes + 4 deserts = €77).
- Le P'tit Bistrot, 2 rue du Tertre : A small bar/restaurant on the western outskirts of town. Cheap fixed-price menu. (Aperitif + starter, main course, cheese, ice cream, 50cl wine and coffee = €15 !). It's semi-industrial cuisine (i.e. there is nobody spending hours over a hot oven), but there's nothing to be said against it at those sort of prices.
- L'Alambic, 20 Avenue de Paris, 28400 MARGON (Tel : 02 37 52 19 03) : Just on the outskitrs of town, on the road in from Chartres. This is the only restaurant in Nogent that offers up-market decor and fare. Used by many locals to celebrate family events.
Most of the bars are in the centre of town, on the Place Saint Pol. Some stay open late, but closing times vary depending on business. Sunday evenings are quiet. As of April 2010 there is a "local" beer, called "La Nogentaise" which is available in bottles of 75cl.
- Brasserie de l'Hôtel de Ville, 30 place Saint-Pol : See in "Eat" above. Totally refurbished in February 2010 and 3 screens added (ahead of the football World Cup). Very pleasant setting.
- Café Saint-Pol, 22 place Saint-Pol : See in "Eat" above. Refurbished in March 2010 and new TV screen added (ahead of the football World Cup)
- Casa Line's, 33 place Saint Pol : The most "chic" bar in town in terms of decor.
- La Boule Verte, 8 place Saint-Pol : See in "Eat" above. Clientele spends most of its time on electronic darts machine.
Nogent probably offers as many hotels as the centre of Chartres and it's far easier to park.
- Au Lion d'Or, 28 place Saint-Pol (A Logis de France next to the Brasserie de l'Hotel de Ville) - Tel : 02 37 52 01 60. 2 stars. Prices start at around €46.
- Hotel de la Gare, 6 place de la Gare - Tel : 02 37 52 39 96. 1 star. Prices start at €31, for a room without shower.
- Inter Hotel Le Sully, 51 rue des Viennes - Tel : 02 37 52 15 14. 3 stars. Prices start at around €55.
- La Boule Verte, 8 place Saint-Pol : A bar/restaurant/hotel. - Tel : 02 37 52 00 65. Not sure about stars. Prices start at €33.
- L'Eden, 2 place du 11 Aout - Tel : 02 37 52 45 30. Not sure about stars. Prices start at €20.
- Brit Hôtel Du Perche, Rue de la Bruyère. Close to ring-road (rocade) on west of town. - Tel : 02 37 53 43 60. 2 stars. Prices start at around €47.