|Minimum Stay||4 nights|
In the heart of the Loire Valley, ten minutes from the fortress city of Chinon and the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud, located in a tranquil valley with spectacular views, this renovated, 18th Century stone barn was new to the rental market as of April, 2011. Many of the grand Chateaux of the Loire Valley: Villandry, Chenonceau, Usse, Azay-le-Rideau and Saumur are easy half-day trips. For cycling enthusiasts, we are less than a kilometre from the main bike route through the Loire Valley; and for food and wine enthusiasts, the Loire Valley, is known as the 'garden' of France. We are surrounded by the vineyards of Chinon, Bourgueil and Saumur which produce some of France's finest wines and best values. From its famous chèvre, the mushrooms of the troglodyte caves of Saumur, to the white asparagus grown in sandy Loire soil, the region offers a rich bounty. Your hosts, former restaurant owners from San Francisco, are available to cater meals and conduct local food and wine tours.
Chinon Château: The mount of Chinon was first fortified as a stronghold by Theobald I, Count of Blois in the year 954. In the 12th century Chinon was then independent of the kingdom of France, and was a primary residence of Henry II Plantagenet, Angevin King and King of England. King Henry died in Chinon Castle after being defeated by his sons Richard and John in a rebellion aided by Phillip Augustus of France; he, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their son King Richard the Lionheart were all buried at nearby Fontevraud Abbey. Later, the château was a residence of Charles VII, the Dauphin of France in the early 15th century, when Joan of Arc arrived at the castle, at the beginning of her quest to liberate France from the English on March 8, 1429; it was here that she recognized the disguised Dauphin from amongst his courtiers, a feat which helped to persuade him to accede to her urging to declare himself king and raise an army to liberate France. A visit here is a must for any history buff.
Royal Abbey of Fontevraud: The Abbey was founded in 1100 by Robert of Arbrissel, who had just created a new order, the Order of Fontevrault. The first permanent structures were built between 1110 and 1119. The abbey was a double monastery, with both monks and nuns on the same site. An international success, the order established several 'Fontevrist' abbeys set up in England. Robert of Arbrissel declared that the leader of the order should always be a woman and appointed Petronille de Chemillé as the first abbess. She was succeeded by Matilda of Anjou, the aunt of Henry II of England. This was the start of a position that attracted many rich and noble abbesses over the years, including members of the French Bourbon royal family. In the early years the Plantagenets were great benefactors of the abbey and while Isabella d'Anjou was abbess, Henry II's widow Eleanor of Aquitaine became a nun there. During the French Revolution, the order was dissolved. The restoration of the abbey church was finished in 2006.
Wines of Chinon: The red and rosé wines of Chinon are made from the Cabernet Franc grape, and are typically dry and light to medium bodied and go well with food. In good vintages the red wines can be cellared for 10 years or more. Cabernet Franc grown on the stony terraces of the area tends to be a young wine with dominant notes of blackcurrant and anise. Though typically thought of as lighter wines, reds from good producers and strong vintages can be full bodied and well structured for aging. Their white wines, though lesser known, are quite good and are made from Chenin Blanc. Two of the more noteworthy vintners of Chinon, and well worth a visit, are Bernard Baudry and Charles Jouguet. Wine tours are available through your hosts.
This place is very exciting and quiet. The perfect location to discover a lot of Loire-Castels. We met two absolutely serviceoriented and lovely owner and got a big, comforable, modern and hostoric stylish accomodation.
We intend to come back as soon as possible. Thank you for all!!
My husband and I spent 6 nights here and I can only add 2 words to the other rewiews. Book it!
We have used VRBO for many years now -- in Brazil, Chile, Germany, the Netherlands, Argentina and other locales. This property is truly the best of the best -- far and away the best VRBO stay we have ever had. The locale is fabulous -- minutes from Chinon, Azay le Rideau and the Abbey of Fontevraud -- yet nestled in the quiet French countryside away from the hustle and bustle of traffic and tourists. Your hosts, Steve and Tim, have thought of everything to make your stay a five-star event: WiFi, satellite TV, iPod with classical and contemporary music, fully equipped kitchen, gorgeous bathroom, deluxe bed, linens and towels. We just can't use enough superlatives to describe the old barn. If this were not enough, Tim and Steve make you feel special and welcome from the very first minute you arrive. They are gourmet cooks and if you want a prepared meal with wine pairings, expect to have one of the best meals ever. Your hosts are also incredibly knowledgeable about the area and have super recommendations for restaurants and attractions, and will provide driving directions on request. Again, we have used VRBO for years and stayed in many countries --- this property was the best of the best. SUPERLATIVE in EVERY respect. If VRBO had six stars, we would give this property six plus.
5 star is a term that is used quite frequently, and often embellished, however we can honestly say that everything about our stay at the old barn was truly 'cinq etoiles'
the barn is nestled at the foot of a small limestone hill (with a huge wine cave underneath!) The view stretches on forever over corn and sunflower fields to a lovely chateau in the distance.
Impeccable cleanliness. Inside the barn you have everything you could want, so much so that we found ourselves relaxing most days and simply reading a book, eating cheese and drinking wine. During our stay I found myself reading about France's many hundreds of wine and cheese varieties (these books are part of the barn's extensive book library) and also about local historical events such as the Battle of Tours. Steve and Tim have decked the barn with every imaginable quality fitting that you could find.... Quality bedding and linen, An extensive book and DVD library, wifi, and a 'cooking with gas' stovetop are just some of the features that we enjoyed. Our personal favourite however is a shower head in the bathroom large enough to 'wash an elephant with'.
Our hosts Tim and Steve are tres bonne! Very welcoming and friendly. The barn is situated approximately 15 metres from their home which is far away enough for privacy but also close enough to converse. Steve and Tim were even nice enough to invite us for dinner one night where we shared excellent conversation, great wine and even better food (Steve's wonderful cooking and Tim's delicious garden vegetables).
In summary the barn is wonderful value for money. It's just the place to relax for 4 or so days before or after a hectic travel schedule. We spent a total of only €80 over 4 days because we found ourselves wanting to cook and drink wine in the comfort of the barn as opposed to eating at restaurants. Merci Beaucoup Steve and Tim.
Michael & Suzie
39 & 31
Starting with the setting... a beautiful scene of the Loire Valley, surrounded by sunflower fields, a stone throw away from small villages and a breathtaking chateau. When you get there, you see the "barn" which has been renovated with an amazing kitchen - better than mine at home, a modern (large) bathroom, and a tastefully decorated bedroom and living room. Everything you need has been thought-of, and provided for. But the best part is the hosts and their hospitality, and that is where it all starts! Go and experience it for yourself. I could write forever...
All I know is that we want to go back! Thank you Steve and Tim, you were wonderful.... and the barn and towns and castles weren't bad either.
We stayed a week total and enjoyed every minute. The hosts are knowledgeable, friendly and willing to accommodate your needs. They will also give you space if that is what you require. There is a tremendous amount of touring to do in the area, but as many have noted, just hanging around the property or going for local walks is fabulous as well. We got lots of information on local restaurants and some of the more exotic things to see and do. When it was time to leave it was hard to say goodbye both to the property and our affable hosts. We learned a lot about the local wines from them which was helpful in making choices at the store or restaurants. They provided us with ongoing information on how to get back to our train station and restaurants near where our hotel in Paris was. We have used VRBO a few times and this place matched up to all the great reviews that have been written about it.
The Loire Valley, also known as the 'Garden of France” has been blessed by temperate weather and good soil. Here, France’s royalty built a thousand chateaux, some of the world's finest, and a short distance from Paris.
In 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the Loire River valley to its list of World Heritage Sites. In choosing this area that includes the French départements of Loiret, Loir-et-Cher, Indre-et-Loire, and Maine-et-Loire, the committee said that the Loire Valley is: 'an exceptional cultural landscape, of great beauty, comprised of historic cities and villages, great architectural monuments - the Châteaux - and lands that have been cultivated and shaped by centuries of interaction between local populations and their physical environment, in particular the Loire itself.'
A visitor to the Loire Valley will find a region of France still mostly unspoiled by over-population or current fad. Fortunately, Peter Mayle wrote 'A Year in Provence' not 'A Year in the Loire.'
Other Activities: winery tours, chateau visits
Bank Transfers, Euro or US Dollar personal checks.
PayPal with a 5 percent additional fee.
20 percent at booking. Balance 30 days prior to arrival.