This barn (renovation completed on October 2017 with key materials such as wood, iron, stones and bricks), has a distinctive cozy lofty/techno flair. Get all your devices (phone, tablet, laptop) easily connected through Bluetooth to the integrated sound system and play your favorite songs; lay back and relax on the long chair or sofa near the fireplace and watch a movie on the giant flat screen, or read a good book; sip a glass of local wine around the barrel table after a chateaux hop and stop biking day; watch glorious sunsets on the surrounding woods, fields and vineyards and stars in the sky on clear nights: your stay at this barn will definitely take away from your routine and worries!
This is the ideal place for a couple to spend an extended WE, right in the heart of the so called “golden triangle” of French Grand Chateaux: Chambord, Cherverny and Chenonceau, in Central Loire Valley.
The barn includes several communicating areas, all in one large building (more than 100m2 on the ground floor): a bedroom on a mezzanine under the rooftop; a central area with high ceiling that features a kitchenette and a wine barrel converted into a dinner round table for two, with views on a beautifully flourished courtyard with Da Vinci and Ronsard roses ; a TV room with giant flat/smart screen and comfortable armchairs; a reading room with sofa and meridienne around the large fireplace; and a full bathroom with Italian style shower, bathtub, and WC, in addition to the extra WC on the ground floor.
This barn sits in an exceptionally quiet and relaxing environment, immensely enjoyable for nature lovers. Walk-out from the house and follow the 300 Km of secure and well signaled bike paths and hiking trails throughout the chateaux country.
Although it enjoys a secluded location, this barn is not in the middle of nowhere: it belongs to the jurisdiction of Chitenay, a charming village with a boulangerie/grocery and a gourmet Auberge-Restaurant. Fougères-sur-Bièvre and its medieval castle, Troussay, Villesavin or Beauregard Renaissance chateaux are at biking distance from the property. Street markets, restaurants and supermarkets are countless in the neighboring localities such as Contres, Cour-Cheverny, Bracieux, Mont-Près Chambord, St Aignan-Beauval, Vineuil, St.Gervais-La-Forêt, and even the Royal city of Blois is only 15 min. away by car; charming small towns such as Chaumont sur Loire (25 min.), Amboise or Selles-Sur-Cher are not far away, either (40 minutes). Last but not least, you can connect the World through a reliable wireless Internet connection within the barn and at every corner of the property!
This is a unique base for doing unique things; here is my list of top ten things to do (among many others) in the area, NOT in order of preference:
1/ Taking off in a hot air balloon from the surrounding field and flying over the river Loire, looking at the grand chateaux from above!. This can be done upon request to the many private providers based in the region, when specific weather conditions are met.
2/Playing golf on the 350 acres of old hunting grounds. La Rousselière --a 18-hole golf course (6863 yards, Par71) designed by architect Olivier van der Vynckt-- is part of the estate holding forests, meadows & ponds that belongs to Château de Cheverny. Just a few minutes away by car from the Barn. The golf country club features two restaurants and a nice swimming pool free of charge for visitors who have had a green fee for the day or lunch at the restaurant.
3/ Swimming in France’s largest ecological swimming pool, exclusively purified through an organic filtering process (no chlorine or any other chemical products). Nestled into a vast 1.5 hectare park, the Mont-Près-Chambord Park (12 min. by car from the Barn) this 2,000 sq. m. swimming area is harmoniously integrated in the existing landscape, surrounded by grassy banks and oak trees. This unique pool has the look and feel of one of the so many natural ponds or lakes typical of the neighboring Sologne region.
4/ Enjoying the very best sound and light show in the grandiose set-up of Chambord castle. And, If you are a horse rider, make a Royal impression by getting to Chambord on horseback! Chambord has mastered the art of "son et lumières", ever since it presented the World's very first show of this kind in 1952. The National Estate of Chambord regularly hosts art exhibitions and concerts on the estate. Recent concert programming has included open-air opera performances as well as indoor performances in the chateau's ballrooms. In addition, the chateau features outdoor events such as horse shows, and many other activities such as the Marshal de Saxe stables at Chambord’s equestrian performances involving riders who are dressed in period costumes.
5/Trying to break the Da Vinci code at Clos Lucé, Leonardo’s home during the last ten years of his life. As a resident artist, guest of King François the 1st, Leonardo lived and worked in this mansion connected to the Royal château d’Amboise by an underground passage, from December 1515 until his death. In addition to enjoying this beautifully furnished Renaissance mansion, visitors can appreciate the museum and a lovely garden, with their forty large size models and sketches of the various machines designed by Da Vinci. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the lovely gothic Chapel of St Hubert adjoining the Château Amboise castle, where Da Vinci was most likely buried. Also, if you happen to be in Amboise on a Sunday morning, don’t miss its amazing street/farmers market spreading along the river Loire.
6/Having a picnic in the Chateau de Chaumont park during the annual International Garden Festival (about 20 min. away from The Barn by car.) Imagine a garden where the trees or flowers are painted blue! The branches of this incongruous forest are reflected in a lake, adding to the magic and beauty of the place! From early May through mid-October, this is one example of what this unique festival can bring to the chateau’s beautiful surroundings, where more than thirty different landscape architects, designers and artists from around the world are invited each year to display their creativity around a theme which changes every year.The Chateau de Chaumont itself is worth a visit with stunning views over the Loire River.
7/Discovering the secret of the making of finest French chocolates at Max Vauché chocolate factory in Bracieux, a village that inspired Alexandre Dumas in his “Three Musketeers” famous novel. This place is for all chocolate lovers and everyone who wants a better understanding of its manufacturing and a better appreciation for its taste. Max Vauché --who belongs to the very exclusive club of French chocolate master confectioners-- loves his craft and he will happily share his passion with you. After a “Greeting” appetizer on arrival, a guided visit proceeds with a tasting where you will see and learn all the stages of the processing of cocoa beans into chocolate. And pay a visit to this charming village full of gourmet restaurants and a beautiful historic central market place.
8/ Having a bite on a "Tarte Tatin" in the hotel restaurant where the Tatin sisters created this world-wide famous apple tart! Head towards Lamotte-Beuvron, a typical village of the Sologne region that the Barn belongs and you will find the“Tatin” hotel-restaurant where this region’s signature dessert was created. The hotel restaurant is located opposite the railway station, where the bourgeoisie of Belle Epoque Paris liked to get together. The place looks pretty much the same as it did back then, providing you with an opportunity to a journey back in time to the delightfully dated, mysterious and provincial Sologne (approximately one hour car drive from the Barn.)
9/ Watching giant pandas in their natural playground at Beauval Zoo. This animal park has been consistently ranked in the World top ten Zoos. The park has been laid out to give the visitors a feeling that they are viewing the animals on their home territory. With over 4,000 animals, 3 hectares set the scene for the re-creation of an African Plain environment where zebras, giraffes, rhinoceros and other antelopes roam freely, and another 5 hectares for its collection of elephants. The park also has over 40 “big cats” that include lions, leopards, jaguars and their famous white tigers. Don’t miss the extraordinary manatees (sea cows)!. There is a 1,500 seats arena where an hour long display both in the water by the sea-lions and in the air by an array of birds of prey, provides quite a spectacle. The Beauval Zoo is located near the beautiful and historical village of Saint-Aignan that is worth a visit (20 min. ride by car from the Barn).
10/ Sipping a glass of Royal wine dating back to late 15th century while watching the sunset on the Barn's surroundings. After a busy day at chateau hopping and stopping, enjoy a glass of local “Cour-Cheverny”; this white wine truly deserves the crown of the most original grapes among local ones. Initially introduced into Burgundy by the Romans, this grape variety was brought into Sologne by King François the 1st and called “Romorantin” after the name of the locality where he was planning to have the Queen Claude Residence designed by Da Vinci. The Queen Claude project never materialized, and the grape had virtually disappeared for more than four hundred years, until some local wine makers, mostly organic, resurrected it in 1993 under the Cour-Cheverny-Romorantin appellation as an exclusive wine on a tiny surface area of 48 ha (not to be confused with Cheverny AOC, a more common, though very good local appellation.)
Cheers and welcome to my Barn designed for special guests who love distinctive places where unique things can be discovered!