Chateau du Vau – Loire Valley, France
“Chateau du Vau” is a small hotel in Loire Valley, France, which offers you only bed and breakfast. But what a bed and breakfast! It located close to the castles along the river Loire, which are part of world heritage on UNESCO’s list. This hotel, or rather guesthouse, is the perfect option to experience the authentic atmosphere of the French countryside, to visit the beautiful castles and have fun in different ways while you are in the area. And the area is “manifique” (magnificent, gorgeous)!
Ballan-Mire is a peaceful village, which is ideally located for visiting some of the most impressive castles in the Loire Valley and is known for its numerous vineyards and orchards. In the past the aristocrats of France had summer castles here because of the perfect climate for keeping good health. The castles that now can be visited and most deserve your attention are:
– Villandry Castle (my no. 1; I noticed that I have not written about it and will soon correct this mistake, because the place is unique and one of a kind. And I probably have 200 pictures of it!)
– Chambord Castle – the visit of this place is like to live in one of the tales of Charles Perrault. Do you remember them?
-Azay-le-Rideau Castle which in itself is not so interesting, but is located in a small charming village with many cozy restaurants and adorable small boutiques. This is the real France.
By walking in the area you will see a lot of other castles, but they are privately owned and closed to visitors. Unfortunately, some of them are abandoned and the alleys of their extensive green parks behind the closed doors of wrought iron look sad and melancholic.
Equestrian sport is also very popular and well developed here, so that at the rural roads you will see a lot of students who are passing by with their horses.
The guest house is actually also a castle. Although smaller in size, the life of the French bourgeois class, surrounded by beauty, can be felt in every corner of the building and the park. Wood stairs creak on every step and seemed to want to tell you a story. Porcelain sink in the bathroom speak – “You are special, do you feel the luxury of the old aristocracy, that surrounds you?”. One can imagine how the owners lived here even 100 years ago, how they drank their coffee in the garden, how they rode their horses through the fields …
Unfortunately, or rather not, the building needs better maintenance. The shutters of the windows need refreshing, the pool is really old. But to me that’s what I liked – do you remember the movie “A Good Year”? Where Russell Crowe began to refresh the old house of his uncle in order to sell it, however, at the end the memories of happy childhood in this house did not gave him heart to sell it? Well, it was the same. Staying in this house you go back in time, in a culture untouched by globalization and with laid-lack lifestyle. And the owner of the “Chateau du Vau” definitely contributes to the authenticity of the place.
STAFF AND OWNER
People serving you in this guest house have experience, though they are not the typical professionals in the hotel business who came out from a special school. The staff includes – the eccentric owner-bohemian who likes to talk to his guests, his girlfriend, and a lady who welcomes you and accommodates you. All three have one manner of behavior, which is light and friendly and makes you feel like you’re at home. Amazing feeling that in no case you can have in the big hotels. They will also give you tips and valuable information on where and what to see in the area, because they are local and their life is closely connected with the place and culture.
The rooms are well furnished and decorated, the furniture is in the house for generations and everything is in traditional French style. Including the bathroom. From the windows you can see the incredible greenery around the house. There is no need of too much words, better look the pictures and you will understand what I mean.
TIME FOR BREAKFAST
Wow, that was the most incredible time spent in “Chateau du Vau”! Breakfast here is a feast. Table laden with fresh baked croissants, crunchy toasts with soft butter and jam, strong, black coffee, fresh fruits, fruit juices … And all these served with warm attitude on a long table with Provencal tablecloth in a dining room whose walls are covered with wallpaper with flowers and china plates. All hotel guests have breakfast together at the big table, and this creates an incredible sense of homey and friendly environment. At breakfast you learn the opinion of other visitors from the surrounding area, as well as valuable advices on what to see and what you can skip. You feel part of the family. This is the feature that eating together at a table has anywhere in the world – to brings people together, to make them feel as part of the whole. The icing on the cake was the owner’s love for music that was transferred in a light, pleasant music waft from the living room with piano that facilitated our carefree mood at the breakfast time. There I first heard about Jack Johnson. Do you know his music?
Toiletry products are L’Occitane (!). And it is completely in line with the environment and the atmosphere around.
You have a pool on your disposal, which as I said is a little old, but it works fine. Even more, from there you have spectacular views of the fields around, and the air is so clean and fresh because the region is agricultural and there are no industrial production sites in the vicinity.
You can also arrive with your helicopter, if you wish. There is ample parking space, and the lawn in front of the main entrance is perfect for a soft landing. 🙂
If you have enough time, you can walk around in the park of the hotel, which is quite big and has it own farm. The farm bred ducks that are used for production of homemade duck food that you can buy on the spot.
Opposite the castle is the golf course Golf de Touraine, if golf is your hobby.
Did you have similar experience?
Maybe you can give some recommendation for other authentic accommodation places in Europe?
I will really appreciate it!