Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CHINON and our B and B for three nights

Did you know that Sue had been trying to convince me that the Loire was the place to be. I just couldn't get excited by the idea of fairy tale castles and manicured gardens. It all seemed a bit "Girly" to me. Well I did change my mind. With only a three night stopover, I was wanting more. I don't know how we packed so much into such a short stay. The next few posts will include our visits to Abbaye de Fontevraud, Chateau d'Usse, Saumur to see a performance by the Cadre Noir, and the Chateau de Villandry and of course Chenonceau. We even took the time to see the motor museum at Chatellerault.

The social hub of Chinon

We arrived at Chinon at mid-arvo to be greeted by our hosts, Helene and Jean-Michel at their unforgettable B and B in the Medieval heart of the the town. I'm not sure how Sue located their B and B but it was a gem. Since that visit we have recommended friends to our hosts and we returned there on our third visit just to say hello such was their warm reception. We actually return there next May for two nights on what will be our fifth trip to France.

The Vienne River nestles Chinon before joining the Loire river.

Our B and B sits directly on the narrow medieval laneway of Chinon. The gateway to the very right is where Helene let me keep my bike while there. I had three days of pleasurable morning rides discovering the banks of the Vienne and the vineyards either side. One ride took me to I'lle Bouchard no more than 12 kms down the banks of the slow flowing Vienne. Coming back on the other side were several small Chateaux. I'd be back in time to join Sue for breakfast at our host's breakfast room.

Yes, we did feel very special and pampered in our room (Chambre Jardin). The desk was just perfect for our laptop to keep in touch with home. A collection of a varied range of CDs kept us musically entertained. Helene even shared some of her private collection with us.

It was from this door that we left to explore Chinon every day of our stay. We relaxed at the end of the day in the garden to play with their French Bulldog now sadly gone but replaced with another that we will meet next year.

This photo doesn't do justice to the view from our bedroom window. We let the morning sun wake us so as not to miss a minute of our stay.

The door that led to our room had a white stone spiral staircase. Rose bushes showed you the way to the door.

The slow flowing Vienne, the plane trees, sunny skies - how good is life?

Chinon captivated us so much that on our third trip to France and the second to the Loire, we made it a point to return to say hello to our hosts. Jean-Michel was at work in Paris but Helene was home and greeted us with, Oh, the Sims. Our visit was unannounced and she remembered us. We had tea and talked for some time and discovered that their dog had passed away. Friends on our recommendation stayed recently and they brought back a letter and a picture or
f their new French Bulldog. We can't wait to meet him and see our hosts Helene and Jean Michel Craye at Logis Saint Mexme in Chinon next year.
During our little visit she said that she rated her guest much the same as guests rate the places they stay. We laughed when she rated us as four star guests because there weren't enough stars to rate how special we felt at their B and B.

Sue has a mad passion for horses and had a need to visit Saumur to see the Cadre Noir, Helene did all the organising for here. It was a highlight for Sue that she will never forget. Wednesdays in France with drift through the Loire over a few weeks I fear. Stay tuned.


  1. Not really that far from us but an area that we still have to see.... Diane

  2. Special request for a post on the Cadre Noir please! :-)

  3. Diane - you must get out more. You live in a lovely area - more on Chinon over the next few Wednesdays.

  4. Lawrence - The Cadre Noir is on the list in a couple of posts on. It was excellent to watch.

  5. Keep them coming, those photos of the Loire Valley ... I can't get enough of the region ... But I guess you knew that already :) Martine

  6. Martine - I had no idea that you had a passion for the Loire (LOL).
    Thanks for reading - more to come.

  7. That does look like a lovely B&B! The area is beautiful so look forward to more.

  8. One reason(among many), why I love blogs so much. Even though I haven't met my favorite bloggers (yet), after a while, you can tell a lot about their taste, ideas... by their posts. Thank you for the recommendation of the B&B. It looks lovely and their hosts very friendly.

  9. Craig, More to come of the Loire Valley for you and Martine next week.

  10. Nadege, I'm sure somewhere down the track you'll meet some of us. I think you most likely have a good idea of your regular blooger's personalities by now.
    You've introduced me to a few - thanks.

  11. I'm with Sue - it looks fantastic - pretty architecture and those roses just add to the ambiance of the place. I even like the name Chinon! sounds so... French!!!

  12. Sue's a good judge of picking some of the best places to stay on our trips and also the best hosts Dianne. We have meet some really nice people that we stay in touch with.


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