Welcome to my first post under the category of Historic Accommodation. I am devoting this page to spreading the word about fantastic places to stay whilst you are on your travels, places that are themselves steeped in history. Our first encounter is with a wonderful fourteenth century priory, based in the heart of the Loire region of France. I realise the Loire Valley is not in England. (You have spotted the incy wincy fly in my otherwise translucent ointment). I might as well confess to my flaws before we become too intimately acquainted; sometimes in my flights of creative fancy I can go on delicious adventures outside of my carefully constructed rules of engagement. And so, yes, this blog will indeed focus on my journeys through historic England, but when the call of duty arrives, who am I to turn my back on the prospect of historic adventures on foreign shores?
And so, 2012 saw me embark on the most exciting of these adventures to date. I was researching In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn and needed to pack my bags to follow Anne through the cramped streets of medieval Paris and onto the glamorous expansiveness of the great château of the Loire. Here, the newly crowned Francis I, first established his royal court at the châteaux of Amboise and Blois in 1515. Over the next few years, he also regularly visited other locations such as the châteaux of Chaumont and Romorantin.
The Château de Blois
The young Anne Boleyn was, of course, in the service of Queen Claude, travelling with the itinerant court; it was my job to uncover the French locations that she would have once known intimately, and to begin to understand the forces at play in the French court that shaped the woman she would later become.
For this adventure I needed a base. After some searching on Trip Advisor, I uncovered this little gem, La Priuere de la Chaise:
La Prieure de la Chaise: a “Fairytale hideaway in a little corner of Paradise”
When you see a picture of the old fourteenth century priory, it is not hard to see the attraction; its mellow stone walls sculpted into fairytale turrets, the pitched leaden roof so evocative of the grand châteaux of the region – and then there is the tiny chapel, original to the priory, tucked away under a bower of trees. Five characterful rooms are available on a bed a breakfast basis, with breakfast itself being served in the grand salle, the heart of the ancient priory. It is a wonderful way to start the day, enjoying fresh baguette, croissant and madame’s home made conserves, surrounded by an appropriate grandeur that sets the tone for the day ahead.
The Grounds of the Château Chenonceau
The chambre d’hote (bed and breakfast) itself is situated right in the heart of the Loire. The magnificent château of Chenonceau, (probably most associated with Catherine de Medici and also Mary, Queen of Scots), is literally a five to ten minute drive away, whilst the key centres associated with Anne Boleyn (Blois and Amboise), are also easily accessible by car. So it really does make for the perfect location. Situated just on the edge of St Georges-sur-Cher, La Prieure feels rural, but there is easy access to the small supermarket in town, the local post office and patisserie, (just in case you need to replenish your energy reserves at the end of the day with a delicious raspberry or strawberry tart – as I often did!) In fact, my travelling companion and I soon found a rhythm to our evenings. We would return home – via the patisserie, of course – laden with other picnic goodies we had bought during the day, then decamp to the marquee overlooking the garden, there to enjoy our French delicacies, all washed down with a bottle of red wine. Did I mention the fact the La Prieure de la Chaise owns the vineyard next door? Another perfect reason to book yourself in toute de suite (straight away)!
If you want to know more about the La Prieure, please visit their web site. (Note it is in French, but Madame Therizol does speak some, limited English:
Contact Number: 00 33 (0) 184.108.40.206.77
This was my review on Trip advisor :
An idyllic spot that gives a real slice of rural France on your doorstep. Madame Therizols is a fabulous host; warm and welcoming. We immediately felt at home in this beautiful priory, which is clearly also a much loved home. It is extremely tranquil, so if you want peace and quiet but with all the fabulous châteaux on your doorstep then this is a little gem. Enjoy breakfasting in the grand surroundings of a magnificent dining hall and don’t forget to try the wine made from grapes grown pn the premises. We had our own picnic with local bread, cheese, tarts bought in the village washed down with the very tasty red wine. Highly recommended!