“To be an angel, one need not have wings.
In giving love there is an equal grace.
Nor need one seek the aura in the face,
As love unveils the beauty of all things.”
— François Couperin (1668-1733) “For Eve”
Château des Ormeaux (Elms Castle, it does not sound as romantic in English, now does it?) is easily the Loire Valley’s best bed and breakfast.
This delightful little get-away, which is spotlessly clean, has only eight rooms, six in the château proper, and two in a near-by guest house. The historic town of Amboise is a 15-minute drive away. Make no mistake though, this is the country; this early 19th-century château is surrounded by its own 62-acre park. Peace and quiet are the norm; you can relax to the sound of nothing more than crickets when you have returned from your day of sight-seeing. There is plenty of room for parking your car on the grounds, too.
Dominique and Emmanuel (see photo #2), your hosts, have an ease about them that will make you feel at home. Their warm and welcoming personalities are exceeded only by their delicious fresh-baked breakfast cakes and goodies, that will get your day started off right. Each morning breakfast is served around an 18-seat table in the dining room (see photo #3). This is an excellent chance to meet other guests, share tips about your own Loire Valley experiences and make new friends. During our visit folks from Australia, Great Britian, the Netherlands, Belgium, other parts of France and Texas were staying here. Be certain to consult with Dominique and Emmanuel about what you plan to see and do in the Valley; they can offer helpful suggestions about restaurants and sight seeing.
We reserved the spacious, first-floor Couperin Room (see photo #4). All rooms are named for musicians. The room, with an open view of the front yard, is huge by any standard, and so is the bathroom, with a claw-foot tub and shower stall (see photo #5). This room has a small windowed area with a writing desk and chair. Hidden behind a set of double doors is a floor-to-ceiling mirror, great for a head-to-toe check before you greet the world. A built-in armoire offers shelves and hanging space for clothes. The room’s decoration is solidly French: molding, picture-painted panels, mirrored insets, highly polished marquetry tables, and chairs in the style of one of the Louis kings.
The test of any hotel accommodation is a good night’s sleep. The comfortable mattress allows this room to pass the test easily. We slept with the windows open, and the blue shutters closed, to enjoy the fresh, French country air.
There is a swimming pool, which we could see from our windows. Even though we visited at the height of summer, it was never hot enough for us to dive in; but other guests did, so bring your swim suit!
The owners, who also live here, keep several dogs and cats; they have the run of the place and are sweet and gentle creatures. Our initial greeting when we drove up to the main entrance came from Vic, the yellow Lab, with his toy bone, eager to play; this set the tone for Château des Ormeaux.
Yveline Savin runs a lovely Bed and Breakfast right in the center of Amboise. She rents out 4 comfortable rooms with a shared common room downstairs. The rooms are large and have everything you need. Yveline is friendly and makes a delicious breakfast for you each day with coffee or tea, orange juice, croissant or pain au chocolate, fruit, bread and jam.
Behind a red gate in a very old building that has been updated. It is on a busy street so parking is rather difficult.
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