A family house with monastic origins transformed into a hotel and guest house
right by the banks of the Loire, between Saumur and Chinon

FONTEVRAUD L'ABBAYE, Maine-et-Loire Pays de la Loire FR
Holiday accommodation, Pays de la Loire

Property owners’ take the floor

Why did you settle in this region, in this place and not elsewhere ?

Mestré has been in our family since 7 March 1791. The house has mainly been passed from woman to woman, echoing the Abbey of Fontevraud which, according to the wish of Robert d'Arbrissel, was exclusively run by the abbesses. Several generations live on the estate today.

What can you offer people staying with you ?

The monks had a special gift for choosing the locations of their abbeys and Mestré is no exception. Countryside, water (springs, ponds) and forest come together to preserve the property's monastic calm. We have recently joined the Relais du Silence hotel chain. When the summer season of our hotel-restaurant ends, the house can be rented for tailor-made stays with all the comforts of our hotel, two dining rooms and a professional kitchen in addition to the bedrooms. Our presence is discreet, but we do prepare meals for those who would like them.

What specific architectural features does your building have ?

The Domaine de Mestré is a large group of buildings with one hectare of roofing. It was continually altered between the 12th and 19th centuries. Previous generations added a central building in 1802 and a pavillion in 1860 which now serves as the restaurant. The length of the house and the square courtyards surrounded by buildings are key examples of the monastic architecture. Three main buildings from the 12th and 13th century still remain, along with a small chapel that was converted into a house for the governor in the 16th century and pierced mullioned windows on the facade. The coat of arms of Renée de Bourbon (abbess of Fontevraud in the 16th century) can still be seen on the tithe barn which served as an inn for the Abbey of Fontevraud and also welcomed the pilgrims of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. Other stones were carved during the Revolution, examples include representations of Christ's crown of thorns, the fleurs-de-lys of the Bourbons and the Crosse of the Royal Abbey whose authority depended directly on the pope.

Places you would personally recommend

In one of the courtyards on site, we have an aesthetic barber's salon and an artisan soap factory with demonstrations of their expertise, products for sale and a museum. The Sunday market in Montsoreau is a great way to meet local producers and, if the weather allows it, there is nothing more enjoyable than taking a quick break on the terrace with a view of the Loire. Candes-Saint-Martin, the confluence of the Loire and the Vienne, is known for being one of the "most beautiful villages in France". For lovers of Loire wine, Béatrice and Pascal Lambert are excellent producers of bio-dynamically grown Chinon. The region also has some interesting architecture: the Romanesque and Gothic priory church of Cunault is a true artistic treasure, it is classified as a historical monument and famous for its two hundred and twenty-three sculpted capitals and murals; and the Abbey of Fontevraud founded in 1101 with fourteen hectares of buildings is not to be missed. Nearly all the chateaus of the Loire are within a fifteen kilometre radius: Montsoreau, Saumur, Montreuil-Bellay, Breze, Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry, Langeais.

What is its history ?

'L’Hébergement de Mestré' was originally the 12th century Royal Abbey of Fontevraud's main farm. Three main buildings from this period still remain: the governor's house, the tithe barn and a small chapel. The governor, appointed by the mother abbess, managed no less than two hundred and fifty estates, the cutting of timber, the arrival of fish from the Loire, the baking of bread for the peasants and, of course, the influx of pilgrims. In the 17th century, Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort came to Fontevraud Abbey to visit his sister. Dressed in rags, he was not recognized and refused entry. He then came to stay in Mestré. The property, with forty hectares of agricultural land and forty hectares of wood, was acquired by our family after the Revolution and several generations have always lived together. During the First World War, all of the men were called to the front line and none returned. The women then rented out the land. During the Second World War, fifty women and children lived in the property until the men, who had all been enlisted, returned. This time, they all come back safe and sound! For fifty years after the war, the heirs began to revive the estate. My parents, who inherited it in 1981, created guest rooms and a table d'hôtes. They passed it down to us in 2011 and we turned the place into a hotel-restaurant. We also make the most of the land and use it to grow exclusively organic products.

Our opinion

Although the layout of the buildings echoes this property's conventional roots, the spirit of a family home now prevails at Domaine de Mestré. This former hotel (that was once home to the governor of the abbey of Fontevraud) has laid its hospitaller vocation to rest. The classically elegant maze of buildings and courtyards is surrounded by silence and greenery, making it perfect for seminars and happy events. Guests can take time with their thoughts in the perfectly refined restaurant. Or, under the shade of cedars and linden trees with a book in hand, daydreams of the Lady of Monsoreau or the Duchess of Langeais unfold in the large park before visits to nearby chateaus that inspired the work of Dumas and Balzac ensue.

Prices

between 1600 € and 2600 € / week

Ref 643062

Open from 2nd February to 31st December

Accommodation capacity

26 11 10 6 11

When the hotel season quietens down, the hotel restaurant remains busy and transforms into a gite with all the benefits of the the estate's professional activities. Rentals are available for groups of 16 to 26 guests from 1 October to 31 March. In the main house, the rooms can be reached by three staircases. Each has its own bathroom and toilet. The beautiful series of rooms on the ground floor includes two lounges, two dining rooms and a kitchen. The orangery, located in the courtyard, can be used as a reception room or dance hall.

Facilities and amenities
  • Fitted kitchen
  • Wireless Internet connection
  • Daily cleaning service available on request
  • microwave oven
  • safe
  • barbecue
  • Weekly cleaning service
  • Baby bed
  • Satellite television
  • Dishwasher
  • washing machine
  • heating
  • Access for disabled persons

Languages spoken

English

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