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With the walls having preserved the atmosphere of the school they housed not so long ago, there are moments where you can almost here the laughs of boisterous children in the hallway. The property's mischievous and colourful spirit can be found in the tiniest of details and the nod to a studious past - slates, school chairs, maps of the world, bleachers, coat pegs - it can be found in every nook and cranny. The house also has a more modern and comfortable side. At the foot of the Jura hills, might this be the perfect place to skip school?
I worked for more than twenty years in Lyon in my father's printing office. At fifty, when I inherited the printing press, I wanted to make changes and take on new projects and experiences. It took me more than a year to discover this gem, a pretty school that I have turned into a guest house.
The school is located next to the abbey of Ambronay, it was founded under the reign of Charlemagne and then attached to the rule of St. Benedict. Some buildings were dismantled during the French Revolution and the school was built in place of one of its buildings. Many vestiges are still visible: vaults, columns, thick stone walls, a patio, fireplaces. We also found plaques from 1750. The building has a total surface area of 1000 m2 and the old playground is still here. The living room on the ground floor was once the staff room and is still equipped with sinks, it was compulsory for children to wash their hands before going to class!
The school was built in 1870 and closed at the end of the 2014 school year. I bought it in 2015. It had become too small and the town decided to sell it in order to finance the new school which was under construction at the time. The property took a year of never-ending work with some discouraging moments, but hope prevailed and the René Cassin school became "La Maison d'Ambronay".
I put all my heart, energy and soul into this place! I respected the property, its history and its previous functions. I added comfort but preserved the authenticity of the building. I live here and share moments of truth, spontaneity and generosity with my guests. I also have a souvenir shop with objects made from paper and regional products.
Gastronomy is a real asset of the Rhône-Alpes region! Attached to the school, the Auberge de l'Abbaye is a gourmet, Michelin-starred restaurant that offers cuisine centred around "Happiness". A hike in the vineyards with Caroline, a passionate sommelier, is perfect for discovering the vineyard of Bugey in the Ain which produces AOC wines and the Bugey Cerdon which is a sparkling rosé. Last but not least, passionate collectors offer tours of the surrounding villages in a Citroën 2CV.
The Maison d'Ambronay is also a great place for working on projects, writing, creating, team bonding or hosting small management seminars for up to twelve people.