I can recommend the Loire Valley Retreat without hesitation. It was recommended to us by friends and on arrival it was easy to see why. The setting of this sensitively restored chateau is just gorgeous and the owners strike precisely the right note with their welcoming and friendly manner. They are a mine of useful information, offer their visitors very enjoyable get togethers, but are never overbearing and are sensitive to their guests' needs.
Accommodation: stylish but user-friendly. Cleaned mid-week which is a nice touch. We stayed in the cottage for 5 and it was the perfect size. Two big bathrooms and plenty of space for three single beds in one room for the children. Washing machine and dishwasher plus separate large communal laundry room for ironing etc. Everything you could need on holiday with children.
For children: lovely large, play areas (indoor and out), plenty of toys and babysitting included twice a week. The pool is the perfect size and safely fenced. Sheep, donkey and family dogs are a bonus too! The choice of toys is best for the 0 - 11s, perhaps especially for the under 9s.
For adults: good choice of local wines and wine tasting (with babysitting if needed). Interesting local sites. Very easy to relax here.
Tourism: so much to do in this area of France that a week isn't really enough. The tourist infrastructure is impressive. Would particularly recommend family trips to Chinon fortress (Joan of Arc story was a great hit with our kids) and Fontevraud Abbey (get the iPad game/tour for school age children, good fun).
A little further afield near Amboise, the Leonardo da Vinci house/Garden museum is really worth the drive for all the family. Working models produced from sketches of his inventions are interesting to all and the gardens are very atmospheric.
The children also enjoyed the visit to the Sleeping Beauty chateau at Usse. Very kitsch, not such good value as other destinations, but just depends whether you (and any little princesses with you) can resist the call of the fairy tale!
There is also a Bioparc nearby which is sensitively done and has some rare African animals. Good fun and not as depressing as the average zoo.
Saumur is a lovely town for shopping.
All in all - thoroughly recommend a stay here!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Four beautiful self contained cottages set in a 15th-century Loire Valley Chateau and its outbuildings, entirely and lovingly renovated in 2008 & 2011 by the English and French owner managers. Peace and tranquility combined with warm hospitality. Very family friendly. Delicious French table d'hote meals available three evenings, breakfast included every day. Fully gated heated outdoor pool, free wifi, babysitting available, fantastic range of Loire Valley wines. Suites to suit a couple, a family of up to five, or book the entire place to sleep up to 16. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Loire Valley Retreat Hotel Chinon
- Loire Valley Retreat - Chateau De Charge Chinon, France