Tuesday, September 6, 2011

La Grande Maison d'Arthenay

Wine to me is passion. It is family and friends.It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.Wine is art It's culture. It's the essence of civilization and the art of living~ Robert Mondavi
 We left Paris for the first leg of my 50th birthday road trip with a basic outline of our route. We generally let the road and our curiosities dictate the finer points, preparing for the unexpected, and reveling in all that we encounter.

 A vineyard we passed as we drove through the Loire Valley
     For the most part we find our lodging as we go. There are times we swallow hard, times we shrug our shoulders and have a good laugh.

The welcoming entrance of the Grand Maison
      Then there are times through serendipity, good karma or sheer divine intervention we find ourselves at a place like La Grande Maison d'Arthenay. 

Stone walls surround the property
the view across from the main house
     As the Loire valley unfolded before us we were relieved we had uncharacteristically booked our Loire accommodations based on the friendly and helpful correspondence with Michaela via the Internet. She seemed warm, informative and welcoming and we looked forward to meeting her and staying at the Grand Maison. Nothing could have prepared us for the feelings we experienced pulling up to the property that evening. 

Our room was elegant yet cozy
The night we arrived
      It’s the slow excited feeling you get when you know you have stumbled upon a treasure and stand on the threshold of a memory you will cherish forever. We parked Surrounded by vineyards and entered the gate where the warm glow of the house beckoned. Michaela and Sue welcomed us and we shared a glass of wine. I was immediately amazed at how perfectly our hosts had taken this centuries old building infusing it with a level of warmth and comfort that is rare to find anywhere while maintaining the integrity and history of the structure. 

The main house
     Our room was representative of the entire home, beautiful in its upscale simplicity. Each piece of furniture and d├ęcor seemed to be one that had been carefully collected and selected with an eye toward comfort to make a guest feel at home. I slept like a baby and woke to a delightful and delicious breakfast of hot coffee, freshly squeezed juice, croissant, muesli and yogurt. We were very pampered and very grateful. 

Breakfast was lovely & made with care
To the right of the main house are more accommodations
Every corner has a beauty and a peacefulness  about it
      After breakfast Michaela very kindly gave us a tour of the property including the various buildings and explained their use in times past. We especially like learning about the pigeonnier ( here is a link to learn more ) and touring the wine caves where for hundreds of years both wine and history were made. 

A Fascinating tour of the wine caves
     I will return La Grande Maison d'Arthenay as it now has a special place in my heart. Thanks to our gracious hosts who made my 50th birthday trip so memorable and perfect. 

The pigeonnier

inside the pigeonnier
The pigeonnier from below

 Here is a link To  La Grande Maison