18th Century Stone Barn in a Magical, Ideal Loire Valley Setting

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In the heart of the Loire Valley, ten minutes from the fortress city of Chinon and the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud, located in a tranquil valley with spectacular views, this renovated, 18th Century stone barn was new to the rental market as of April, 2011. Many of the grand Chateaux of the Loire Valley: Villandry, Chenonceau, Usse, Azay-le-Rideau and Saumur are easy half-day trips. For cycling enthusiasts, we are less than a kilometre from the main bike route through the Loire Valley; and for food and wine enthusiasts, the Loire Valley, is known as the 'garden' of France. We are surrounded by the vineyards of Chinon, Bourgueil and Saumur which produce some of France's finest wines and best values. From its famous chèvre, the mushrooms of the troglodyte caves of Saumur, to the white asparagus grown in sandy Loire soil, the region offers a rich bounty. Your hosts, former restaurant owners from San Francisco, are available to cater meals and conduct local food and wine tours.Chinon Château: The mount of Chinon was first fortified as a stronghold by Theobald I, Count of Blois in the year 954. In the 12th century Chinon was then independent of the kingdom of France, and was a primary residence of Henry II Plantagenet, Angevin King and King of England. King Henry died in Chinon Castle after being defeated by his sons Richard and John in a rebellion aided by Phillip Augustus of France; he, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their son King Richard the Lionheart were all buried at nearby Fontevraud Abbey. Later, the château was a residence of Charles VII, the Dauphin of France in the early 15th century, when Joan of Arc arrived at the castle, at the beginning of her quest to liberate France from the English on March 8, 1429; it was here that she recognized the disguised Dauphin from amongst his courtiers, a feat which helped to persuade him to accede to her urging to declare himself king and raise an army to liberate France. A visit here is a must for any history buff.

Royal Abbey of Fontevraud: The Abbey was founded in 1100 by Robert of Arbrissel, who had just created a new order, the Order of Fontevrault. The first permanent structures were built between 1110 and 1119. The abbey was a double monastery, with both monks and nuns on the same site. An international success, the order established several 'Fontevrist' abbeys set up in England. Robert of Arbrissel declared that the leader of the order should always be a woman and appointed Petronille de Chemillé as the first abbess. She was succeeded by Matilda of Anjou, the aunt of Henry II of England. This was the start of a position that attracted many rich and noble abbesses over the years, including members of the French Bourbon royal family. In the early years the Plantagenets were great benefactors of the abbey and while Isabella d'Anjou was abbess, Henry II's widow Eleanor of Aquitaine became a nun there. During the French Revolution, the order was dissolved. The restoration of the abbey church was finished in 2006.

Wines of Chinon: The red and rosé wines of Chinon are made from the Cabernet Franc grape, and are typically dry and light to medium bodied and go well with food. In good vintages the red wines can be cellared for 10 years or more. Cabernet Franc grown on the stony terraces of the area tends to be a young wine with dominant notes of blackcurrant and anise. Though typically thought of as lighter wines, reds from good producers and strong vintages can be full bodied and well structured for aging. Their white wines, though lesser known, are quite good and are made from Chenin Blanc. Two of the more noteworthy vintners of Chinon, and well worth a visit, are Bernard Baudry and Charles Jouguet. Wine tours are available through your hosts.


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Calendar Last updated Feb 03, 2019
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An Absolute Slice of Heaven

If you long to experience the French countryside rather than the hustle and bustle of Paris or Nice, the Old Barn in Lerne is where you need to be. This was the best vacation spot we have ever found, without qualification. We were warmly welcomed by Steve and Tim on arrival and shown 'the lay of the land'...and knew immediately we were in for a wonderful week. We found in the kitchen a 'just from the oven' frittata made with squash from their bountiful garden, a selection of breads and croissants, cheese, ham, eggs, homemade jam and wine!! Such a treat after a day of travel. Our days were spent exploring the surrounding towns and we took a day to drive to Ile de Re for lunch on the coast. Our hosts were gracious enough to take us along for the Foire aux Vins du Val de la Loire in Bourgueil (it takes place on August 15 of each year and how lucky we were to be there for that experience!) as well as the weekly Farmers Market in Chinon, where we selected items for our dinner that evening which was prepared by Steve and Tim. As an avid cook, I was thrilled to be able to participate in the preparation and learned so much in the process! Steve is quick to share his methods and the result is simple food which is exquisite. We can't recall a better meal or setting, since the weather allowed us to enjoy dinner outside with our hosts. If there is a quieter place on earth, we haven't found it yet! No automobile or airplane noise, horns, sirens or anything else disturbed the peace. And the view is spectacular, looking out on sunflower, wheat and corn fields. I think the vehicles we saw most often were tractors, as the farmers went about the business of harvesting their crops. If we are fortunate we will one day be able to return to this wonderful, relaxing, welcoming place. We met Steve and Tim as strangers but left feeling like old friends. They are gracious hosts and have turned their little spot in the world into something magical and memorable. Look no further if you are looking for that perfect spot in the Loire Valley to enjoy the France that a lot of visitors never get to see.



Visited on "August - 2017

A lovely home, peaceful home with wonderful hosts

We spent 5 nights here in Lerné towards the end of May. We arrived around 6:30 on a Friday evening and received a warm welcome by the owners, Steve and Tim. They showed us all through the apartment, and we were delighted and surprised to find that they had prepared an excellent simple meal for our supper and also provided bread, butter, jam, yogurt and ham for breakfast. This was a real treat and much appreciated! They were also extremely helpful about explaining which local markets to check out, where the nearest patisserie was, and where to find good nearby restaurants. Needless to say, they also provided excellent advise, both written and in person, about local sights to visit. Steve and Tim were friendly and helpful without being in the least intrusive, and we really enjoyed our conversations with them. The apartment is on the upper floor of a converted barn, which is part of a small compound that includes Steve and Tim’s house, and another building which has a lovely deck with great views that we were welcome to use. The compound is several hundred yards off the main road but there is a narrow paved road to reach it. Lerné proper is on the other side of the main road so the compound feels pleasantly secluded. The open plan apartment has comfortable furniture, an excellent bed with very nice linens, and an extremely well equipped kitchen for those who enjoy cooking. The view towards the east includes the Château de Coudray-Montpensier, which is marvelously sited to be the last thing lighted be the sun at dusk (Steve said this was true year-round). Otherwise, there are cultivated fields immediately to the east and south and lovely vistas in all directions. Sunrise is spectacular, and well worth getting up for. There are of course many sights to see in the area—more than we had time for—but we particularly enjoyed the Chateau du Rivau, the gardens at Chateau de Villandry and the lovely town of Saumur. But we had at least as much pleasure in simply spending time peacefully on the property, or taking long walks nearby. All in all, this was one of the best vacation stays we've had in many years of traveling. Our thanks to Steve and Tim for creating such a beautiful and welcoming home and for being such wonderful hosts.



Visited on "May - 2017

STAY HERE - YOU WILL BE HAPPY YOU DID

I chose Tim and Steve's barn because of the rave reviews, and they all turned out to be true! The property is more beautiful than the pictures, inside and out. Seldom will you see a more elegant remodel of a barn to a luxury rental. The space, which resembles a loft with its open concept, is large, beautifully appointed, and extremely comfortable. Outside, there is a beautiful view of green fields, wooded hillsides, and a castle in the distance. The quiet and peace of the country-side envelope you as you sit on a shaded deck sipping wine. But best of all are the kindness and friendliness of Tim and Steve, who anticipate your every need and take amazing care of you. Steve is a professional chef who generously feeds you gourmet fare. I highly recommend asking for a special meal he will prepare just for you at a very reasonable price. And don't miss a tour of the wine cellar when he picks out several bottles for your dinner. There is plenty to do nearby. We made day trips to several area chateaux, visited the market in Bourgueil, and strolled in charming villages. I have never stayed at a vacation rental where I could give such an unqualifiably favorable review, but this one is it.



Visited on "May - 2017

Quiet & exciting place of perfect hospitality!

This place is very exciting and quiet. The perfect location to discover a lot of Loire-Castels. We met two absolutely serviceoriented and lovely owner and got a big, comforable, modern and hostoric stylish accomodation. We intend to come back as soon as possible. Thank you for all!!



Visited on "October - 2015

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