THE IN­SID­ERS MONTSOREAU, LOIRE VAL­LEY

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - MELISSA WALDER

CO-OWNER, LILY & LULU STAY: La Marine de Loire, Montsoreau Built and dec­o­rated by its tal­ented owner, Caro­line Chag­naud, each gue­stroom in this beau­ti­ful ho­tel is unique. The view of the Loire from Les Gran­des Sablees is glo­ri­ous, but my favourite is Saisons, which over­looks the court­yard gar­den. Make time to be pam­pered in Chag­naud’s divine day spa; ho­tel-lamarinede­loire.com. STROLL: Rose-scented ram­ble From the ho­tel, turn right, head up the hill be­hind the small square and stop to smell the roses — lit­er­ally. An amaz­ing ar­ray of flow­ers grows wild up an­cient stone walls as far as the eye can see. Keep climb­ing, it is worth it for the view over the slate roofs to the con­flu­ence of the Loire and Vi­enne rivers. IN­DULGE: An­tiques shop­ping The vil­lage of Montsoreau is full of won­der­ful an­tiques shops, the high­light be­ing the gor­geous small bou­tique owned and run by Yan­nick Lafour­cade at 22 HauteRue. Browse the beau­ti­ful pieces and be sure to men­tion Melissa sent you. Hope­fully, he will flash his most divine smile and the angst of over­spend­ing will dis­ap­pear. BE IN­SPIRED: Chateau de Chau­mont This 10th-cen­tury ed­i­fice stands tall among the many mag­nif­i­cent chateaux of the Loire Val­ley. Its an­nual Gar­den Fes­ti­val (April to Oc­to­ber) hosts themed dis­plays cre­ated by land­scape ar­chi­tects, de­sign­ers and artists from across the world; do­maine-chau­mont.fr. LEARN: Ab­baye de Fon­tevraud No visit to the Loire Val­ley is com­plete with­out a few hours spent at this spec­tac­u­lar abbey, the rest­ing place of Richard the Lion­heart; ab­bayede­fontevraud.com. TASTE: L’Aro­mate Res­tau­rant It is im­pos­si­ble to make a poor se­lec­tion from the in­no­va­tive menu at this res­tau­rant in the town­ship of Sau­mur. But don’t go past the con­fit de ca­nard with fresh herbs and goat’s cheese; laro­mate-res­tau­rant.com. SIP: Do­maine de la Paleine In the heart of the Loire Val­ley, near the mag­nif­i­cent Notre Dame du Puy, this fam­ily-owned vine­yard set among 14ha of vines is a must-see. Cloth­ing and home­wares busi­ness Lily & Lulu runs small-group tours for women to France. More: lilyand­lulu. com.au.

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