Published by Lyn on 20 August 2015
Tracy Melass road-tested the Aux Charmes de Maintenon B&B for us as she cycled from Paris to Mont St-Michel on the Veloscenic bike route. Here's why she'd stay there again.
Aux Charmes de Maintenon is what you get when successful haute couture Parisian milliners pack it all in and move to the country to start their own chambres d'hotes in the royal L'Eure valley. Jose and Carmen bought a listed building dating back to Louis XIV's reign, created five tastefully and loving renovated rooms and opened their home away-from-home as a B&B in summer 2015.
Five things we liked:
1) Jose and Carmen are an absolute delight! While their place has oodles of beauty and charm, it's overwhelmingly their personal touch that makes Aux Charme de Maintenon work. They welcome you into their home like old friends, share wonderful stories of their days in Paris designing and making exquisite headwear for many of the top couture houses (Dior and Galliano, among others – even making a hat for Kylie Minogue), and bursting with enthusiasm for their new venture.
2) There's an exquisite landscaped French garden behind the house, a sauna and a swimming pool – weary legs, anyone?
3) Carmen's homecooked tables d'hotes: How does this sound? Duck foie gras, le coquille St Jacques (specially conjured up when we told her we had never eaten this traditional French dish of scallops in white wine sauce), and creme brûlée. Of course she'll also press a good local wine on you.
4) Aux Charme de Maintenon is located within spitting distance of the famed Chateau de Maintenon (a must visit for its beauty and the absence of Versailles crowds) and Louis XIV's vanity product – the grandiose aqueduct was planned to ferry water to the fountains of Versaiiles.
5) It's close to start/finish of the Maintenon leg of the Veloscenic route, a wiry signpost right on the corner of their street points the way and is easy to spot.
There's a wooden lock-up shed in the garden for bikes, and Carmen will happily volunteer her washing machine for your sweaty clothes.
Aux Charmes de Maintenon, 1 Rue du Bassin, 28130 Maintenon
Phone: Click here to book
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