Beauty, quiet and calm in a place brimming with history. A warm welcome and family cooking. Welcome to Christelle Marie Amélie and Benoît de Courcy's hotel.
Before becoming a 3-star hotel, Le Domaine de Mestré, The Originals Relais had been a family home for generations since 1791. This was the year Marie Amélie’s family bought the land which used to be Fontevraud Abbey’s main farm. By the twelfth century this place known as “Mestré’s lodgings” was already welcoming pilgrims. But it was not until the 1980s that Marie Amélie’s parents returned the estate to its former vocation by starting to manage bedrooms and evening meals. A few years ago, it was re-classified as a hotel/restaurant and has enjoyed great success. Marie Amélie and her husband took over in 2013 and well knows the secret of this success: “Our guests feel like they already know the place as they’ve all got memories of holidays with their grandma, aunt, friends, etc... When they come into Mestré they rediscover something of their roots.” There's no doubt that this is your perfect place to stay in Fontevraud-l'Abbaye, near Saumur.
Although the decor of the 16 bedrooms at Le Domaine de Mestré, The Originals Relais is especially meticulous, there is no particular style. Owner Marie Amélie explains: “Most of the hotel decor is the result of years of family living across different eras. It’s all designed to make this a nice place to live.” Whether you visit alone, with a partner or the family, you’re sure to find your bedroom combines old-fashioned charm and modern comforts with beautiful living spaces and views over the courtyard or centuries-old trees in the park.
- Non smoking room
Breakfast is taken in the Orangery: a lovely bright stone room with exposed beams which used to house the estate wine press. With delicious local produce, spreads and home-made cakes on offer, you’ll find something to enjoy whether you prefer to eat sweet or savoury foods first thing in the morning. At dinner the ambience is very different. The La Table du Mestré restaurant occupies two dining rooms with a more eighteenth-century feel and beautifully decorated with unique Dufour wallpaper. The food is in home-cooked style and served as a buffet so that diners can take their pick of the fantastic local gastronomy.
LA TABLE DE MESTRÉ
Marie Amélie and Benoît are proud of their estate and, equally so, of their local area in the heart of the Loire Valley. Feel free to ask them for advice: they’ll be able to tell you about all the charming secret little places to visit.
Discover the Domaine
The estate is more than just a hotel/restaurant and family home: this is a place where history has left its mark. For example, if you look carefully you will see stonework from an ancient Roman road on the ground. The ponds dug by hand when the Abbey was founded in the tenth century were for fish breeding. The mill opposite them was fully renovated from 1842 by young inmates at Fontevraud Prison. The chapel dates from the twelfth century and houses a clover-shaped crypt. Then there’s the tithe barn, which was where pilgrims were housed, including those walking to Santiago de Compostela.
SOAP-MAKINGRosine is Marie Amélie’s mother. In 1970 she started making all-natural soaps for fun at the Domaine de Mestré. She trained with a master soap maker and created her own brand four years later. Since then, the Savonnerie Martin de Candre brand has been famous for its unique soap-making expertise and product quality and has now been taken over by Rosine’s eldest daughter, Hélène.
WELLNESSThe Domaine’s tithe barn also contains a beauty salon and barber’s offering a variety of services. Gentlemen can enjoy a traditional shave with a cut-throat razor or shavette done by the expert Claire who has been awarded Loire’s Best Regional Apprentice. Ladies can also enjoy Claire’s magical touch with a relaxing massage.
THINGS TO DOBike hire, table football and a children’s playground are all available, while the nearest golf course is around 10 km away.
MUSEUMThe tithe barn also contains an amazing soap advertising museum featuring an unusual collection of original posters and items which immerse visitors in soap’s colourful history, graphics and design.
THINGS TO SEE NEARBYFontevraud Abbey, the biggest monastic complex in Europen has a fascinating history and interesting architecture and is well worth a visit; Saumur, the “gem of Anjou”, is real horse country and home to the famous Cadre Noir horse riders; all the caves carved into the rock which have shaped the region’s landscapes and boosted some of the main local businesses (wine, mushroom growing); the unique cave village of Rochemenier; the La Sablière caves, the Les Forges cave houses, the town of Doué-la-Fontaine, etc. The chateaus of the Loire. Further away there is Angers, Puy du Fou theme park, Futuroscope theme park, etc.
What our customers say
"A delightful stopover"
Charming place in a lovely setting. Great room (#6) and it is a pleasure to be able to stay in your family home. Very good value too. Three minor comments/suggestions (please treat as positive feedback) 1. Wifi in room 6 did not exist. In the main salon, it was VERY slow. 2. It was not explained to us in advance that we had to pay for dinner at the end of the meal rather than charging to our room. 3. As you observed, we were kept standing rather awkwardly for a long time before being shown to our table in the restaurant. Breakfast was a very pleasant experience indeed. We will return.
"Beautiful hotel in the Loire area"
We returned to this hotel in August 2020, as we loved it the first time around in 2018. It's a lovely hotel in the Loire area. The staff are very friendly and helpful, and the rooms are nicely decorated, comfortable and clean. The hotel has a shop that sells beautiful soap products. The food is nice too. The hotel is perfectly located for trips to various vineyards in the area, and the hotel staff can give you tips on which ones are nice. We will definitely stay here again in the future.
"Stop after visiting Fontvereau Abbey"
This was the perfect place to stop and have a very relaxing evening.
"Nice stay in authentic farmhouse"
The owners were very friendly and gave us a warm welcome. Good stay and pretty flower garden
"Fantastic place and lovely people!"
We really enjoyed our stay with you! The place is beautiful and calm, the room was perfect (good bed, good climate, nicely decorated). We felt very welcome, even when a silly mistake on our part occurred when we just arrived. Breakfast was great also, good coffee and a perfect selection of bread, cakes, yogurt etcetera.
A gem all around
"Peaceful oasis of calm"
Our second visit to this charming hotel
The hotel evoked a period charm in lovely surroundings and charming hosts.
"Five star experience "
We especially appreciated Benoit’s help getting us from Chinon and his sharing the history of the area and your family. The food was delicious and the grounds are gorgeous.
"Beautiful hotel with friendly, informal atmosphere"
The hotel is elegantly furnished with antiques, and yet has the feel of a family home, with children and dog in evidence. The help-yourself buffet on the terrace was really good. Prepared by the hostess, there was large variety of salads, terrines, and other starters to pick and mix. The desserts were similarly laid out. With our dog beside us we had a relaxed meal overlooking the garden. Our room (21) was cool in spite of the heat. We would like to go back.
The reception rooms at Le Domaine de Mestré, The Originals Relais are ideal for groups of around 20 people (perhaps for management/team events) who want to “escape” from everyday concerns so they can reflect, create, strengthen bonds and get to know each other better. The four meeting rooms have a traditional charm as well as all the modern equipment you could need for study days or residential meetings. Visitors can access the whole estate and enjoy the unique ambience which lends itself to hard work, pleasurable distractions and a congenial experience.