Where to Stay … On a Budget
Luxury can still be affordable! Let’s see a selection of delightful hotels and B&Bs across France that won’t break the bank
Manoir de Montecler, Maine-et-Loire (above)
If you are visiting castles in the Loire Valley and want to keep the château atmosphere going, then this charming little manor will suit the mood. Perched on a hill above the riverside village of Chènehutte-les-Tuffeaux, this B&B offers three stunning bedrooms, all elegantly decorated with period 18th-century furniture. They boast wonderful views of the terraced gardens and the River Loire, and both doubles have access to a sauna.
The owner, Brigitte Carpentier, runs a table d’hôtes (you need to book 48 hours in advance for dinner), with home-made dishes lovingly created from local and seasonal produce – including the cake served at breakfast. There is also a four-person gîte available to hire from early May to the end of September.
The Manoir de Montecler is an ideal base for exploring the Loire Valley and is just a 15-minute drive from the town of Saumur, home to the French military riding academy.
Les Orangeries, Vienne
If the pretty orange trees leaning over the 35-metre-long swimming pool, and the beautifully renovated stone house with its light green shutters, aren’t enticing enough, then the Gautiers’ passion for playing host should convince you to stay at Les Orangeries, which lies in a village between Poitiers and Limoges. The architect who renovated this 18th-century house is the owner himself, Jean-Philippe, who took inspiration from his grandfather’s orangery in Algeria: the result is a blend of historical charm and modern comforts.
What’s more, this was the first hotel in France to benefit from the European Ecolabel: everything used here – from shower gels to the jams served at breakfast – is organic and made using local produce. Scattered around the gardens and the house are good old-fashioned games, brought back to life by Jean-Philippe and Olivia, such as croquet, skittles, billiards and mahjong. With friendly service and award-winning food, Les Orangeries deserves to be far more than a stopover hotel between the ferry ports and the south.