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Castles, stars and cats

Castles, stars and cats

Old Aug 2, 2022, 5:38 pm
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Castles, stars and cats

It's time again for a trip report. This time it goes to France, more precisely to the Loire.
We have made the following overnight stops:
Joigny - La Côte Saint-Jacques (1 night)
Grand-Lucé - Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé (4 nights)
Carquefou - Château de Maubreuil (3 nights)
Cheverny - Les Sources de Cheverny (5 nights)
Paris - Four Seasons George V (3 nights)

We also visited "a few" restaurants, 17 to be exact, 12 of them with a total of 18 Michelin stars. In addition, there were 15 châteaux (not including the hotels) and, last but not least, no less than 3 cats associated with our hotels.
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Old Aug 3, 2022, 7:18 am
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Interesting well-thought-out itinerary
Really looking forward to the George V review!
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Old Aug 3, 2022, 9:12 am
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Originally Posted by ianassum
Interesting well-thought-out itinerary
Really looking forward to the George V review!
​​​​​​
Thanks. This will be the last one, so it will take a while.
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Old Aug 3, 2022, 3:02 pm
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Joigny

Originally we had intended to start our trip in Grand-Luce. But since I wanted to visit Fontainbleau and all this would have been rather stressful on the way from home, I was looking for accommodation near Paris or Fontainbleau. Unfortunately, this was anything but easy. While interesting hotels in Paris are a dime a dozen, there is almost nothing outside. Of course, we could have stayed in Paris itself, but on the one hand, the drive is not always stress-free, on the other hand, the rates were simply crazy and most Palace hotels were fully booked. In the end, therefore, the choice fell on Joigny, but more on that later. Since Joigny looked quite nice as a small town, we drove into town before checking in. We did most of the sightseeing from the car, so there are no photos of that. We did stop near Saint Jean, though.





Last but not least, a look at Maison du Bailli and then it was off to the hotel.
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Old Aug 3, 2022, 5:12 pm
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La Côte Saint-Jacques Joigny

As I said before, the Paris area is not teeming with interesting hotels. La Côte Saint Jacques looked interesting. It is the hotel of the chef Jean-Michel Lorain. Lorain was awarded 3 Michelin stars from 1986 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2015. Meanwhile, the restaurant has 2 Michelin stars since 2015,. In the evening, his nephew Alexandre introduced himself as chef. Officially he assists Lorain, I think in practice he is responsible for the kitchen. But back to the choice of hotel: The menu looked interesting, which made the hotel choice easier. The rooms didn't totally appeal to me and looked a bit old-fashioned in the photos, but it was only supposed to be for one night. The price was around 659 € including breakfast for an 80 square meter suite not mega cheap, but still within reason.
The hotel is located on a fairly large street directly on the river Yonne. There is no real right of way, the cars are parked overnight on the street.
Check-in was quick and professional. But before we get to the room, we first look around the lobby. I don't have photos of the reception deck, but of the exit to the restaurant and the back bar.



In the lobby there are figures around like a lion, modern knight's armor and other animals.




Front bar area with the terrace.

View of the striking fish from the terrace, to these later.



There is a boutique in the hotel that offers jams, caviar and cheese as well as figurines and similar stuff.


The hotel from the garden, 2 of the protruding windows on the right belonged to our suite..

The fish from close up.

In the evening the fish are illuminated, which looks really nice.




Later they bathe the whole garden in a beautiful light.



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Old Aug 3, 2022, 8:57 pm
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Looking forward to this report!
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Old Aug 4, 2022, 4:10 pm
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La Côte Saint-Jacques Joigny

But now it is time to report about our suite. Funnily enough, there were junior suites that were 20 square meters smaller and €10 more expensive. Since I didn't like some of the Junior Suites at all, I decided to go for the Suite. There was also an Exceptional Suite and an Exceptional Room. While the rooms themselves looked rather modest, these had whirlpools on the balcony. Don't have to pay €400 for that.
When I got to the room, I first stood in a large hallway with glass cabinets.


There was a toilet on the right. I was immediately positive, because I always find a second toilet very convenient. What struck me immediately negative was the fact that a sink was missing. Since I'm one of the eternally yesterday who like to wash their hands especially near the toilet, I found that now not so great. In addition, the door did not close if you did not lock it and the toilet paper holder banged a few times from the wall.

Die Suite selber war ein in 3 Bereiche aufgeteilter Raum. Abgesehen vom direkten Bereich im Wintergarten, war die Suite aber leider recht dunkel. Auch die Einrichtung war nicht unbedingt mein Fall, es wirkte nicht unbedingt frisch und modern.








The Jungle theme was special, but the suite had everything you need.
The bathroom was also big enough with a large shower. What I found less successful was that there was a bidet in an alcove, but no toilet. Here it would have been better to do without the bidet and instead install another toilet. It is not really practical to have to traipse through half the suite to wash your hands, especially at night.






Whether the suite is now worth 600 €, you can certainly discuss. I was not really thrilled, but on the other hand it was not totally bad.
Here is our welcome cake.
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Old Aug 5, 2022, 2:18 pm
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Ridiculous price for what you got in that suite, IMO.

The restaurant was excellent back in the day when it had three stars, but not recently, alas. Used to be a good stopping-off point from Paris on the N6 to the South, but Autoroute 7 killed the passing trade, and there were/are perfectly acceptable one-star establishments in Auxerre, down the road, so the decline was probably inevitable.
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Old Aug 5, 2022, 4:21 pm
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Originally Posted by 1P
Ridiculous price for what you got in that suite, IMO.

The restaurant was excellent back in the day when it had three stars, but not recently, alas. Used to be a good stopping-off point from Paris on the N6 to the South, but Autoroute 7 killed the passing trade, and there were/are perfectly acceptable one-star establishments in Auxerre, down the road, so the decline was probably inevitable.
About the restaurant later
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Old Aug 6, 2022, 8:09 am
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La Côte Saint-Jacques Joigny

The full name is La Côte Saint-Jacques & Spa. So they have a Spa, let´s visit the Spa.
So they have a spa and because I'm not interested in applications, of course I was interested in the pool. Once there, there were first of all no towels, which should probably have been brought from the room. Even if there was a bag with appropriate towels, I had simply not thought of it. Upon request, I finally received a towel.
The pool looks very good at first. At first glance, anyway. If you look closer, the pool tiles are rather in a pathetic condition. What was a bit odd is the fact that there was practically no straight area to stand in the pool, it sloped down in a funnel shape from the outside in. There is another whirlpool, but it was fully occupied and I did not feel like squeezing in with a group of women. Photographing the pool was unfortunately also not easy, because it was quite full and I did not want to photograph the people.


Actually not bad, but a bit outdated. I would not necessarily have to come back now.
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Old Aug 6, 2022, 8:56 am
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Restaurant Jean-Michel Lorain

The main reason for my short visit was anyway the 2-star restaurant with the interesting menu. Next to the main restaurant there is a side room where we sat. A nice room.

What I noticed right away was that the guests here were quite relaxed. Immediately I noticed a man with short pants. I felt rather out of place in my jacket. Although later still a man came with dark suit and bow tie (which was then something very overdressed), but also a so dressed gentleman.

I guess behuman would have to say something about it.....
For this, the table was really very attractively set.

Good mocktail.

Amuse Bouche I

Amuse Bouche II

I took the "Grand Menu" with 8 courses, GF took 6 courses.
First course: Floating island served with ˝Kristal˝ caviar, black garlic jelly and horseradish cream

Tasted very good to me.
GF had: River fish and crayfish, tangy carrot jelly and "rouille" tarragon sauce

Second course: Lightly smoked european pollock with caviar ˝ossetra˝ sauce

A great dish, really. I liked very much.
Third course: It´s not on the main menu, I think to remember it was hake.

Also good.
Fourth course: Crispy red mullet and grilled mackerel like a bouillabaisse



Again delicious!
Fifth course: Brittany Lobster, polenta flavored with lemon, arabica emulsion

Lobster goes actually always and also here it was not only good, but also a quite generous portion.
Sixth course: Cheese



A solid cheese trolley. Somewhat unfortunate was that the lady who presented it spoke absolutely no word of English. Not quite ideal. The people at the next table spoke no French as I did and asked. Here then came another employee.
Petit fours (before the desserts)


Seventh course: Roasted apricots, Crispy almond biscuit and rosemary ice cream

Good
Eight course: Rose ice cream in crisp tulip shell with crystallized rose petals



Really quite unusual. Maybe a little too rosy for me, but GF was thrilled.
I was really pleased with the dinner, it was worth the extra night for this. While the hotel is nothing special, I can highly recommend the restaurant.
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Old Aug 7, 2022, 6:54 am
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La Côte Saint-Jacques Joigny

What is still missing is breakfast. It is practically always surchargeable here, the rate difference makes 60 €. When we arrived we wanted to sit outside. Since the first guest already had the cigarettes on the table (when will this finally be banned in Europe?!) we decided to sit on the back terrace.

Although some tables were set, we were told that the terrace was closed. When will I finally become an official tester, the stars would tumble like nothing....
The breakfast itself was of very good quality.



However, you get that when you order WITHOUT MEAT.....

Died for nothing......
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Old Aug 7, 2022, 5:08 pm
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Chateau Fontainebleau

As I said, I really wanted to see Fontainebleau. Now the time had come and we were standing in front of the castle with the famous staircase.



Inside there is first of all an exhibition about Napoleon. Then you can visit the state rooms and the chapel.


































The park consists much of forest. While it is quite nice, there are more exciting castle parks in France.







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Old Aug 8, 2022, 5:07 pm
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Chartres Cathedral

On the way from Fontainebleau to Grand-Lucé, we passed Chartres (no, not entirely by accident), so we stopped to see the cathedral. It is one of the "great cathedrals" of France and is part of the Unesco World Heritage. It is impressive from the outside with a series of elaborate figural decorations.








The interior is no less impressive, with its remarkable choir surround and a series of impressive stained glass windows.















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Old Aug 9, 2022, 4:21 pm
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Chateau du Grand-Lucé

The Loire Valley has always interested me, but high-quality hotels have always been rather sparse. In 2019, I received an email from LHW advertising the Chateau du Grand-Luce. A nice looking hotel and apparently finally a luxury option in the Loire Valley.
When I looked up the location, the euphoria was somewhat gone. With the alleged location in the Loire Valley, it is unfortunately not far, in fact it is at least an hour's drive to the castles. The closest is Tours (1 hour), Chambord is 1.5 hours away and so on. Ideal for visiting castles is definitely something else. In the end, I liked the hotel but so well that I booked 4 nights.
Upon arrival, it became clear that the hotel is rather off the beaten path. After all, there is a supermarket and a gas station nearby, the entrance to the hotel is in the center (if you can call it that) of the city. The first time we had to ring the bell at the gate, then we got a code.
After passing through the gate, we drove straight across the courtyard of honor towards the pretty castle.


We received a friendly welcome and were offered champagne. I preferred to take a water.
In the castle, we first stood in the entrance hall with several antlers.


The public restroom.

To the left there was a dining room.


Behind it the reception.

Directly behind the entrance hall was the large living hall with access to the park.







Next to the living hall is another room with a great wallpaper.



Mural painting in front of the catering area.

The bar.

Staircase and hallway.






The public areas are worthy of a castle and very beautiful.
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