PERCHED HIGH ABOVE THE LOIRE and gazing across the river to medieval Saumur, Le Prieuré boasts a hard-to-beat setting. Sipping an aperitif on the terrace with the Loire River sweeping past below makes a pretty memorable start to any evening.
Built in the 16th century and set in a 60 acres of parkland and woods stretching down to the river (it stands on the site of a Benedictine priory), this elegant Loire manor house stands proud on the hillside with its gables, tall chimneys and a pointed tower. Its fascinating history is worth reading up on.
Inside this tranquil enclave you’ll find all the feel of a period residence: a grand spiral staircase, a gallery, carved stone fireplaces, canopied beds and polished antiques. Guests at le Prieuré stay in the château itself, in the former chapel or – if you'd sooner opt for contemporary surroundings – in one of the modern chalet-style cottages.
Huge rooms in the older part of the property have richly coordinated fabrics and period furniture – the latter showing some of the patina of age – while the best have a private terrace overlooking the Loire. Some have a cosier feel and sloping ceilings, while larger suites come with vast carved stone fireplaces and all the feel of an aristocratic residence.
Views from the restaurant at Le Prieuré are good enough to dine out on. Wood-panelled warmth and oil paintings are matched by huge bay windows framing river views. Don’t miss drinks or lunch on the terrace on summer days, or delve into the 12th century wine cellars for the full tasting experience.
Naturally you’ll want to try fresh-landed perch or salmon from the river, mushrooms from the nearby Tufa caves and some of the region’s outstanding Anjou wines. Chef Jean-Noel Lumineau’s creative Anjou cuisine makes an excellent match for those stunning wall-to-wall views of the Loire and its islands.
© Room for Romance
Le Prieure was reviewed by Room for Romance