Photo 1 of 7
< Previous  |  Slideshow  |  Next >
La Grande Maison
rue de la Cerisaie
Arthenay
Les Verchers Sur Layon 49700
Nr Saumur
France.
Tel: +33 (0)2 41 40 35 06
From €85 for one person per room per night, €95 for two persons per room per night, €125 for three people per room per night. Includes breakfast. Group discounts available.
DiningDog FriendlyWiFi
REMEMBER TO MENTION FURTHER AFIELD WHEN BOOKING

Sign-up to receive news & offers to your inbox

Share: 

La Grande Maison

Loire Valley, France

Vineyard retreat.

Sue and Micaela's gay friendly tranquil and romantic 17th century manor guest house with an emphasis on great local food and wine. Wine tours, tastings and courses make it the perfect base for all things wine related.

"Heavenly from the first to the last drop. Our hosts not only provided great food and fascinating lessons in viniculture but were excellent company too.” Kirsty Lang, BBC journalist, and Misha Glenny, writer.

Special Offers

 A donation of 5 Euros to Stonewall will also be made for each booking.

Location

Situated on a hill surrounded by vineyards. Set in the heart of Loire Valley wine country and within the UNESCO World Heritage French national park. Nearby typical Loire Valley market towns, wineries and chateaux – ten minutes drive.

About The Owners

There is not much that Sue and Micaela don’t know about wine. They created the original Loire Valley tour package back in 2004 and have been building on their knowledge and experience ever since.

Both originally from Brighton, Micaela’s background is in hotels and computer software and Sue worked in the wine business. They both fell in love with La Grande Maison in 2004 and now enjoy sharing their passion for wine and the Loire Valley.

  • What We Like

  • Facilities

  • Your Reviews

  • Walking and cycling around the local vineyards and along riverbanks and stopping for a picnic.
  • The wine expertise of the friendly owners which is delivered in a fun and unstuffy way.
  • The sense of complete escape amidst beautiful countryside and traditional French life.
  • The food which is all homemade and locally sourced where possible. A lot of the ingredients come from La Grande Maison’s own orchard and pottager (vegetable and flower garden).
  • Eating out at one of the many local restaurants ranging from traditional rustic to gourmet Michelin starred.
  • Relaxing and reading a book in one of the tranquil hideaways within the garden.

  • Guest house: Four double rooms each with good quality bed linen. Two are within the manor house and two are garden rooms within the converted Vinehouse and Bakehouse. All rooms have views over the gardens or the vineyards and are simply and elegantly furnished.
  • All rooms have contemporary en-suite bath or shower rooms with luxurious towels and handmade soaps.
  • French Loire Valley tours and courses organised by the expert owners – Sue and Micaela. Choose from a wine tasting supper through to a three day tour of wineries, vineyards and wine caves. Something for all abilities from beginner to connoisseur. Fun, informal and informative. Taste, discuss and buy. And don’t forget to see La Grande Maison’s very own wine caves and tunnels dating back to the 17th century.
  • Wonderful French rustic walled garden with lots of places to read, relax and drink wine including the pigeonniere with its fine view over the vineyards.
  • Breakfast in the Grand Hall, family kitchen or the garden in the sun. Full continental breakfast. Feast on figs, peaches and walnuts fresh from the orchard in Summer.
  • Try out the wine sampling supper or three course dinner with delicious fresh local food including wonders such as oven baked salmon and tornados of beef in a mushroom marsala sauce.
  • Bikes and picnic hampers are available – explore local vineyards, riverbanks and lakes.
  • Well stocked wine library.
  • There is also a romantic self catering river cottage nearby called La Peite Maison.

Mary Macspadden : June 2014

Sue and Micaela are wonderful hosts. They have a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in La Grande Maison and we are very happy to have had the opportunity to stay on a 1-night stopover. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, including the beautiful wines we were offered. The Coteaux du Layon has been searched out many times since! Having been traveling for 2 mths through Europe it was a welcomed change to be hosted in lesbian-owned accommodation. Thank you Sue and Micaela!

August 2012

Review by Jane Czyzselska, Diva Editor who stayed at La Petite Maison and visited La Grande Maison. The review appeared in the November 2012 issue of Diva.

There’s so much more to the Loire than the river and wine tours.

Pedaling along the Loire river at the end of August is nothing short of dream-like. The area is still relatively unknown as a holiday destination – by the native French too, it seems – so there is little road traffic to dodge as you explore the quiet leafy country roads and two-a-penny spire-peppered chateaux. What you do get in abundance here is wildlife, trees groaning with peaches and pears, brightly-coloured butterflies dancing around you as you walk along the sandy – and dry in the summer - river bed.

Getting to the Loire couldn’t have been easier - a relaxing train journey from St Pancras International to Angers via Paris and a forty minute drive from Angers to Treves – and we were equally delighted when we found the romantic gite with its slate roof and covered veranda. Set just off a quiet main road, La Petite Maison is ‘rough luxe’ and with a laid back vibe like it’s owners, Sue and Micaela Frow-Hunt. When we arrived we discovered a vegan-friendly chunk of Sue’s home-made strawberry sorbet in the freezer and a kilo of marinated artichoke hearts. The couple make a point of personalizing the welcome package for their guests and once we’d unpacked in the downstairs oak beamed and wattle wall bedroom we padded back up through the cosy open planned kitchen area to the outside veranda to take in the local sights and sounds. Except there were no sounds short of a dog barking and the slap of a neighbour’s shutters being closed so we soaked up the gorgeous silence, breathing in gulps of sweet clean air.

When we awoke the next morning we took a peek inside the troglodyte limestone caves in the next village, Chenehutte at the Caves aux Moines, where we found the most succulent Paris, Oyster and Shitake mushrooms being grown and harvested. We bought a kilo of the beauties for a mere 5 euros and my girlfriend swallowed them down with a glass of chilled red cabernet sauvignon (domaine Phillipe Pain) she’d picked up from the nearby artisan town of Chinon. But more on the wine and Sue and Micaela’s wine tours later.

Our base in Treves was the perfect location from which to walk up through the troglodyte villages – some locals really do live in beautiful homes dug from the ubiquitous limestone rock - into the countryside for a picnic. Our stop-off at the nearby Le Prieure a former 16th century monk’s priory set back in the hills overlooking the Loire river was a welcome and elegant – if slightly pricey - watering hole but worth it alone for the vista over the sprawling countryside.

If you’re a wine buff, La Petite Maison owners Sue and Micaela will take you on tours of the surrounding vineyards, of which there are many. All wine tours need to be booked in advance as a package and this includes dinner on the evening on arrival and accommodation at La Grande Maison. The tours are open to all who stay at their even more secluded retreat La Grande Maison tucked away in the rolling hills of the Saumur region. Between you and me, I reckon the duo love the idea of hosting a group of queer women. In fact their tours are pretty legendary.

Tasting forms a vital and important part of the tours (we learned that they only use two types of grape here the chenin blanc and cabernet franc and they also offer wine shopping tours, so anyone preparing for a civil partnership or other occasions would do well to join them. Specializing in matching up wines with menus, the duo have the local know-how and contacts to organize the best deals for you. If you do decide to stay with them in La Grande Maison, you’re in for a treat – a B&B with a difference, guests get their own cottage with private garden area or spacious rooms within the main house – the place is dog-friendly, too - and you’ll be taken (if you want to – nothing is compulsory) on a fascinating tour of their cool and capacious underground 17th century caves from when the house was a working wine estate and whose walls feature carvings from the first World War or you can simply read and watch the sun set from the roof of the pigeonnier. Artists and musicians often come for a week or two to immerse themselves in their work and enjoy the tranquility, and certain celebrities pay regular visits because the place is so hidden away.

When we sat drinking rosé and home made elderflower cordial under the magnolia tree with white flowers like tea cups, we were knocked out by the smell of the hollyhocks and buddleia. Just out of earshot are free range hens Vita, Vanessa, Violet and Virginia, all named after the Bloomsbury set. If it’s history you want, there are churches with screeds of history about Joan of Arc who came from Aquitaine to Chinon before her final battles and Catherine de Medici who brought Leonardo da Vinci to nearby Amboise where his tomb now is. There’s so much to do here; fishing, cycling, boat trips, promenades en voiture, mushrooming, following the ley lines and discovering the standing stones.

The truth is you could spend weeks here just chilling out and discovering the treasures the area has to offer. Local food specialities include the mushrooms but also fantastic fruit and vegetable produce – the strawberries we bought at the local supermarche tasted like proper old fashioned wild strawberries. There’s also great local goats cheese and chopped pork pate and some great local restaurants if you fancy a night off cooking include Le Bouchon Ponot in nearby Le Puy Notre Dame.

It’s the richness, beauty and peace of the area that drew Micaela and Sue to the area in 2004, from Brighton when they fell in love with the estate after deciding they wanted a life change. And despite their initial concerns, being gay hasn’t proved difficult for locals in the slightest. “Things have changed a lot in the last five years and because we’re open about who we are and what we offer there have been no problems at all,” says Sue. There’s even a lesbian disco in the area twice a year at the Moulin de Sarre in the town of Gennes and if you’re keen to organize your trip around this momentous event, just ask Sue or Micaela or visit the local website tonics.fr the local gay group in Angers for more information.

July 2012
"Found La Grand Maison on TripAdvisor and a newer EU travel website for great places to stay, Further Afield. I have fair but high expectations and have rarely been let down by TripAdvisor. La Grande Mason met and surpassed every expectation. Initially, I was worried about finding it and that it would be too out of the way. A GPS using coordinates was easy...arrived easily and was greeted with a marvelous glass of wine. Micaela showed us to our room and it was just perfect. Fluffy crisp duvet, beautiful clean marvelous bathroom with terrific shower, magnificent welcoming grounds with terrific nooks & crannies that call you to watch sun setting, grape vines exploding with vintage, birds singing and if you are interested darling dogs to give companionship. Towns are easy five minute drives away...chateaux and caves for wine tasting plentiful less than a thirty minute drive...all from TERRIFIC recommendations from Micaela and Sue. Sue is the chef and provides a magnificent wine tasting dinner. YOU MUST DO THIS AT LEAST ONCE! Breakfast is diverse each day and satiates our American appetites, and needs are met generously. I will upload pictures soon. This place is TERRIFIC! You are in for a real treat!"

Dear Micaela and Sue!

We are back in the UK and we would like to thank you once more for your hospitality.  We truly enjoyed our days en France and at La Grande Maison, the house, the dogs, the food and the wines ... and especially how you managed to put us at ease and temporarily at home. In short, we loved it!

We loved going to visit Monsieur Gay the local winemaker and bought five boxes of his "quaffling" Chenin blanc too! Johnny and I are definitely planning to be back this summer, if you would still have us. Anyway, once more thanks to both of you!"

Jürgen & Johnny - London UK

.....................

This was an ideal stop off en route back home from the Dordogne to the UK. It's a rambling rustic house with a courtyard garden full of wild flowers and shrubs and several interesting aspects including a tower-like pigeonnier at one end. Micaela and Sue are charming hosts and particularly helpful - their bespoke wine trips would be a great way to spend a holiday in the Loire Valley. The rooms were cool and spacious and after a boisterous welcome the trio of Springer spaniels treated us like old friends. Breakfast was excellent with lots of home-made goodies. Highly recommended.


Nick and Nick - Hereford UK

   

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Parker Guest House, San Francisco, USA
View Details |+|
Mama Shelter Lyon, Lyon, France
View Details |+|
The Plough Inn, Lupton, Cumbria, England
View Details |+|
Number 43, Cumbria, England
View Details |+|

FROM THE BLOG

SOME ADVICE FOR GAY TRAVELLERS TO MOROCCO
As news spreads about Ray Cole from the UK and a Moroccan man being jailed for four months for homosexual... READ MORE >

FROM TWITTER | FOLLOW