I love interiors and beautiful properties. I’m one of those avid fans of home shows on TV – constantly imagining what my dream house would look like if I actually had any money. My tastes are pretty simple – think homely meets Miami beach house, meets country-side chic.
La Maison Jeanne d’Arc
So after we were told the floods meant we couldn’t go to our original accommodation during our Burgundy Back Roads Tour, we were redirected to the picturesque Saint-Fargeau. Imagine a village church and square, narrow streets steeped in history, and a grand castle – well Saint-Fargeau has this and more. And it’s also where we discovered La Maison Jeanne d’Arc – a splendid Chambre d’hotes or guest house, and quite literally my dream holiday home.
From the outside, La Maison Jeanne d’Arc looks quite unassuming with its pale blue wooden doors. But once you step inside this cosy, welcoming home, which has been lovingly restored by owner Noémi, you’re transported into a little slice of French heaven – and a piece of history. The house actually housed famous heroine Joan of Arc in 1429.
When we arrived, Noémi was stuck in traffic and unable to greet us. So in her stead was lovely housekeeper Nelly, who couldn’t speak a word of English. No matter, through sign language and pointing we fathomed we’d be the only guests in the whole house. Lucky us, it really was a home away from home.
Not only is La Maison Jeanne d’Arc a walkable distance from the shops and restaurants, but it’s also close to several wine regions including Chablis and Sancerre; as well as all the top attractions Burgundy has to offer including Guédelon Castle and Vezelay. Top marks for being able to park right outside, too.
There are five spacious guest rooms all with ensuite bathrooms, and with their own themes. Ours, Le Bleu Mouki Suite, was tastefully decorated, bright, light and comfortable. And particularly suited to our family as Monkey also had his own separate bedroom.
And although there are no TVs in the room, this didn’t matter a jot. For one thing, there is strong wi-fi signal throughout, as well as a comfortable living room with stereo, comics, books, and games for the whole family, plus a projector screen for DVDs. Monkey loved exploring the grand property and finding all its hidden surprises.
We were told to help ourselves to drinks in the kitchen, while Noémi had kindly left some food in the fridge for us in case we got peckish. Such was the warm hospitality we received from her and Nelly throughout our stay. In the mornings, we would have fresh bread, croissants, and homemade jams waiting for us. Monkey savoured the Nutella…
When we came home after our day’s exploits there were homemade cookies left out – the perfect snack for a ravenous four-year-old. Meanwhile, because of the unusually cold weather, Noémi wanted to make sure we were warm and toasty, so lit the wood burner in the hallway, and even cycled back in the evening (she lives in the nearby chateaux) to keep it going.
You see, Le Maison Jeanne d’Arc isn’t just a guest house. It’s a home that’s been returned to its former glory with love and dedication from Noémi and her family. When she found it, it was a ramshackle dump that needed gutting. From sourcing original timber to collecting an eclectic mix of pieces, Noémi’s project has seen her hard work pay off because her passion and influence seep through every fibre of the house.
We only spent two nights here, and for most of the time, we were out and about exploring the region. But that’s not to say we didn’t appreciate our stay. You know when it’s cold and wet, and all you want to do is rush home, get snuggled up and relax? Well, such is the character of Le Maison Jeanne d’Arc that turning the key in the door, really felt like we were coming back to a warm embrace.