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After six years in the Dordogne, we had explored every castle and medieval village from Spain to Limoges. But the day we sold we resolved to find another stunning house, but in a new region of France. We settled on the Loire Valley where we looked at dozens of old houses, some tempting and some disasters. But, when we first set eyes on this house, our hearts skipped a beat. And when we saw the beautiful oak staircase in the stone tower, the huge kitchen, the even bigger living/dining room with it’s paneled fireplace, and the three big bedrooms on the second floor, we were hooked. It’s the oldest house in town and it’s only a few minutes drive to the Loire Valley and all its glories.
This 11th Century Manor House on rue de l’Église is a 279 m2 (about 3000 ft2) stone house that dates from the Middle Ages. It has been sympathetically renovated with lots of exposed stone and ancient oak beams, but with all modern conveniences carefully integrated into the ancient structure. It's not far from the beautiful city of Blois, on the Loire River, which is home to three royal chateaux. Just a few minutes from Blois is the gigantic Chateau Chambord.
The house features a stone tower, protected by the French heritage authorities, which houses a beautiful spiral oak staircase. The twisted central column is typical of the 13th to 15th centuries.
A sapling was twisted a half turn and left to grow. It was twisted every 6 months for 40 years, and then the fully grown tree was tossed in the river for 10 years to harden the wood, before it was placed as the centre post of our oak stairs. What is really wonderful is that the twisted ridges keep pace with you as you climb the stairs, and make a natural hand rail.
The 500 square foot living/dining room features an ornate fireplace, large French windows, lots of antiques, great art work, a comfortable sectional sofa to lounge on, WI-FI, air-conditioning and a flat screen HDTV with surround sound and dozens of channels in both French and English. Yes, there’s even CNN!
Off the living/dining room is a gourmet country kitchen, with French doors to a small courtyard and the garden. All the appliances are new, stainless steel and top of the line. The kitchen cupboards are solid oak, the counter tops are granite and there are terra-cotta tiles (tomettes) on the floor. The ceiling features 1,000 year old massive oak beams. There are two niches, which were the only cupboards in medieval times.
On the second floor are three generously sized air-conditioned bedrooms. The first bedroom offers a queen bed, has an antique armoire, fireplace, tile floor and a view over the garden.
The second bedroom has a double bed, antique armoire, fireplace, wood floors, and overlooks the rooftops.
The third bedroom has either 2 single beds or 1 king (please request at time of booking), desk, antique armoire, wood floors and rooftop views.
On the second floor are two brand new Moroccan tiled bathrooms, each with tub/shower, sink, towel heater and WC. On the large landing, which has tomette floors and exposed stone walls, is an office area with a desk, printer, telephone and Internet with Wi-Fi.
The walled garden, across a narrow laneway, is filled with blooming flowers and fruit trees. There are fresh figs in September. There is a pergola on which we are training a very old grape vine and jasmine, wood decks, a lawn, a dining table and chairs, lounge chairs and a heated pool (20 ft by 10 ft).The garden has a little stone house with a summer kitchen. There’s even a barbecue! At the foot of the garden is an old stone wall which marks the boundary of the old moat that surrounded the town in medieval times.
Marchenoir is a quiet non-touristy base from which to explore the Loire Valley. It’s a commercial centre dating from the middle ages. Our house and a lovingly restored Commanderie for the Knights Templar are the oldest in the town. In the town square is a beautiful church, post office, coiffeuse and pharmacy. There is a new commercial centre on the edge of town which is just a 5 minute walk. It has a grocery, bakery, butcher, gas station, bar and seamstress. The best restaurant in the region is 6 minutes away in Oucques (pronounced “Ook”). There are wonderful restaurants in Vendome (20 minutes), Blois (18 minutes) and Tours (90 minutes). Paris Montparnasse Station is 43 minutes by fast train from Vendome.
This is a very nice clean historic French property with all the modern appliances, great bathrooms & kitchen and all the sought after conveniences. It is roomy and comfortable as it handled our party of 6 adults easily. The owners have done a wonderful job of remodeling and stocking the entire home. We only had to purchase daily food items. Marchenoir is a beautiful little village. The drive to Paris is a bit long and tolls are high so late nights in Paris result in a tiring late night drive back. However, being in the country allows for shorter trips to sights in the Loire Valley which we enjoyed immensely. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a country location.
The Woodlands, TX
The manor house we rented for 8 days in Marchenoir in the Loire region was a delight. The owners have tastefully decorated the spacious two-story residence, which easily and comfortably accommodated our party of six, and magnificently renovated the kitchen and two bathrooms with the latest and most expensive appliances. Our cooks enjoyed cooking in the modern kitchen while our two grandsons enjoyed the private swimming pool with its spacious garden and BBQ area across the street. We found Marchenoir to be centrally located for quick and easy drives to a host of famous, and not so famous, chateaux in the Loire Valley and beyond and we enjoyed visits to some of the small villages, such as Talcy and Vendome, just a few minutes drive away. We also ate at two superb restaurants in Vendome and Beaugancy, the latter of which also has a huge supermarket/shop where one can stock up on food, house supplies, clothes, etc. In sum, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in this beautifully renovated 11th century manor house and would not hesitate to stay there again. I should add that the owners were extremely cooperative and the local contact was most helpful.
We enjoyed every moment in this property and everything was up to the highest standard. It is a wonderful house and the owners made it very beautiful, the kitchen invites to cook a gourmet dinner because all the equipment and all the pots and pans are of the best quality. We loved it all, we recommend it with all our hearts. The manager, Nicci, was very helpful and she explained everything very well. This property and the owners are of the highest and best standard and we hope that they will receive only the best tenants who will treat the property with the respect it deserves, just as they put all there love and care in to the property and tenants.
Additional amenities include: iron/board, wc, pool towels, 11th century home with heated pool, dining table for 8 people, the house is clean upon your arrival, property keys are given upon arrival at the house by the local manager. you can make separate arrangements with her to have a basket of basic supplies (coffee, bread, milk, etc) waiting for your arrival., sink, kitchen aid mixer, towels & linens, heated pool (20 ft x 10 ft), brochures for nearby attractions including chateaus, river adventures & family fun, parking nearby - within one minute walk, washer/dryer, free calls to north america & 110 other countries, free local telephone calls, non-smoking home!, separate wc room on 1st floor, HDTV entertainment system with surround sound that plays i'pod's, DVD's & cd's, 279 m2 (about 3000 ft2 ) stone home with exposed beams, table & chairs, king or 2 singles in third bedroom - request at time of booking, lounge chairs, coffee maker & kettle, free high speed internet access; wi-fi or ethernet, bathtub/shower in 1st bath - large walk in shower in 2nd bath, double bed in second bedroom, towel warmer, cable TV with 80 english language channels including cnn, some in hd, induction cook top, drying rack, espresso machine, all dishes, cutlery & glasses, summer kitchen with refrigerator in garden house, queen bed in first bedroom, kitchen sitting up to 6.TripAdvisor property ID 4599951...Read more
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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