I’m always on the look out for new places to stay that are slightly off the beaten track and tend to prefer the authenticity of a smaller property rather than a big hotel . There is a new place to look when searching for places to stay in France. The website Guest and House groups together a few select B&B’s in all corners of the country.
I recently visited Clare Howarth who runs the B&B La Maison et l’Atelier from her home near the town of Chantilly, which is just north of Paris, and definitely worth a visit next time you are in France. As well the beautiful countryside, and lots of good places to eat there is of course the Chateau de Chantilly that is worth a detour.
It was fun spending the day with Clare because our stories are quite similar. She and I both arrived in France in the same year, as young Brits, and have each chosen to make our lives here. We both love our gardens, and we both have had our years of horse riding, Clare’s husband is still a passionate polo player, and the house has its own stables on the premises.
Claire worked for over thirty years in fashion design, including for Vivienne Westwood and Chloé, but for the last 18 years has lived in this gorgeous 19th century home, which still maintains many of the original details such as the winding staircase, the tiled floors and windows.
She loves to cook, and takes pride in offering delicious freshly prepared food to her guests.
The property lies in the small village of Crouy en Thelle and it is very quiet and peaceful. The garden is big enough for guests to stroll around and find a quiet corner to enjoy a book and a glass of wine.
Claire currently has two guest rooms, and will soon be opening a guest suite above the former stables. The rooms are light and spacious, each with its own ensuite bathroom.
I love Claire’s decorating style. A mix of brocante and vintage, with some design elements thrown in. She updates regularly and the result is fresh and welcoming.
The staircase is original to the house and weaves its way upwards creating gorgeous symmetrical patterns
Her beautiful garden is open to guests, and in fine weather sets the scene for breakfast.
As well as serving a delicious home baked breakfast, Claire also offers evening meals for her guests. Everything is homemade, and organic.
She likes to keep it simple, and lays the meal in the main dining room and serves the main dish accompanied by wine and home made bread.
This is a wonderful place to stay while visiting Paris and the northern outskirts, which is often an area overlooked by the tourists. Claire is always on hand to help guests with their plans to visit the area, and is very knowledgeable on the local history and gardens.
If you’d like to know more about La Maison et l’Atelier, then pop over to the Guest & House site and find out the details.
It’s gorgeous. Nice to learn about Guest & House. There are so many great options for where to stay.
Beautiful home/B&B. Love the kitchen & gardens. Not a big fan of modern furniture, but as long as the beds are comfy, that’s good.
Ahhh, I love this home! Looks like quite a few pieces of vintage rattan & wicker. I had to laugh when I saw the photo of the “cone” wicker chairs with the fur throws. I had 2 of these many,many years ago and somewhere along the way they missed moving with us. I have since become an avid collector of vintage rattan/wicker and would love to have them back. A quiet afternoon in the gardens with the cat & a good book for company would be bliss!
Thank you for sharing your wonderfully dreamlike posts with me in Western Australia. Hoping to make it back to France one day and use some of your picks. Bises. Marie Danielle
What an beautifully enticing place!! I think I could be very comfortable there. Thanks for introducing me to Guest & house!
What an awesome B & B. Thanks for the info.
what a gorgeous home.. i would love to stay here when i come to france
those long farm table get me every time. wish i could find those in the states !
Claire has such beautiful taste ! I love her styling, it’s clear she worked in fashion. Thank you for sharing.
We loved Chantilly when we visited last spring, just wish I’d known about Clare’s place!
I wish I could find floor tiles like those! My girlfriend is going to Paris in the fall, I have shared this post with her
Well, this was, ironically, just the posting I needed to encounter this morning….having spent last evening arguing with two visiting friends that, no I DON’T want to open-for-rent every single room in this rambling, 220 year old house. They claimed “no one will come” if I rent out only the two bedroom suites (each with its own entrance, fireplace, and full bath). I said there were plenty of folks (me, for one) who actively seek out joints where you don’t, in fact, have to socialize with strangers or spend hours listening to the elderly B&B owner as she talks endlessly about her cats. So, this posting convinces me that two bedrooms-for-rent is quite enough. In any case, if I rented out more to paying guests, I’d have to a hire a maid…and then this house would be crawling with people all over…..and I’d simply move out. Which would rather defeat the purpose of the entire venture.
As for La Maison et La’Atelier? I see it’s near Senlis…..one of my favorite towns in France. For twelve or so years in a row, Senlis was the last “French” place we would stay after each of the month-long June visits…..before getting up in the morning for some god-awful-early return flight to the USA. Usually, we’d have driven up from somewhere far in the South and were dead-tired….but not quite willing, just yet, to “Let go” by checking into some sanitized hotel at the airport (we did this only one time, and we found ourselves stranded in the middle of some wealthy Iranian expats’ enormous wedding at The Hilton….not exactly a way to cap-off one’s “French” experience). In any case, I love Senlis…..very horse-y, as you know. I still have a poster upstairs that advertises an exhibition in Senlis of 5 centuries of feminine riding gear and outfits. You’d love it, Sharon. The title refers to 5 centuries of “Venerie Feminine”, which most of my American friends translate as “5 centuries of feminine venality”. I never correct them, since their version sounds more exciting than the actual event.
Well, thanks for the obviously evocative posting,
P.S. Just to clarify?…….the poster features 2 women, dressed in VERY tight breeches, with severely tailored riding coats…and each of them firmly grasping a riding crop. Almost none of my friends knows a thing about horses or riding, so, between “venerie”, the riding crops, and the overall “Frenchi-ness” of the poster, they always assume the event had something to do with S&M, “continental” practices. I suppose you know that the general American’s view of The French is that they will Get Up To ANYTHING if you give them half a chance, a pair of new nylons, or a chocolate bar…..
Wow wow and wow. Everything about this post appeals to every one of my senses and instantly made me feel so relaxed, such beauty!
Thank you for the this post and the preceding one on Chantilly which led me here. And I’m also feeling even more informed and entertained (amused!) by Mr David Terry’s comments 🙂