Reflections of a Saumur Bridge

The Pont Cessart from Saumur to l'ile Offard.

The Pont Cessart from Saumur to l’ile Offard.

We had just eaten in one of our favourite restaurants,  l’Auberge de la Reine de Sicile,  on the Ile Offard when, walking back to the mainland for the traditional 14th. July fireworks we noticed the Pont Cessart perfectly reflected in the mirror of the Loire.

à bientôt
Brian et Sheila

Bastille Night 2014 at le Reine de Scile
Gites in the Loire Valley
Our Facebook Page



Happy 2015 from us all in the Loire Valley.

Happy 2015 from us all in the Loire Valley.

Bonjour Everyone,

People around the world have been busy celebrating Christmas and at Clos des Guyons it has been go go go too, but one that we have thoroughly enjoyed with guests and friends, which included not only the usual Christmas festivities but birthday celebrations along the way too!

As we are step into a fresh New Year, Brian and I wish our clients, family and friends a marvellous New Year filled with joy and treasured moments ahead.

Its the start of the slow season for us now for a while and so we are looking forward to peace and tranquility to recharge our batteries!

But we would like to say a big thankyou for all the wonderful support, friendship and encouragement given by our Clos des Guyons guests old and new, it is so appreciated. This year we have clocked TEN years running our gites in Le Puy Notre Dame and many happy memories have been made during this time.

May the year 2015 be a beautiful, blessed and magical New Year for you all.

We hope a visit to the Loire Valley may be one of your holiday destinations to enjoy in 2015.

With Much Love and of course ‘Bon Santé’



Wine tasting at Festivini

Brian about to taste a glass of 2012 Coteaux du Layon

Enjoying a relaxing degustation at the ‘Festivini’ Festival Wine Market with old friend and neighbour, Hubert Deffois from Chateau de Brossay, a 45 hectare Domaine in Clere sur Layon, our old village where we lived for three happy years before arriving in Le Puy Notre Dame.  It’s situated on the high Layon south of Anjou and west of the Saumurois.

This Domaine has been in the family for four generations and is currently operated by Hubert and Raymond Deffois and family, producers of exquisite Coteaux du Layons alongside L’Anjou Blanc, Rosé de Loire, Cabernet d’Anjou, Anjou Rouge, Anjou Village, Crémant de Loire et Saumur Brut Rosé and Brut Rouge.

It’s well worth a visit and you are guaranteed a very warm welcome!

The vendage has now started and the sunny mild weather we are currently enjoying is very much welcomed.  Provided we have no unforeseen disasters it looks like 2014 will be an excellent vintage.  The only cloud on the horizon (literally) was an horrendous thunderstorm and cloudburst together with giant hailstones which hit us last Friday.  Luckily it was very isolated and does not appear to have caused any damage in the vineyards.  When I say isolated, here at Le Clos des Guyons it was rain and hailstones bouncing of the roofs, gutters couldn’t cope and one of our gite guests drove his car into one of our outbuildings because it was being damaged by the hail.  Meanwhile, about 300m. away Brian was sitting outside the bar with a group of friends in full, warm sunshine.

Here’s to a good vintage year for the vignerons!


Loire Valley Wine Tours


Today is the Wine Market in Place de la Republique Saumur, alongside the Loire. and what a wonderful afternoon with clear blue skies and temperatures in the thirties it was a lively afternoon!  The market is a part of the “Festivini” celebrations which is a two week long celebration of the wines of Anjou and Saumur.  It has many tastings throughout the region, gourmet meals with carefully chosen wine in such rarified atmospheres as the Royal Abbey at Fontenvraud and walks, bike rides, horse treks and carriage rides through several vineyards.  We arrived just after 2:00pm having eaten at the Hotel  le Bussy in nearby Montsoreau. This is a great place for Sunday Lunch havig superb views, not just of the Loire but also of the Château.

Restaurant on the Loire

Part of the enchanting terrace of the Hôtel le Bussy at Monsoreau

The menu is simple and quite restricted but the food is superbly well cooked and the “frites” are to die for.

The market was just starting to fill up again after the two hour lunch break and it was an ideal oppurtunity to get round easily and meet some of our old friends like Hubert Deffois from Château de Brossay in our first village of Cléré sur Layon.  A superb producer of exquisite Coteaux du Layons.  As usual our current village was represented by the Domaine de la Paleine and the Domaine d’Enchentoir whilst all the big sparkling houses of Saumur like Akerman, Gratien-Meyer and Langois Chateau were well represented.


Another Great Festival for our Gite Guests to Enjoy.

Gites in the Loire Valley

Brazilian dancers in the Rue St. Nicholas in Saumur

There are so many Fetes here in the Loire Valley in Summer.  More than enough to keep our gite guests at Le Clos des Guyons happy!

One which we have forgotten to mention is the annual Fete of Rue St Nicholas in Saumur, with consists of two days of  musical entertainment with many musicians, dancers singers and oh yes,  Brian’s favourite, (although it does tend to interfere with his football watching), those Brazilian dancers again (sadly not so much to dance about for Brazil anymore but we all enjoyed our evenings viewing the World Cup, both in Saumur and in our village of Le Puy Notre Dame)!

So what could be better than visiting one of the chic restaurants in the little rue (as we did) .. eating … or sitting outside on the terraces of one of the many bars with your favourite glass of Saumur wine just watching the festivities and the world go by?!  Great – and we are not complaining!!

It’s congratulations to the The Festival Committee “Saint Nicolas” for their organisation – they really do a fantastic job for everyone.


Loire Valley gites and Wine Tours

Our gite Facebook Page


Loire Valley Wine Tours

A tasting of Loire Wines at the Domaine de  la Reniére.  L to R. Ian (guest), René (the winemaker), Lydia (guests friend) and Debbie (guest).

Wine Tours of the Loire Valley

Entrance to la Domaine de la Reniére, Le Puy Notre Dame

I took our Clos des Guyons guests to visit Domaine de la Reniére in les Caves, the oldest Domaine in Le Puy Notre Dame.

It is always interesting listening to this master vigneron, René, talking with passion and pride about his wines! René-Hughes Gay, owner and winemaker of the vignoble de la famille GAY,  which has been in the same family since 1636 when a parcel of vines was given to an ancestor by the local lord.  René tells us that all the winemakers that have preceded him have also been given the name of “René” hence the name Domaine de Reniére!!

Wine Tasting in the Loire Valley

One of René’s vineyards looking towards the Gothic Church in Le Puy Notre Dame.

Naturally lots of changes have occurred in the vineyard over the years and now the culture of the vignes is very strict with respect of the physological and biological balance of the vines. The terroir is argilo calcair and the appellations are:- AOC Saumur Blanc, Saumur Rouge, Saumur Puy Notre Dame, Coteaux de Saumur, Cabernet de Saumur and Rosé de Loire.

All his wines are of excellent quality and value, with his Saumur Blancs being particularly elegant and mindblowing.

After each visit you really can’t leave without lasting memories and a yearning for a return visit!

I thought I would share an extract from Ian and Debbie’s lovely review sourced from TripAdvisor June 13 2014)

“Le Clos de Guyons – how a gite should be and – a true french experience.”

... If you are at all interested in the local wine (this must be one of the best wine areas in France) you must go visit some of the local vignerons, of which there are plenty. But to really appreciate the visit ask Brian to take you to one of the local wine tours and meet the people who actually make it. Forget the TV stereo type of so called wine connoisseurs, Brian truly knows and appreciates wine and will take the time to explain the processes show you the vineyard and help you enjoy the results – funny how the wine is so much more enjoyable when you know what effort has gone into it. There is no obligation to make a purchase but we couldn’t resist the superb wines at the prices offered. I can also recommend the post tour visit to the local Tabac – all part of French village life. My only complaint – we were only there for four days! Would we go back – absolutely!

Thankyou very much Ian and Debbie! We enjoyed our time with you too!
A votré!!
Visit our NEW website and facebook page for more information.
Alongside our Wine Tours we offer two charmingly restored self catering holiday gites “Le Sauvignon” and “Le Chenin” complete with heated swimming pool for a refreshing swim (mid May to September) all ready for relaxation and enjoyment!
Bonne Vacances!!


Gites in the Loire Valley

John, Brian, Geoffrey, me and Robbi enjoying a wonderful meal in Saumur.  A typical balmy night around 10pm in the evening.

Bastille Day is celebrated on the 14th July each year in France.  The formal name is La Féte Nationale and also known as Le Quatorze Juillet! This commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille on the 14th July 1789 as well as the Féte de la Federation which celebrated the unity of the French people on the 14th July 1790. The day has the oldest and largest regular military parade amongst the democratic nations on the morning of the 14th in Paris on the Champs Elysées in front of the President and French officials and other foreign guests.  Here in Le Puy Notre Dame, as in all villages and towns throughout France, there is the local parade at the monument where wreaths are placed and the La Marseilles is sung, followed by the Vin d’honneur in the Salle of the Mairie.

Loire Valley Gites

One of the stunning desserts at L’Auberge de Reine de Sicile.

In the evening everywhere bursts into party mode!

And so we headed off to Saumur, with our Clos des Guyons guest and friend Geoffrey, to meet our new American friends, Robbi and John who are now proud owners of a house in France and will no doubt enjoy all the joy but also all the trials and tribulations which comes with it!.

This year we chose to eat in the Auberge Reine de Sicile, a great little restaurant tucked away in a side street on the island in Saumur or as we say, “entre les ponts”, (between the bridges).  We know the owners very well and have ate there since they acquired the restaurant many years ago.  The restaurant has been awarded a 2014 Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor.  We were not disappointed, a friendly welcome awaited us, good wine, good food …. and those desserts!

We just managed to finish our long meal in time to admire the firework display over the Loire.  They are always so memorable and last night was certainly no exception!

Vive la France!