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Beyond the Châteaux: Fleur de Loire Hotel in Loire Valley

Add Fleur de Loire to your bucket list for an unforgettable culinary and sensory escape in the enchanting Loire Valley, France. Housed in the beautifully restored former hospices of Blois, this hotel offers stunning views of the Loire River and the Château of Blois. Leading the new Relais & Châteaux is Chef Christophe Hay, a two Michelin-starred culinary maestro renowned for his exquisite Grand Siècle cuisine. "I envisioned Fleur de Loire as a haven where gastronomy seamlessly intertwines with genuine hospitality and a wellness ethos," says Chef Hay. Indeed, he has masterfully crafted this experience, inviting us to indulge in his "château" in the heart of the Valley of the Kings.

The exceptional view from the restaurant L'Amour Blanc, overlooking the entire city of Blois and its castle

The stunning Château of a 2-Star Chef along the Loire River

As you wander through the picturesque, cobblestone streets of Blois' historic center in the heart of the Loire Valley, France, your gaze will be captivated by a grand U-shaped 17th-century edifice overlooking the River of Kings – the Loire River. Originally commissioned by Gaston d'Orléans, son of Henri IV and Marie de' Medici, and brother of Louis XIII, this centuries-old stone city hospice dominates Quai Villebois Mareuil.

Within these walls, two-Michelin-starred chef Christophe Hay embarked on a bold endeavor to establish an exclusive hotel, described as a "gastronomic haven with exceptional hospitality." This ambitious project, backed by a $7 million investment, showcases the culinary expertise of the renowned chef from the Centre region, born in Vendôme and trained at the Blois Catering School. The former hospices, transformed into a contemporary Relais & Châteaux, now stand as a vibrant destination that has already earned prestigious recognition—a Michelin key and two stars for its culinary excellence.

The vision for this project was driven by Chef Christophe Hay, in collaboration with Caroline Tissier, architect and interior decorator. "The main idea was to create, above all, a welcoming place, a true home"... and thus to honor the original purpose of this former hospice. Fleur de Loire now encompasses a hotel, two restaurants, and a luxury spa in partnership with the esteemed French brand Sisley. Two pools, one outdoor and one indoor, provide ideal settings for enjoying sunny days.

Contemporary decor for a sanctuary of serenity

Architect Caroline Tissier, known for her work on Christophe Hay's restaurants in Montlivault and Orléans, undertook the substantial renovation of the 5,000-square-meter U-shaped building, whose 19th-century façade holds a distinguished classification by the Bâtiments de France. Together with Chef Hay, they curated an environment inspired by Blois' natural and mineral heritage. The interiors of the transformed space pay homage to the nearby Loire River with thoughtful details. For instance, dragonfly-patterned headboards grace the rooms, while textured waves adorn the walls and the carpet of the gourmet restaurant, subtly echoing the meandering curves of the river itself.

Each of the 44 air-conditioned rooms and suites features panoramic views that reflect the aesthetic choices inspired by the natural beauty of Blois. Ground floor rooms boast private terraces with stunning views of the majestic Château de Blois, while those on the first floor offer elevated perspectives of the Loire River. The interior design palette revolves around shades of gray, ranging from subtle mouse to sophisticated chambray, complemented by accents of antique rose velvet or matte brass on furnishings and light fixtures. The overall ambiance exudes tasteful, serene, and contemporary elegance throughout.

A special highlight at Fleur de Loire is the bespoke amenities by Savonnerie des Muids, a local artisan company renowned for its exclusive fragrance crafted specifically for the hotel rooms. Infused with notes of citrus, sage, and rosemary, these amenities reflect Christophe Hay's creative culinary finesse and iconic dishes, enhancing the overall guest experience.

The hotel's commitment to wellness is further underscored by the presence of the Sisley Spa, a veritable sanctuary within Fleur de Loire. Sisley, a prestigious French family-owned brand celebrated worldwide for its exquisite product formulations, adds a layer of sensory indulgence to the spa experience, ensuring guests enjoy a truly luxurious retreat.

Fleur de Loire: a gastronomic haven along the Loire River

Christophe Hay affectionately refers to Fleur de Loire as "a gastronomic haven," and rightfully so, given its array of culinary offerings beyond traditional hotel amenities. Housing two restaurants, a pastry kiosk, and a gourmet delicatessen, Fleur de Loire celebrates the art of fine dining in every detail.

The restaurant, simply named after Christophe Hay, exudes an ambiance of elegant beige tones adorned with wave-like motifs on the walls, reminiscent of the nearby Loire River. Here, the essence of the Loire Valley terroir is expertly translated through Hay's cuisine. Located at the heart of the dining area, his kitchen proudly presents a menu that emphasizes local produce and traditional craftsmanship. From freshly caught fish from the Loire River to Wagyu beef sourced from Hay's own breeding program, and citrus fruits grown in his greenhouse (accessible to guests!), each dish is a tribute to the region's bounty. Delicacies such as Sologne caviar and Mont-Prés-Chambord truffles further underscore the richness and diversity of local flavors. The wine list, featuring selections from Cheverny, complements this culinary journey with impeccable pairings. Fleur de Loire truly embodies Chef Christophe Hay's vision of merging gastronomy with hospitality, offering guests a remarkable experience that celebrates both the palate and the senses.

The emphasis on locally sourced ingredients is a cornerstone of Fleur de Loire's culinary philosophy, with many ingredients coming directly from the Chef’s nearby garden or from trusted local producers. For instance, the red berries sourced from Alain Mercier's Garden in Saint-Hilaire epitomize the hotel's commitment to authenticity and quality.

The restaurant Amour Blanc is a celebration of its namesake fish, the white bream. "At Amour Blanc, we blend the essence of the Loire with the flavors of the sea from its estuary, offering distinct culinary experience." It's not just a bistro, but a fully-fledged gastronomic destination where the chef's signature shines through every dish. Here, with its aging cellar and hot stone grills, the chef expresses his passion for sharing and conviviality. Amour Blanc also offers stunning views of the majestic Loire River – truly breathtaking!

At Fleur de Loire, guests are treated to Chef Florence Lesage's delightful pastry kiosk, inviting them to indulge in her reimagined classic pastries at any time of the day. And for a memorable experience, browsing the fine food shop allows guests to extend the pleasure long after they return home.

Hiddenist Experience: master class with the Chef

Fleur de Loire's exceptional dining experiences at its restaurants, patisserie, and delicatessen owe much to Christophe Hay's dedication to farm-to-table excellence. Just steps from the hotel lies Chef Hay's 1.5-acre vegetable garden, meticulously tended by Alain Gaillard, where they experiment and cultivate the land to discover new flavors.

In line with his passion for sharing and education, we have partnered with Chef Christophe Hay to craft an exclusive morning experience for Hiddenist guests. This unique opportunity lets guests dive into Chef Hay's world and see firsthand his meticulous approach to selecting and preparing ingredients. Whether enjoyed over a weekend or during an extended stay in the Loire Valley, this morning session guarantees an unforgettable experience.

Come join us for a master class with Chef Christophe Hay at Fleur de Loire. Begin with a personal encounter with Christophe Hay, followed by a guided tour of his garden where you'll harvest a variety of flowers, fruits, and vegetables grown year-round using sustainable practices. These fresh ingredients will form the foundation of the masterclass in the restaurant's kitchen—a genuine culinary journey culminating in the creation of your own dishes!

Masterclass with Christophe Hay, a two-Michelin-starred chef, and Juliana Angotti, founder of Hiddenist.

© Photos : Anne-Emmanuelle Thion


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