Domaine de Varenne is situated in the stunning countryside of Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye, in the Burgundy back roads. If you haven’t visited this part of France then put it on your list, it is truly the most breathtaking part of the world.
The true France, featuring chocolate box cottages. In villages that would give any Disney movie a run for its money. With people so beautiful and warm, that you leave wanting to return to see them all again.
Before visiting Domaine de Varenne I had never ever stayed in a bed and breakfast. This was a totally new experience for me, and also for the boys. It is something I would most definitely do again based on our experience here. Toby and Linda are the most wonderful people and made us so very welcome. They are English but speak fluent French, so are able to welcome guest’s from all over the globe.
I must say that staying with Toby and Linda is like visiting a favourite relative. As soon as we arrived we were offered refreshments. And after battling through the French countryside, in the worst weather the region had experienced in May for 100 years, we felt more than ready for a glass of wine.
Our rooms were next door to each other and were cozy, rustic and very pretty with beautiful views of the lake. The beds were exceptionally comfortable, and the shower pressure was excellent. The rooms do not have TVs but this didn’t bother the boys as the WIFI was excellent, and they were able to watch shows on their iPads at bedtime.
When staying at Domaine de Varenne you can upgrade to include an evening meal, I would thoroughly recommend this. Our meals were fantastic, all homemade and delicious. Toby and Linda make meal time a lovely affair with pre dinner drinks, as they juggle the cooking with entertaining guests.
During our stay there was also a French and Belgium family staying, it was a really pleasant evening. We all managed to communicate very well over drinks and dinner. Joe struck up a friendship with some other children staying and spent some quite time playing table football with them, it was such a lovely atmosphere and a a truly enjoyable experience.
The communal rooms are cozy, comfortable and well equipped. This meant the boys could not wait to get downstairs during the evening to play a pre and post dinner game of pool. They felt so at home. Toby and Linda were clearly comfortable and embrace having children about. Also providing lots of books and games, as well as the pool table and table football.
Breakfast was delicious, every morning we enjoyed a traditional French breakfast with fresh from the bakery croissants and bread, and I have to say I have fallen in love with French coffee.
The grounds and views from Domaine de Varenne are also breathtaking, with rolling hills, a lake, ducks, sheep and donkeys who we only got the chance to pay a visit once due to the weather, but were all so friendly and fighting to get to us to be petted and fed.
I will be honest I didn’t think the boys would be that bothered about the animals but they spent ages looking at them, especially Joe who Toby had allowed to help with feeding time, and was mesmerised by the sheep and donkeys.
What I loved about staying as guests of Toby and Linda, first and foremost, is them! They were so warm, helpful and friendly and were just the best hosts. One day as we arrived back dripping wet after being caught in a storm. (This was freak weather for this time of year) They were there waiting for us, to take our coats to dry, offer us a hot cup of coffee and chocolate and chat about our day.
Domaine de Varenne is so welcoming comfortable and cozy, everything thing I would hope a French Gite to be. In fact Joe asked last night when we can go back and visit Toby and Linda? The boys felt so at ease, they loved Pippa the dog, who clearly relishes meeting new friends and all the fuss and attention. We came away a little sad to leave, but happy and very well fed from all of Linda’s delicious home cooked food.
If you are planning a trip to Guedelon, or to explore the Burgundy region? Domaine de Varenne is the perfect place to base yourself to guarantee great food, wonderful company and lots of useful tips on the area.