My husband and I live in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. We decided to spend an extended vacation in the Loire valley, 5 weeks being at La Porte Bleue in Amboise May 9 to June 13, 2015.
We discovered the accommodation on the internet, were captured by its charming photos and prime location facing the Chateau Amboise, but convinced by the outstanding reviews of previous visitors. It was an easy decision to request a booking from the owner Chantal Salvaudon a year before our arrival.
We travel extensively now that we're in our 60's and love to stay in apartments and self-accommodating facilities, but none has ever exceeded our expectations like La Porte Bleue. Every positive comment you may already have read regarding this home and its warm and welcoming owner is absolutely true.
However, for those of you still trying to make a decision where to spend a few days or a few weeks in the Loire valley, we cannot recommend this charming house and its owner more highly.
Chantal is La Porte Bleue ! Her vivacious personality is reflected everywhere in the furnishings, the artwork, her books, the handpainted walls, hand crocheted curtains, the happy La Porte Bleue sign swinging outside the front door, towels and cheerfully patterned bed sheets replaced weekly - maybe dots, stripes, "flowers today!" neatly ironed and left in a basket at the back door when Chantal's 'coucou' tells you she was there.
Her thoughtfulness to provide so many details that make the accommodation and the experience so unique is echoed in a passage from one of the books she showed us - a biography she had read that was set in our home state of Iowa. Here is the quote I chose, " Find your place. Be happy with what you have. Treat everyone well. Live a good life. It isn't about material things, it's about love. And you can never anticipate love."
Making each and all of her guests feel special and welcomed and important is her passion. Nothing was neglected, missing or overlooked in this visit.
We needed help planning drives, places to eat, towns to visit, unusual sites to visit, the best baguettes, her 2 bikes at our disposal, great washing machine and dryer, nothing was too much trouble. The fact that her own home is just around the corner on the island meant that she was readily available if we needed advice or had a 'crise'. (I lost the key one day....'pas grave' as she cheerfully gave us another).
She knew that i was keen to improve my rusty high school french and invited me to have le petit dejeuner with her while she patiently helped me to listen and learn.
The private courtyard behind the house provides a sunny and safe spot to dry clothes if the sun is shining and to discover one day at Chantal's beckoning, a family of baby birds in the climbing greenery trying out their first flight - just another endearing example of her happy demeanor and the lovely surroundings of this home.
We found La Porte Bleue to be the best accommodation we could possibly want for a vacation in Amboise and the surrounding Loire valley. The town itself is so conveniently close across the bridge and paved walks along the Loire were a daily event. It is well situated to visit the beautiful chateaux and our timing in May/June seemed to be just ahead of the main tourist arrival and the heat of summer.
In addition to the big name chateaux , make sure you visit Chaumont, so close to Amboise. The chateau itself not a bad alternative for Diane de Poitier after Catherine de Medici evicted her husband's mistress from Chenonceau following the death of Henri II. But the expansive gardens with their large scale contemporary outdoor artwork provided a unique and full day experience.
The daily view of the chateau Amboise from our windows was stunning in every kind of weather, thunderstorms probably outlined it the best. On calm days we watched hot air balloons drifting past the battlements and frequent tourists stopped to admire 'our' prime view then photographed the sign La Porte Bleue for future reference.
We rented a car from Europcar (than you Stephanie) near Amboise through the Kemwel website and were amazed at the very reasonable rates Kemwel was able to offer. Parking was never a problem on the island and having a vehicle really made the difference to expand our touring and fully experience the area.
With Chantal's advice we had several memorable meals and eating experiences: Chez Bruno, Le Maitre d'Art near Clos Luce, L'Horloge fior a light snack on Rue Nationale, La Pause du Temps, Eric Gauvreau boulangerie/patisserie for a daily baguette, La Croix Verte in Posse sur Cisse for a unique trogledyte environment, Le Val Joli on the main road to Vouvray, wine tasting at marvelous Huet in Vouvray to name a few.
And importantly we gained a new friend whom we were truly sad to leave when the time came to return home.
Without hesitation we give La Porte Bleue a five star recommendation.
Thank you Chantal. We miss you. Au revoir.
My husband and I stayed in the charming ground floor apartment for 2 nights. It was roomy, clean and comfortable. The location could not have been better! It is a 5 minute walk to cafes and shops, the view is outstanding, it is quiet (with the sounds of the river flowing by), and free parking is nearby. Chantal offers the use of a washer and dryer and two bicycles. The kitchen is thoroughly stocked with equipment-I wish we stayed longer to take full advantage of all the amenities. Chantal is cheerful and quite helpful with suggestions of cafes, restaurants, and attractions.
Hint: While the choice of cafes on Rue Fancois I are plentiful, do explore more of the town to find other options, as well. Walk down Rue Nationale several blocks to find interesting eateries and shops. We especially like l'Horlage for breakfast.
My friend and I stayed at La Porte Bleue in September 2015. Our hostess Chantal graciously offered to meet us at the train station when we arrived in Amboise, and we took her up on that. The home is simply charming; the location perfect (a 5-min walk over the bridge to everything in Amboise), and the view of the chateau was directly across the river. I'd pinch myself in the morning when I flung open the kitchen curtains to see the magnificent river and castle view. Oh, and the lulling sound of the Loire River was lovely at night, as were the sky full of stars above. Chantal oriented us with her suggestions (she has a folder for guests with recommendations of places to eat, things to do.) It was the perfect jumping-off spot for a castle tour, which we caught at the convenient Tourist Information office. Note: We did a half-day tour (2 castles) and that was enough for one day. Nice shopping in Amboise. Good food. (We got pastries from Bigot Patisserie every morning, usually bringing them back to the Blue Door for a relaxing breakfast (did I mention the awesome view across the river?) before starting our day. Highly recommended.
Like other reviewers, we wish we could have stayed longer (next time!). Chantal was a wonderful hostess and helped us with suggestions on places to visit in the area. We stayed in the upstairs apartment with the most amazing view of Chateau Amboise across the river Loire. The rooms were clean and included two bedrooms (sleeps 4), living room, kitchen and bathroom. Entrance is from the rear up a staircase, but not an issue. A very charming place to live. Hope to return someday soon.
Stayed in the ground floor apartment for just 2 nights but wish we would have stayed an entire week! The owner, Chantal, is a delight. She lives a few doors away, and shared much local information, restaurant tips, and maps. The location is unique and beautiful, just as pictured on their website ... Fabulous treat to open the kitchen window each morning. Scrupulously clean. Bathroom has large shower and plenty of storage space. Washer and dryer in basement were extremely handy. Free parking nearby. Walk across the bridge to the town proper, and to visit Amboise Chateau and Clos Luce.