As our train from Paris drew close to Vichy I couldn’t help hearing Canterloube’s famous Songs of the Auvergne, the tunes at least, swirling in my head. It was some four years since we had been here and it was a mixture of excitement and anticipation that we were about to reunited with Lynn Chaulieu, half of the equation at Aux Jardins des Thévenets. This Chambres d'hôtes de charme en Auvergne is hosted by Lynn and husband, Olivier with the most thorough care and attention to detail.
Greeted like old friends we soon squeezed two old fellas and their substantial luggage into Lynn’s Clio and were driving through the familiar grand old elegance of Vichy. In no time and with those postcard country views in every direction we were driving through the property’s enveloping small forest or copse – down an avenue of old trees with their green canopy. Around the last corner and the instant recognition of this wonderful old house, through the gates, past the Pigeonniere, with the old stables on the right, hiding the swimming pool. The house surrounded by rambling garden, dotted with flowers, especially roses and the wisteria clad front wall.
So this was all familiar and after travelling for some weeks it was warm and welcoming – not some impersonal hotel and therefore really pleasant and comforting.
It is difficult in some ways to undertake this review as Lynn and Olivier have become friends through Facebook, Skype and email over the intervening four years since we were here last. I guess that says it all – the way they welcome guests and with personalities like theirs they become friends and this has been the case for us.
This property succeeds significantly due to a whole host of factors. It doesn’t just happen and success comes from the insight and creativity of mine hosts, Lynn and Olivier. Their particular talents ensure that Jardins des Thévenets is a memorable experience for all their guests. The property has lots going for it, including being unique and special with lots of charm.
The age and history of the house and surrounding buildings is part of this charm along with the restoration lovingly carried out by both husband and wife over the years they have owned the property. Lynn’s fine arts and design background is evident everywhere with the mix of old world with the contemporary and a patina to match. From exposed lathe and plaster to vibrant colours, wonderful art, all manner of interesting objects and items of furniture. Look in any direction and you’ll see how this happens.
The property is organic too – including the generous table where Lynn’s talent with food and produce manifests itself everytime. From a simple outdoor aperitif on a summer’s evening at a table under the umbrella at the front of the house to a fully fledged multi-course, rippling conversation dinner at the main dining table. Guests and hosts join together in the most convivial of settings to converse, to laugh, to eat, to drink – memorable meals in all ways. Lynn and Olivier’s language skills ensure that everyone is totally up to speed with what’s going on.
Just finally to mention the Pigeonneire our very unique and special accommodation for two, restored and designed by Lynn and Olivier. With three levels including kitchen and living area on ground level, bathroom on mezzanine and bedroom on top. Separate from the house this affords a real point of difference for accommodation. Different and fun would be fitting descriptions for the Pigeonneire.
Check out their website and you’ll see how special this property is and say Hi to Lynn and Olivier once you get there. Enjoy…
Pigeonneire for something very different, fun and special
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.