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Pontaubert: Hotel Moulin des Templiers

Avallon, Phone:

Reviewed by: SL Jones from IL, review #2868

When: June 2010

Quirky, not for everyone, but we found it lovely and memorable. This place is historic, serves a great meal, and is on a lively river in a quiet location.

We give this place an enthusiastic, though qualified, YES. We fully realize that people may love it or hate it. Not much in between. If you are a Francophile, interested in authenticity and the charms of "off the beaten track", like an interesting setting, and like a good tale - you'll love it. If you want a predictable and good-sized stylish room and a central location, you won't.

We were headed from Spain (Costa Brava) to Epernay. That's a long drive, and I underestimated how long it would take. I wanted to plan a place to stop, somewhat near Epernay. I decided on this place, on a list of internet-researched places I'd taken with me, and made a reservation by phone on the morning of our arrival.

As it turns out, it was way too far. The drive was exhausting and lengthy, and we didn't get there till maybe 5:30. We were ruined, and just wanted comfort. There was no one there. Really. No wonder we had such an easy reservation. Just the man and woman who ran the place, and despite our exhaustion, we were charmed. It has only about 12 rooms.

The inn is actually very close, 10 minutes maybe, to the big autoroute through Burgundy, between Avallon and Vezelay. It is down a wooded road, and you can hear the river, tumbling over rocks, as you approach. Covered with ivy, it is an old (1500s) mill, and a headquarters for the Templar Knights. It is lovely and quiet - except for the sound of the river. We rang the bell and were greeted in a friendly way by the owner. Yes, we were the only guests, and did we want dinner? Yes, we certainly did! My husband had a "Bates Motel" feeling at first, but that went away quickly.

The owner and his wife served us in a beautiful dining room - the old mill - next to the river. It wasn't cheap. It shouldn't have been cheap. It was marvelous - we were served a wonderful Burgundian meal of poultry stew, mushrooms, cheeses, poached pears, wonderful local wines. A real treat. We felt like we were in someone's country home and enjoyed it completely.

Our room was small and quirky, and dated in decor. We didn't care. We opened up the shutters, and could feel the fresh air and hear the river tumbling over the stones. We slept great and enjoyed the breakfast. All in all, it was a memorable stay, and a wonderfully authentic experience.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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