Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 5553: La Porte Bleu, Apartment
1bed/1bath apartment in Amboise, Loire Valley
May 2013, 5 days
This apartment is one of two apartments in a building on an island in Amboise, facing the Chateau. It is perfectly located a short 10 minute walk into the old town, and often the loudest sounds you will hear come from the river flowing by across the roadway from the house.
We were able to walk to all needed services. There was a small restaurant two blocks away; cafes, grocers, bakeries and all other necessary services were a 10 minute block across the river to the old town. It was possible to drive into the town, but certainly not necessary.
La Porte Bleue is an older structure that has been updated, but maintains its charm. There are two apartments in the building. The one we rented is a ground floor unit at the front, up three steps from a narrow street used primarily by pedestrians. There is another on the second floor, with its entry in the courtyard to the rear of the building. We did not hear any noises from the upstairs unit -- and as the bedroom faced the internal courtyard, there were no noises at night.
The apartment had no outside area, but because it faced the river, and had large windows opening onto that "space", we did not miss outside living space. There was no private pool, but there is a community pool on the island within about a 10 minute walk - as well as lots of green space (including a camping area).
The apartment was immaculately clean, well appointed and comfortable. The furniture was in good condition, with plenty of comfortable seating in both the dining room and living room.
The round dining table could easily seat four; there was a separate work table where we set up our laptop computer, with good lighting.
The bedroom faced an inner courtyard, and was blessedly quiet. Beds were comfortable, with the option of one queen double or two separate twin beds in the bedroom. Rather than a closet there is a wall of shelves and space for hanging clothes, curtained off from the rest of the room. Good bedside lights, too. The bathroom was large and bright, with a large pedestal sink, a LARGE shower with modern fixtures, and a separate WC and adequate shelves for personal items.
The kitchen was definitely usable - with plenty of dishes and cooking utensils. There was not a lot of counter space, and we cooked only simple meals, but it was adequate. The stove top was electric, as was the oven. There was a microwave, an electric kettle and an electric drip coffee pot, plenty of pots and pans for cooking a simple meal, and plenty of china and glassware.
Problems or Bonuses
The bonus for us was our landlady - she was warm and friendly, helpful and generous. She was a fount of information, and had put together a book full of good information about the area, restaurant suggestions for things to do, and more. She volunteered to pick us up from the train station when we arrived, and later insisted on driving us out to a distant rental car location (we were planning to take a taxi, as there was no bus service in that direction).
Another bonus was two large double windows - one from the kitchen, the other from the living room - which gave us a perfect view of the Loire as it flowed by, and the Chateau d'Amboise straight across the river. The view alone was worth well more than the cost of the rental for our stay.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Our landlady was fluent in English as well as French, and treated us as friends, not business associates. The reality of the apartment was better than the published information. And our rent was very modest for all that we received; we paid €80 a night in mid May, for a spacious, bright, quiet, perfectly located home away from home. We did not want to leave when our time was up, and hope to return for another visit in the future.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I heartily recommend this vacation rental. The location was ideal, the landlady caring and warm, it was quiet, and almost traffic free. It was close enough to shops, restaurants and other public services to make life easy, but far enough away to be an oasis in a heavily trafficked tourist town.
Things to do in this area
We spent most of our all too short five days visiting the many chateaux, villages, and wineries in a 50 mile radius. And we barely touched the surface of what there is to see in the Loire Valley. We spent one full day in Amboise itself, walking through its medieval central area and visiting the chateau. And we found it an easy place to find a cafe for morning coffee, or a patisserie for an afternoon break. There are several good restaurants within walking distance of the apartment, at least two bakeries, a Carrefour City mini supermarket, wine shops and more. It was a great place to use as a base.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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