The hotel has just three rooms and two suites, including one that is housed in the former carriage house across the garden from the main house, affording more privacy. We stayed in the Caramel Room (the largest of the rooms, which start at 330 square feet), which is on the “first” floor (otherwise known in the US as the 2nd floor), and just over 350 square feet with a king-size bed, a work desk and small minibar, two armchairs and huge windows overlooking a small sculpture-filled garden.
Guests are invited to a full breakfast each day and to make themselves at home in the small parlor across from the front door. The free WiFi works well throughout. Other contemporary amenities include an elevator to the upper floors, air conditioning, soundproofing and cable TV in every room.
The Loire Valley is known for its famous chateaux, but what many people are starting to realize now that Chinons and Sancerres are gaining new places of prominence on wine lists around the world is that this is also one of France’s noble wine regions, and a great spot to spend a couple days as an add-on to a Parisian getaway.
The hotel can also arrange for both chateaux and wine-tasting tours. Head west 45 minutes to the region of Chinon to taste delectable Cabernet Francs from the likes of biodynamic winery Domaine Fabrice Gasnier before visiting the castle where Joan of Arc first met the dauphin.
Or head in the other direction to Vouvray to try a full range of Chenin Blancs from crisp and dry to sparkling and sweet from wineries like Vigneau Chevreau and venture even farther afield past the beautiful chateau of Amboise to try the range of wines from all over the Loire at Paul Buisse where you can even visit a hidden wine chapel tunneled into the bedrock.
But don’t skip out on Tours itself. This university town is full of students and was once a major medieval trading center and its hodgepodge of winding lanes is still quite charming. It’s also home to some fantastic restaurants where you can sample some of the Loire’s signature dishes and best produce.
Just note, winter is low season in the Loire, so the owners of the Suites Beranger tend to travel and have scheduled for the inn to be closed until April 21 this year, but should remain open after that, through November. Rates start at 180 euros ($235).
Eric Rosen traveled to Tours for two days courtesy of A Tout France, but all opinions expressed are entirely his own.
[Photos: Suites Beranger; CkenB]