Guestbook 

 

Extracts from our guest book

2017

Your local knowledge contributed to our enjoyment of food and wine in no small measure. A memorable holiday, greatly enhanced by your generous hospitality and kindness.
Diolch i chi, Peter a Sally - Thank you, Peter and Sally
Cofion cynnes – Happy memories

John & Susan, Swansea

Once again (our 9th visit) we have thoroughly enjoyed the rest and relaxation that we find here. Thank you for the stool in the kitchen, good for reaching the top cupboards, and also for sitting down low to watch food under the grill. A welcome addition!
Much love and thanks to you both.

BJ & Nigel, Tamworth

What better start to our holiday than to find the place actually exceeded our fairly high expectations? There was even talk before we left the UK of ‘doing’ some châteaux, but we never quite got inside any. We simply enjoyed the mixture of staying put and venturing out – once even as far as Saumur.
Thank you, Sally & Peter, for providing great hospitality, company, food and relaxation.

Josephine & Nick, Ascot and Chiswick

Everything here is fantastic

Nick and Sarah

   • the accommodation
   • the pool
   • the duo of dogs
   • especially the fantastic meal
      Sally cooked for Nick’s birthday
   • the really warm welcome
   • even some of Peter’s jokes!
Thank you for a great week

Nick & Sarah, Eyam

La Maison Aubelle ticks so many of our boxes that we have had to add a few more. Peter and Sally’s careful renovation work has created a lovely house in the middle of a fascinating town.
We have spent a week by the pool in a heatwave (up to 38°) followed by a week polishing up our history.
Thank you, Peter and Sally, for making our holiday so successful.

Sheelagh & Howard, Harrogate

I suppose everything must come to an end, but I’d just like to stay here! A decade ago we spent two holidays (2005 and 2006) here and after many visits to various areas of France we knew we had to return to Maison Aubelle. Peter and Sally are the most genial of hosts and make you feel you have come home! We have so much enjoyed our all too short week; arrived wearing jeans and a sweater and, by the 3rd day, melting in tee shirts and shorts. We shall miss the dogs, Sally’s kindness and, of course, Peter’s jokes. We mustn’t forget – l’heure intelligente.
Many thanks.

Dorothy & Stanley, Bramham

We have very much enjoyed staying in the ‘Stable’ which has been beautifully restored. It has a lovely ‘feel’ to it and very comfortable. We also love the ambience in the courtyard.
Thank you, Peter and Sally, for being thoughtful, kind and vibrant hosts! We’ve enjoyed the excellent food and wine along with good conversation, even Peter’s jokes!

Janice & Lionel, Ashbourne

We have both loved our visit here for our honeymoon. Our apartment is so comfortable and the pool has been a great bonus in the very hot weather.
Peter and Sally have been delightful hosts, enlivening evenings with great conversations, jokes and wonderful wines.
This week has felt far too short and we are looking forward to coming back and exploring the area further.

Chris & Vanessa, Bosbury

A lovely visit to our favourite part of France. We have loved the sunflowers, the caves, the food and the lovely surroundings of Maison Aubelle.
Thank you for being such good company and sharing your super house and grounds.

Julie & Ian, Northampton

Two delightfully relaxing weeks with friendly and hospitable hosts full of good advice and help, especially with wine purchases for our cave chez nous en Angleterre. A magnificent and beautifully restored hôtel particulier, a veritable petit château indeed, meant a taste of grand living from the XVIth century!
Thanks to Peter and Sally for looking after us so well, and not forgetting Satchmo and Filou of course.

Pat & Kelvin, Luton

This is our last night of a lovely, lazy week, just what the doctor ordered. The Stables apartment is beautiful. Peter and Sally are great hosts, and we loved the dogs. You’ve made us very welcome.
Thank you.

Amanda & Andrew, Brighouse

Another relaxing holiday comes to an end! We wish to lay claim to what seems to be a record – staying in all the apartments over the years, some more than once! All are equally unique and have their own personality. Speaking of personality, Peter and Sally have it in abundance and this is part of the overall ‘package’. As always, a relaxing and refreshing time.

Joan & Tony, West Kirby

Peter and Sally, thank you so much for a week of civilised escapism. All was so enjoyable, from Saturday’s dinner right through the week. Freddie and Emily were particularly grateful for the dogs and the cheese respectively! So much that we haven’t done or seen, but maybe another time …

Simon, Sarah, Emily, Freddie, Hemel Hempstead

Dear Peter and Sally
Thank you for being fantastic hosts; nothing too much trouble, and a special thank you to Peter for keeping the pool open for me early until late. I made very good use of it and it is beautiful!
The Stables are delightful and very comfortable. We love the Loire region, but had never visited this part of the Anjou – fab!

Debbie & Mal, Billingshurst

Sally and Peter, thank you for your hospitality over the last eight days. The Stable was very comfortable and we were surprised by the range of good restaurants in the town – only some of which we have been able to try.
We enjoyed visiting Chinon and Fontevraud Abbey and the various local markets.

Andy & Wendy, Eastbourne

2016

We have had just the best time at la Maison Aubelle, starting with a lovely, warm welcome from Peter and Sally and an excellent evening meal. We have been very comfortable in the Stable, which has everything you need, and have slept well in our very comfy bed.
However, what makes this charming place so special is our hosts, a friendly, interesting and fun couple, not to forget Satchmo and Filou, our four-legged friends…a joy!

Bob & Brenda Thompson, Lancaster

Following a week’s theatrical exertions in the Théâtre de Verdure, Shakespeare Garden, in Paris’s Bois de Boulogne with the Tower Theatre company of London:
Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?
I’ve eloped with Juliet to Montreuil-Bellay,
We opted NOT with the corpses to lay.
To families’ wrath we were subjected,
But here by lightning rain and thunder now protected,
Otherwise silence at where we stay
Masquerading as Beryl & David out anonymity we portray.
In thunder, lightning or in rain
We’ll be wanting to be back again.
Many thanks for a thoroughly relaxing stay to help us unwind, with exceptional hospitality.

Beryl & David Holyoake, West Cornwall

Thank you for introducing us to a wonderful part of France, We arrived hot and exhausted and were immediately at ease and enjoying a fabulous meal with lots of lovely wine! Our week has flown by and we are reluctant to go home tomorrow, but hopefully will be back very soon – hopefully with a bigger car to try and match the 180 bottles record. Many thanks for a truly lovely holiday.

Allison, Gavin, Laura and Jamie Thomas, Beaconsfield

We have so enjoyed our stay at Maison Aubelle and our holiday in Montreuil-Bellay and its region. Thank you for your ready welcome, warm hospitality and advice on places to visit, etc: hosts/concierges extraordinaires!
Maison Aubelle is a special place; who would know what lies behind its walls and gates? We have particularly enjoyed the wonderful pool on sunny afternoons and the comfort and space of our apartment (Gaudrez).
Sally, Peter is right to say you are the best chef in town - our meal on arrival was superb – though the Hostelleri may give you a run for your money! Merci beaucoup.

David, Jo and Laura Tilly, Nottingham

John and I arrived from the rather depressing suburbs of Paris to discover a totally new concept for us regular travellers, a ‘gîte’ in sunny Loire, booked last minute. We loved the setting, the great dinner cooked by Sally, the regular jokes of Peter and, of course, our gîte itself in the Tour. The pool was always kept spotless, as well as the whole of Maison Aubelle. Enjoyed it thoroughly and will be back.

Llewellyn Williams & John McArthur, Richmond upon Thames

What an amazing few days we have just spent with you both! Sally, Peter, you are the most amazing hosts and we have just felt so pampered. It is so good to have met you both and heard your lovely stories of life and the unbelievable transformation of your stunning home. Thank you so very much. We hope to be back as soon as we can.

Kevin & Sue Harlow, Daniel, Steff and Jack, Chatham

Our sixth visit to this delightful town, in the centre of which is the Maison, a haven of peace and serenity, good company and the most excellent food. Sally and Peter are delightful and attentive hosts and, as I said on the first occasion, the wine isn’t half bad either.
Here’s to the next time.

Pamela & Eric Morris, Barry

We came for the history, the river, the wines and the delights of the Loire. We found all that with much more besides, not least companionship, lazy evenings. Thank you for helping to make our holiday so special.

Judith & Joe Piggott, Smethwick

2015

We have had a delightful week at la Maison Aubelle with Sally, Peter and our four-legged friends. A warm welcome and a fond goodbye. Wonderful hosts who are so engaging and yet know how to let you be independent. Lots of sound advice and suggestions.
Thanks for a wonderful holiday week in a beautiful setting.

Fred & Pat Squire, Portland, Oregon, USA

So, here we are again!
We enjoyed our week so much in May that we returned for our Autumn break. We had a fantastic welcome from Sally & Peter and also from Satchmo and Filou. We’ve had a thoroughly relaxing stay and found plenty to do here in the Loire Valley. We shall be back!

Patsy Costigan & Trevor Jones, Gyleburn, Scotland

We have just spent a most enjoyable week here, our first, but definitely not our last. Peter and Sally have been marvellous hosts and we thoroughly enjoyed the meals that they cooked for us. Their advice and recommendations of places to visit were extremely accurate and helpful. The apartment has been wonderful, plenty of space and thoughtfully kitted-out.

Simon & Bev Nevill, Sheffield

In all the years we have taken gîte holidays, this one has been the very best. Sally and Peter have been outstanding hosts throughout the week. We received the warmest of welcomes and we have been pampered all week, not to mention the generous wine-tasting and chats on the lovely patio.
The Stable gîte has been renovated to the very highest standard and the environment in the courtyard is fantastic. We would not hesitate to return or recommend la Maison Aubelle.

Alan Marsh & Janet O’Rourke, Birmingham

The time has come to leave la Maison Aubelle after ten glorious days of peace and quiet repose in the midst of a medieval walled town. This is indeed an elegant abode where fine wine, excellent cuisine, order and calm are dispensed by the most attentive hosts for whom no request or advice is too onerous.
Peter and Sally, you have been such a joy on this, our fifth, visit which has been as much a pleasure as our first.

Pam & Eric Morris, Barry, Glamorgan

Met the above two people who added to a good week of fine accommodation, fine food and good fellowship. Enjoyable as ever.

Tony & Joan Wallace, West Kirby

After a few years away, it was lovely to find everything as we remembered and the welcome from Peter and Sally still as warm. A relaxing two weeks has been spent revisiting our favourite places as well as discovering some new ones. We have met some wonderful people over a glass of wine on the terrace.

Jan & Gerard McDonnell, Prenton, Birkenhead

Un grand merci à Sally et Peter pour leur accueil devant ce très agréable séjour à la Maison Aubelle. Calme et délicates attentions quotidiennes. Nous avons pu apprécier la qualité et le raffinement de la cuisine de Sally et la qualité de la cave de Peter. A bientôt pour un nouveau séjour.
Bravo et merci pour votre gentillesse naturelle, votre spontanéité et le bonheur que vous nous avez apportés. Nous espérons pouvoir encore en profiter bientôt.

Bertrand Bignon & Frédérique Chaise, Chalons en Champagne

An excellent break which we regret was not longer. Truly excellent hosts as well, just the right balance in everything – be yourselves or join the groups on the terrace – spot on!
Glad to have followed the advice on where to go and what to see (and where to eat!) We packed a lot into the too short week.
Gwyliau bendigedig!

John & Gwenan Carrington, Rhuthun

We arrived at this beautiful house in the blistering sunshine and were welcomed by two very warm hosts and two lovely dogs. This set the tone for our stay here at la Maison Aubelle. Thank you, Peter and Sally, for sharing your lovely home.

Tony, Kate & Shelley Nunan, Chelford

Dear Sally & Peter
Everything has been done so well for our family holiday. You’ve managed to cater seamlessly for three generations of our family with the consummate ease of seasoned hosts. I cannot thank you enough. I explained to Sally how important a holiday this was for our family, having had such a difficult year, and you’ve really made it memorable for all of us.
Maison Aubelle has felt like a home rather than a holiday apartment, thanks to your genial natures, patience and kindness. We’ve enjoyed so many aspects or our stay, from the excellent recommendations of sights to see/restaurants/garages/walks/drives etc, to the table d’hôte on our first night.
This has been so much more than just a place to stay. We hope we will return soon and we hope to enjoy your hospitality once again. With sincere gratitude.

Vidhi Taylor-Jones, West Kirby

Our first stay at la Maison Aubelle was for a week – far too short!
The property is amazing and the accommodation excellent, but the stars are Peter, Sally and the dogs, Satchmo and Filou. All of them make efforts beyond the call of duty to ensure that one has a wonderfully relaxing stay. The experience is quite different to renting holiday accommodation. Very soon one feels like a house guest staying with good friends. This is a holiday to savour and remember with affection.

Michael & Susan (refreshed!) Bradney, Halesowen

As always, a welcome to die for!
We have had a restful, relaxed and fun time with you both. It is like coming home!
This week has not been an adventurous one – we have visited old haunts and enjoyed the beautiful weather and the gorgeous countryside.
A bientôt.

BJ & Nigel Smith, Elford

A very restful stay with Sally and Peter. Food excellent and attention to detail exceptional. Thank you both.

Bob & Beryl Clapperton and Graham & Lynne Storry, Gringley on the Hill, Doncaster

Lovely, relaxing place to stay for our week in the Loire visiting various gardens.
Beautiful meal cooked by Sally on our first night and served in perfect weather on the terrace. Peter and Sally could not have been more welcoming, hospitable or helpful. Many great recommendations, including the zoo at Doué la Fontaine (which we loved) and the Auberge Bienvenue opposite the zoo’s main gates for lunch.
Very comfortable accommodation, superbly comfortable bed, very warm pool. What more could anyone want?

Brian & Debbie Walter, Walton on Thames

Excellent facilities, ideal hosts – perfect recipe for a relaxing holiday. Many thanks.

Tim & Ann Parker, Hurstpierpoint

Having read all the previous entries, I cannot but agree – our hosts were wonderful, la Maison Aubelle is very special and the dogs were unbelievably jolly. Montreuil-Bellay is a lovely place for a holiday and we have enjoyed ourselves so much that we are returning to la Maison Aubelle in September for another sojourn.

Patsy Costigan & Trevor Jones, Gyleburn, Scotland

The welcome from Peter and Sally for this, our second, visit was just as warm. Their help and advice for visiting caves, art installations and apérojazz has meant our visit to the Loire has been memorable. The fact that we are going home 180 bottles of wine heavier is a testament to how much we have enjoyed ourselves! Best wishes. A bientôt.

Brian, Caroline & George Bullock, Northwold

Wine bottle

Hello Sally and Peter
You will remember taking us to choose wine at your local co-op for our daughter’s wedding, I’m sure. We brought back more than we strictly required, in order to enjoy some since. We have! But set aside the last bottle for her to drink with her husband on an appropriate occasion. It seems they decided today was the day, on the conclusion of her year working at Gt Ormond Street Hospital, hence this picture she sent. She has been appointed a consultant in Bristol.
Happy time with you - thank you!

Edward & Elizabeth Pickard, Strathblane

2014

Thank you for making this a wonderful holiday and a special honeymoon! We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of our stay. The meal on the first night was fantastic – the best of our whole holiday.

Vicky & Tom Summerscales, Amesbury

Fantastique! We arrived unsure of what to expect and were delighted with what we found. Peter and Sally’s attention to detail is what makes Maison Aubelle a very special place to spend a week in France.

Valerie & Ray Brown, Berkshire

Once again a wonderful stay, though much too short. Peter and Sally are the perfect hosts and the accommodation is just a dream. We leave feeling so relaxed and refreshed – for us it’s better then any health spa. Many thanks for making us so welcome and comfortable.

Jenny & Geoff Winn, Scalby

A wonderful stay! From the welcoming drinks on the patio to the very well-appointed Jardin apartment to Sally’s delicious dinners – faultless! Add in Peter’s advice on places, routes and wines, and the friendly welcome from Satchmo and Filou, and it has truly been a stay that we will remember.
It’s been our first visit to the area and to la Maison Aubelle – it certainly will not be our last!
A bientôt.

Sheila & Michael Smith, Finchley

Thanks for looking after us so well over the last week, you have been great hosts. The boys would particularly like to thank Satchmo and Filou for keeping them entertained. A great stay and a great apartment.

Catherine & Craig Tillotson, Lacey Green

Fabulous! Everything has been wonderful. Our Stable for the week has been very special, beautifully decorated and Sally and Peter have thought of everything. We want to stay longer! Sally – you are a brilliant cook. Our meal on Saturday was delicious. You are perfect hosts – always time to give ideas and help. We have loved it. And the dogs.

Yvonne & Tim Silk, Bury St Edmunds

Absolutely gorgeous place – the most wonderful accommodation we’ve ever stayed in.

Olivia & Steve Sanders, London

Thank you, Peter and Sally, for a most enjoyable and memorable holiday. We have thoroughly enjoyed visiting the markets. The food we have bought has been wonderful – fresh and full of flavour… The charcuterie along the street is very good, but don’t let Satchmo anywhere near their egg and smoked salmon in aspic – he knows how delicious they are! We have very much enjoyed paddling our kayak on the River Thouet … very tranquil and a good number of kingfishers flashing along just above the water. Sally and Peter have been excellent and entertaining hosts and we have greatly enjoyed staying at this beautiful house.

Mike & Helen Williams, Manchester

Our 4th visit and just as wonderful. The welcome we receive is second to none and the attention to detail excellent. Sally is a great chef.
Wonderful place, wonderful weather and the best hospitality.

Joan & Tony Wallace, West Kirby
Lilian & Peter Baker, New Zealand

Thank you both for your warm welcome to your beautiful home. We much appreciated the glass of chilled wine, followed later by a delicious dinner in convivial company. Montreuil-Bellay is a delightful, friendly town in which we felt at home almost immediately. The Jardin apartment provided an oasis of peace and comfort which we much needed. We both feel relaxed, refreshed and fitter, partly thanks to your immaculately maintained pool.

Delma & Richard Jones, Cheam

Thank you for a lovely stay. Thoroughly enjoyed everything.

Sarah & Tim West and Lisa & Mark Nicholson, Peterborough

…It’s a great place to stay and quite unlike any gîtes we have stayed in before. Thank you for a very relaxing stay; it was just what we needed.

Ann & John Easton, Clackmannanshire

After 40 years absence from France, this has been a wonderful start to our holiday.

Wendy & Murray Hook, Australia

We have had a lovely stay, very relaxed and easy. Great location and great suggestions on places to eat and sights to see. It has been a lovely place to position ourselves for a week to explore the Loire. Thank you for your hospitality.

Wendy Buswell & David Moss and Sandra Harrison & Franc Helsen, Sydney, Australia

Friday 13th and yet a good omen as another outstanding visit draws to a close. The fourth sojourn in La Maison Aubelle in as many years and we have found our time as fresh and enjoyable as the first. There is so much to see and do from this most perfect of bases. And as we’ve said on previous visits, the wine is “entirely quaffable.”

Pamela & Eric Morris, Barry

2013

Oh my gosh! SUCH a wonderful time we have had!
We’ve loved our apartment – everything we could want, including a comfy bed!
Dinner with you was not only delicious, but gave us such a warm and laughter-filled welcome to Maison Aubelle, which only continued for the remainder of our stay.
Good food, good wine, good friends – perfect.

Liz & Bob Merry, Whitby, Ontario

Sally & Peter, you are the best!!
Our stay here has exceeded all expectations. Your hospitality has created memories we will treasure long into the future.
Many thanks.

Bob & Gail Newman, NSW, Australia

Wonderful visit! Great hospitality! We had a lot of fun, a high point of our trip.

John & Andrea Gibson, Brisbane, Australia

We have had a lovely few days here, a great welcome from Sally, Peter and other guests, a day spent exploring the town and château, then sitting with feet in the pool to cool off. A trip to Fontevraud – very interesting – and the recommended wine store. A great meal cooked by Sally added to our enjoyment – so thank you for a memorable weekend.

Caroline & Martin Way, Blagdon

Thank you for sharing your fabulous home; well worth all your hard work.

Hillary & David Nugent, Colchester

We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Maison Aubelle. It is one of the best houses – no, the best!! we have stayed in. Thank you for the wonderful meals and for being such good hosts.

Trish & John Appleton, Hornchurch

Thanks for being a key integral part of our fantastic wedding – best ever!! Also for your great convivial company.

Javed Kumar, Shere

You gave us such a brilliant and warm welcome and were extraordinarily accommodating – THANK YOU!
Your hospitality helped make our wedding festivities. Everyone loved a fantastic week here, enjoying this magical place.

Jane Kumar, Shere

Thank you for your warm welcome and hospitality – a unique and wonderful experience. We wish you every success in the future. Many, many thanks.

Joy & Steve Robins, Leigh on Sea

Where to start?! We came looking for rest and relaxation and we are leaving armed with a catalogue of jokes and a boot full of wine.
Wonderful accommodation and simply the best hosts we can imagine. Thank you for such a fantastic holiday!

Catherine & Chris Boucher, Southampton

How can we state the obvious – to us, at least, La Maison Aubelle feels like coming home in France. We have been on holiday here now for thirteen years, occasionally more than once in a year, and the care, hospitality and professionalism with which Sally and Peter imbue their beautiful house is truly wonderful. It is hard to leave – the garden, the dogs, the pool and Sally’s wonderful food; Peter’s knowledge of wine and pool-keeping. Thank you both for another beautiful break here.

Marjory & Tony Elliott, Durham

One of the nicest properties we have rented in France. Thank you, Sally and Peter, for a very comfortable stay and the warmth of your hospitality.

Elizabeth & Donald Broad, Wimbledon

La Maison Au belle is the epitome of The Ode to Joy and reason enough that we should remain engaged with the European Union. A third outstanding visit is testimony itself to the comfort of La Maison Aubelle and the attention to detail of our hosts, Sally and Peter. Reason enough, indeed, to plan a further visit in 2014. And as I have said on previous occasions, the wine ain’t half bad too!

Pam & Eric Morris, Barry

We so look forward to staying at La Maison Aubelle with Sally and Peter. Our boys have been so jealous of us these past couple of years when we’ve left them at home! The Stable apartment is very comfortable and airy with all the essentials.
Thanks for the delicious dinners, Sally, washed down with Peter’s selected wines.

Helen & Andrew Gribben, N. Ireland

We arrived a week ago fully stressed by work and UK life, but we now have the 3 Rs – we’re Rested, Refreshed and Relaxed. Certainly the best gîte we’ve ever stayed in with quality fitments, equipment etc. How Sally copes with the three hoodlums, Satchmo, Filou and Peter, is a mystery to us – but we love you all!

Peter & Jean Charles, Sandy

A wonderful place to stay: accommodation excellent and Peter and Sally great hosts. Good locations to visit and many vineyards. A definite place to come back to. A stay of four nights was not long enough.

Jim Orr, Witham

A relaxing and enjoyable holiday in a home from home and house party environment, starting with a welcome glass of chilled wine on our arrival. It was interesting to compare notes with Peter and Sally on the work they have carried out with such attention to detail to make la Maison Aubelle the beautiful property it now is.
We have enjoyed hearing about the joys and frustrations of living in France, as well as the company of the other guests. We shall return home much refreshed and with very many happy memories.

Sarah Trahair & Malcolm Cooper, Yelverton

After a very wet week in the Charente Maritime, Montreuil-Bellay has been (mostly) bathed in sunshine. We have enjoyed our stay chez Smith. The gîte is most comfortable and roomy. We know the area fairly well, but have enjoyed visiting some new venues and remembering others from our youth. Many thanks for your hospitality.

Peter & Helen Bunting, Didsbury

A warm welcome from Peter, Sally, Satchmo and Filou set the mood for our stay. High standard accommodation and facilities, fascinating real life makeover: great design and workmanship. Montreuil-Bellay has good local walks and many things to visit nearby. Brézé château was something different.
“Arrive stressed, leave relaxed” could be the coat of arms. The main memory of a stay at Maison Aubelle is the sound of laughter and friendship.

Nina Neale & Jim Donnelly, UK

We sat with Peter and Sally one evening and decided we first came to stay in 2000, the year they opened. Since then, we have returned at least eight or nine times, so it is now a little like coming home, and that is probably the best compliment we can pay. Always a warm welcome – with wine! – and always good company.

Nigel & BJ Smith, Elford

Ten ladies arrived all dressed in pink
Bringing everything bar the kitchen sink!
“Enchanted garden” – theme for a birthday.
Where better to celebrate than Montreuil-Bellay?!

Beautiful place...It’s been so lovely...Thank you so much...Wonderful...Fabulous time...Brilliant!

Sue, Cathy, Julie, Dawn, Jayne, Zoe, Laura, Alison, Helen & Wendy, Sussex

Without doubt the best accommodation we have ever stayed at in 40+ years of touring in France. The Jardin is a lovely apartment for two, with a great ambience.

Peter & Hilary Thomas, Steeple Bumpstead

2012

ALMOST OUR LAST GUESTS IN 2012 HAD SPECIAL LINKS TO MONTREUIL-BELLAY: FROM 1956-1967 THERE WAS AN AMERICAN MILITARY CAMP ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, UNDER NATO CONTROL, WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY WAS ALL MILITARY COMMUNICATION WITHIN EUROPE. SARAH NOLIN’S LATE HUSBAND WAS AN ACCOUNTANT AT THE CAMP, THEY LIVED IN AN APARTMENT IN THE CENTRE OF MONTREUIL-BELLAY, AND THEIR FIRST DAUGHTER, LORIN, WAS BORN THERE. THIS WAS THEIR FIRST VISIT SINCE, AND HERE ARE LORIN’S COMMENTS…

I have always wondered what it would be like to see where I was born. France! I took 4 years of French in High School thinking that I would come to France someday. But, at 48 years, it didn’t look promising. Then, just after Christmas, plans were being made and today I KNOW where I lived as a child, where I took my first steps. I have eaten at the Splendid, where we stayed for 2 weeks back in 1964. I now have memories to go with pictures of me in the park or in a stroller next to the river. I am deeply grateful for your kindness to our family and you are now part of my memories also.

Lorin Hughes, Greenfield, Indiana

Thank you so much for a great break. Excellent accommodation and hospitality. Fully recommend the town walk, too.

Mike & Joan Denwood, Steyning

Thank you, Peter and Sally, for your wonderful hospitality and friendliness. We have so enjoyed our stay at Maison Aubelle and touring around the spectacular Loire Valley region. The Stable was our home and we couldn’t have wished for more comfortable and beautifully appointed accommodation. I want to take the bed home with me!! You made us feel at home in every possible way, so thank you again for being such a wonderful part of our holiday. We can’t forget Satchmo and Filou either; we loved their company too.

Karen & Jeff Rees, Wavell Heights, Australia

You have made us most welcome in your beautiful home. We arrived here at the beginning of our 6th week in France for a stay of only 3 nights. We wish we had booked for longer! We have never felt so ‘at home’ from the moment we arrived and were immediately invited for a glass of wine in your lovely sitting room.
We found the Jardin apartment ideal and the furnishings, especially the bed, very comfortable. We thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful meal you made for us and this was enhanced by the company of your other guests and the happy and jocular ambience which you create by just being you.
This has made our stay happy and memorable (hope we can remember all your jokes, Peter!) We would certainly want to return here in the future and will recommend Maison Aubelle to our friends – a ‘home from home’ with two lovely, easy-going, fun-loving, hospitable hosts – and we must not forget Filou and Satchmo, lovely, fun-loving doggy friends.

Howard & Sheelagh Graham, Cobbinshaw, Scotland

Thank you so much for our thoroughly enjoyable stay. The quality of the apartment is superb and we really appreciate your dedication to the refurbishment of the magnificent property.
All the best.

Ralph & Olga Sneddon, Godalming

Thank you, Sally & Peter, for a lovely stay. Beautiful dinner our first night and lovely company. The accommodation is very high standard and was everything we could have asked for.
Many, many thanks.

Vicky, David, Barbara & Russell, Black Rock
and Windsor, Victoria, Australia

What a memorable stay, thank you both so much. Nigel (Smith) was right, an amazing house/home, what a place … it did not disappoint! Good luck and best wishes from us both.

David & Lawrie, Tamworth

Thank you, Peter & Sally, for such a warm welcome to your wonderful home. Our 10 days with you have been just the relaxation we needed! It’s been a real pleasure to share delicious meals with everyone and the meal for John’s birthday was a real highlight! The Coach House has been wonderfully equipped and very comfortable for all 3 of us. Your knowledge of the area, places to visit and restaurants to eat in has added to what has been a very enjoyable holiday. Thank you both.

John, Theresa & Ellen Millar, Letchworth Garden City

Marvellous welcome
Anticipation exceeded
Interesting visits around the area
Sally and Peter – perfect hosts
Outstanding atmosphere
Notable canine entertainment!

Apartment simply lovely
Unfailing hospitality
Blue jokes and boozy evenings
Excellent meals from Sally, fully appreciated
Lovely swimming in gorgeous pool
Luxurious beds
EASILY THE BEST

A thoroughly enjoyable fortnight. With many thanks.

Ken & Maria Bates, Cumbria

We have really enjoyed our stay this week. From the moment we entered the gates you made us feel extremely welcome. The facilities are excellent, the Stable being spacious and modern with a touch of bygone times. The swimming pool is very clean and refreshing, the grounds perfect for relaxing and a safe place for a classic TR6. The food and service you provided were second to none and the conversation and banter just perfect. A huge thank you from both of us.

Phil & Joanna Moss, Preston

We have had such a lovely time staying with you and in France. Thank you for all the tips to make our stay more enjoyable. I think my favourite day was at the zoo. It’s the closest we have been to vultures unsupervised.

Steve & Andrea Morris, Addlestone

Many thanks for a most enjoyable stay in this wonderful part of France. Your warm hospitality and the comfortable bed both contributed to a very happy stay!

Phil & Sue Cutts, Alton

Thank you both for a wonderful time. Our accommodation was wonderful, very comfortable with every little detail thought out. The beds were great, so comfy we didn’t want to get out. Sally, you are an excellent cook, really enjoyed the terrine; well done, Peter, on sourcing the meat. The history of the house is wonderful. A very relaxing week and we felt we were visiting friends rather than on holiday! A very special place to stay.

Mary, Sean & Maeve, Galway, Ireland

We have always maintained that it is unwise to return to a place we have enjoyed (we hate disappointments!) However, here we are again, and still loving everything about Maison Aubelle. Thank you so much for your welcoming ways (what alliteration!) Thank you for your helpfulness, always given so willingly, and your cheerfulness. We sort of hope we won’t be coming back again – that would mean you had moved on – but if you don’t, we shall turn up again. That’s a threat!

Nigel & BJ Smith, Tamworth

2011

We left England hoping for a combination of adventures and relaxation – our stay at Maison Aubelle has given us both. It is always a pleasure to share thoughts and prejudices, which we did aplenty – including the remarkable Lord of the Rings coincidence! Thank you for your hospitality and company.

Linda & John Thornton, Cheltenham

What a great beginning to our 40th anniversary celebrations! We’ll take a special gift of friendship with us as we continue our journey in France. Thanks so much.

Mary & Chris Harris, Barbara & Stuart Harper, St Thomas, Ontario

Pamela and I have had a splendid time in this haven of peace and serenity, complemented by conviviality, humour and great food; the wine wasn’t bad either! Thank you for being such wonderful hosts and we wish you the very best of good fortune in the future.

Pam & Eric Morris, Barry

We felt so at home a year ago, we just had to come back. Beware, or we may take root! Sadly not, but thank you both so much for the comfort and style of your home (gîte or apartment is just not the right word), the warmth of your welcome and the pleasure of your company. We have all had the best of times and hope to make it a hat-trick before too long.
And yes, the zoo is wonderful. A great tip.

Andrew, Sally, Will & Kate Caspari, London

Thank you for a wonderful holiday – it has far exceeded our expectations. What a lovely part of France to live in.

Sheila, Phil & Lucy Dawson

Thank you for a lovely holiday in your super home. It is the first time we have stayed in this area and we hope it won’t be the last. The facilities are excellent, the weather has been perfect and we have enjoyed Sally’s cordon bleu cuisine and Peter’s convivial company, along with the other guests.

Susan & David Horsley, Joyce & Jack Illidge, Holmfirth

Thank you for a wonderful relaxing holiday. You have both been tremendous hosts. Peter, you are so lucky to have a wife that is such a wonderful cook! We have lived in style at Maison Aubelle, great facilities and location. You have also rekindled our enthusiasm for wine, and French wine in particular. Thank you for all your help and advice. We are all sad to leave. Au revoir.

Alan, Sally & Holly Smith, Leeds

After so many visits it is difficult to find something else to say. However, all the good things about being here still apply. We have been here in fair weather and not so fair, but even in the latter it still feels like being ‘at home’… Just to endorse everything Tony has written above. It’s wonderfully relaxing here, whatever the time of year. The bed is so comfortable and the dogs are fabulous! Roll on next summer.

Marjory & Tony Elliott, Durham

Thank you for a lovely holiday, weather, wine and company perfect. You have a lovely home and made us very welcome and comfortable.

Alistair, Janet, Jonathan & Patrick Fee, Crossgar, N. Ireland

We had a wonderful time at la Maison Aubelle, relaxing atmosphere and a great ‘home’ in the Stable. And entertainment by the dogs!

Saskia & Peter, Rotterdam

Thank you for making our stay at la Maison Aubelle such a memorable one. Superb meals, wonderful company and two lovely dogs to keep us in check!! Our only regret is that we didn’t find you sooner and wish our stay could have been longer.

Tricia & John Maguire

Thank you for your BEAUTIFUL HOSPITALITY! We loved our time in your extraordinary home.

Mick, Tana, Emma Rose & Guy Connolly, Boulder, Colorado

Thank you for making our first few days in France so wonderful. The Stables are beautiful, very comfortable and spacious. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. It’s like a home away from home, except with better weather, food, wine and places to visit!

Gill Lyons & Tom Hunter, Moycullen, Co. Galway, Ireland

Thank you for your excellent hospitality. We have thoroughly enjoyed our few days in your stunning home.

Vron & Huw Williams, Wales

Our seventh visit in ten years? I can’t believe it! All we know is that pulling into the big doors is like coming home again. The relaxation, the serenity of la Maison is what draws us here time after time. Sally, we appreciate your deft touch in the kitchen. To both of you, with much affection, “until next time”.

Patrick Archer & Pam Jackson, Victoria, B.C., Canada

We have lost count – ten or a dozen visits it must be? Again, it has been brilliant. Sally’s cooking is excellent. Peter managed to find a few new jokes and the wine flowed. To top it all the weather was the best ever – still can’t find a better place in France.

Charles & Lesley Ashby, Steyning

Pre-2011

What hospitality – what a fabulous stay – thanks for showing us around, feeding us gourmet meals, introducing us to new, wonderful wines, entertaining us – including the star act of the two dogs – and an eye-opening visit to the zoo.

David Barlow & Liz Taylor, Jersey, C.I. and Ashbourne

When we booked with you, we knew we would find a lovely place and hospitable hosts, but you and La Maison Aubelle exceeded even our high expectations. Your warmth, generosity and excellent advice about the area and French culture made our stay the highlight of this trip to France.

Suellen & Richard Meyer, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

La Maison Aubelle has been everything we’d hoped it would be and more. It has been the perfect base for our first exploration of the Loire Valley and has set a precedent that will be hard to beat. The comfort, the accommodation, the attention to detail and, above all, your warmth and hospitality have made this a most memorable break. Thank you.

Gillian, Geoff & Paula Caradoc-Davies, Cape Town, South Africa

The

Perfect find (see M below)

Montr

Euil-Bellay – charmant

 

Thanks for a wonderful holiday

 

Er, could you tell us? and you did

 

Reading – we did – heaven

 

 

Croissa

Ants, pains etc from the boulangerie

A

Ngers, and a tapestry to ‘inform the mind’

 

Dogs – dormant, but to be watched at all times, usually to be found
           under the table

 

 

 

Scrabble +++

M

Aison Aubelle

 

Lovely nails, meaning green to match the waterproof plaster

 

Lazing and swimming and restoration

Villandr

Y


Suzanna, David & Alessandra Hardman, London

Thank you so much for a superb week. This has been the most relaxing and enjoyable holiday we have had in nearly 30 years of marriage. We wish we had discovered you earlier.
You have a superb home and we look forward to joining you again (although the next time we will come for two weeks).

John & Catriona Stevenson, Trowbridge

Many thanks for a wonderfully relaxing holiday. We may not have been your quietest guests but we greatly appreciated everything on offer at Maison Aubelle. And Eleanor is braver about dogs now, too!

Christopher, Frances, Edmund & Eleanor Ramsey, Cambridge and London

Thank you for another wonderful stay and, although the weather was a little disappointing, your warm welcome more than compensated. The food was as excellent as ever and the jokes as “terrible” as we remember!!

Jan & Gerard McDonnell, Birkenhead, & Lesley Evans, Banbury

What can we say after 15 visits?

Marjory & Tony Elliott, Durham

A great week in idyllic surroundings and comfortable hospitality was spent at Maison Aubelle. The maison was everything we hoped for and Sally and Peter were fine hosts: always available for excellent information on the locale, and interesting conversations. We had a lovely time – thank you.

John Filmer & Lee Bresland, Sydney, Australia

A wonderful venue for part of our Golden Wedding celebrations. We loved the apartment and returning for a swim after an exhausting day of sight-seeing. We enjoyed your hospitality, Peter and Sally, and especially the tasty evening meals.

Roy & Beryl Andrews, Blisworth

Thank you, Sally and Peter, once again. Another enjoyable and ‘energetic’ break. Our very best wishes to you both, and Il Moro and Satchmo too.

Bruce & Joyce Guthrie, Barnard Castle

We are full of admiration for what you have achieved in designing and creating the wonderful living spaces at Maison Aubelle. But it is your hospitality and generosity that makes staying here very special indeed. Thank you for all you have done to give us such a relaxing and convivial three nights.

Tom & Polly Grundy, Wigan

Wonderful and restful week in all the apartments. Thank you so much for all your hospitality, especially the welcome and farewell drinks and also the very tasty dinner. A great base for so much to see, but a week is not sufficient time! A bientôt.

Mike Ward, Cogenhoe, and Glenys, Anne, Maria, Patricia, David, Geoff & John

Our third visit to Maison Aubelle has been fabulous! We enjoyed showing our friends around your area and everything lived up to our years of raving about how wonderful the food, company and accommodation is here.

Ross & Fran Smith, Meaford, Ontario, Canada

Thoroughly enjoyed our stay at your lovely home. Sally, your expertise in the kitchen was worth the calories, and Peter, your sense of humour was always spot on. Thank you both.

John & Pat Elder, Brooklin, Ontario, Canada

We have had a superb stay at Aubelle. Your hospitality, kindness and attention to detail has ‘made’ our short break here. The Stable and Coach House have been ideal for the G-Ps and us.

Henry & Janet Green, Farnham

We have enjoyed five lovely days in your château. Although in the former stables, they are simply the best stables ever. This is our third visit to the Loire and the area just grows on one every time.

Ian & Lorna Gascoigne-Pees, Farnham

Icelandic ash killed off Tenerife,
Phone call to Guy was such a relief.
Being booked in the tower for our stay,
Only to leave on Peter’s birthday.

The first of this year, we surely are,
And more will follow, from near and far.
If they enjoy it as much as we
Then they also will be full of glee.

The best alternative holiday ever!!!!

Tony & Joan Wallace and Brian & Brenda Swaine

I have heard so much about Maison Aubelle and I did wonder whether it could meet up with the “hype”. It did – and more!! Your generous hospitality and kindness are indeed legendary. I came here in need of a complete rest and I leave here not only rested but refreshed and ready for anything.
You have been excellent hosts and have been ably assisted by Il Moro and Satchmo – my second favourite dogs after Pip!
Thank you for sharing your home with us.

Lesley Evans, Banbury

We came to relax and relax we did! We just enjoyed: the Coach House, pool, games room, chess/draughts, dogs, Sally’s excellent food and first class hospitality. We have had fun, and for us this is what a holiday should be. It is on visits like this that dreams are kept alive. Alice – Thank you so much for making my 18th birthday fantastic! I will always remember it, and that lovely chocolate cake. Thank you for the wonderful meal and for your hospitality throughout the stay?

Jane, Graham, Alice & Jack Wheeler, Frodsham

Each year we arrive and it just gets better. We love the ambience here, the glorious food and fabulous weather (lots of sun even if it rains) – a bonus for us from the far North. It is a pleasure to just ‘be’ here and we always find something new to see or somewhere new to go.

Marjory & Tony Elliott, Durham

Sketch

                            Sketch by Aly and Emily

After spending the past few months studying for an exam, La Maison Aubelle and the fantastic surrounding area was the perfect place to unwind. Thanks for a lovely time.

Aly & Emily, Glasgow

Just what can we say? First of all, Sally, thank you for all the wonderful meals and my separate non-fish starters; your cooking is wonderful. Peter, you really are an exceptional host. Thank you so much for everything.

Wendy & Tony Squelch, Luton

Our second visit to Maison Aubelle has been as pleasurable as our first, perhaps more so with the additional facilities. The level of comfort has remained high and the gentle tranquillity of the place is very much appreciated. Satchmo and Il Moro have added a certain humour to our experience with their vague interest in the guests of the Maison and their summer languor.

Frances & Tony Stevenson, Hertford

Even when we contemplate “maybe not this year”, it doesn’t take much to change our minds. Really, summer wouldn’t be summer without a sojourn at Aubelle. We won’t mention which number visit this was in case anyone suspects us of being boring! Suffice to say we’ve had a lovely holiday with fantastic ‘postcard-blue’ skies. We’ve enjoyed visiting old haunts – our favourite salons de thé plus the shopping – and finding some new ones. The two-legs and four-legs are as charming and welcoming as ever. Food and wine get top marks – comme toujours. The only tinge of sadness is witnessing the ravages of time on the dashing Il Moro, so this week spent with him is special. Our love to you all.

Carole, Mike and Philippa Gillian, Pontefract

We have thoroughly enjoyed our week with you in fascinating surroundings. After 28 years, we were apprehensive about our first visit to France without our own apartment, but we have been very comfortable, able to relax, and happy. You have thought of everything a guest can reasonably expect, and more.
The weather was superb and we have enjoyed the pool. It is one of the best-maintained pools we have ever used, a credit to you, and much appreciated. Reading the visitors’ book, we realise we’ve missed a treat not dining with you; too late now!
Thank you.

Claire & Peter Wood, Dorset

Sally, Peter, Guy, Moro and Satchmo
Thanks for hosting us for a spectacular holiday. Maison Aubelle is ????? …
We appreciated your tips on what to see and especially where to dine.
How soon can we return?

Suzanne & Louis Blair, Rockbridge Baths, Virginia, USA

Sally & Peter
We have had a wonderful time here and with you. Your hospitality, help and good cheer will always be remembered. May your renewal of your new home be as splendid as La Maison Aubelle!
Many thanks.

David & Dougie Morris, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

We are so glad our friends Joan and Graham (June 2008) recommended that our return to France, after a 4-year gap, should be spent at La Maison Aubelle. We have been made to feel very welcome by our genial host, Peter, with his jokes, general bonhomie and super wine, filled to capacity by Sally’s lovely meals and directed to some interesting places to visit (the zoo at Doué la Fontaine, the gardens Parc Maupassant and many others).
Entertained and fussed over by Moro and Satchmo, who truly enhanced our visit.
As John, a reluctant traveller, said, “Ten days just isn’t long enough.”

Jean & John Sackfield, Thornton-le-Fylde

What can we say – Maison Aubelle (the Coach House) is a beautiful oasis of tranquillity. Our two weeks have whizzed by, we wish we could stay for two more! Thank you for your superb hospitality – two people in the right job!

Cathy & Des, Thames Ditton

What a place to spend our honeymoon, perfect ambience, amazing food, wine to die for and superb company from not only yourselves but the wonderful guests staying here as well.

Melanie & John, Sutton Coldfield

We are so glad that we made a return visit to Maison Aubelle. It was just as wonderful as we remembered. Thank you for your excellent hospitality.

Jan & Gerard McDonnell, Birkenhead

Thank you both so much for our lovely week. We have both enjoyed the relaxation and especially your company! Our meals have been brilliant and the introduction to your local wine superb!!! If you’re still here in a year or two we will return with our friends – they have seriously missed out!

Barry & Jacqui Pattenden

We have said it all before – the sun, the ambience, the dogs (Satchmo is so clever and Il Moro, what a gent). Sally and Peter, you work so hard to help us to relax, that’s why we keep on returning to La Maison Aubelle. We would find life less marvellous without our ‘French leave’. Thanks so much.

Marjory & Tony Elliott, Durham

Thank you for the lovely time at Maison Aubelle. Our week’s stay in the Stable has been wonderful. After visiting many châteaux in the area it was great to come back here and relax. We have many memories to take back to New Zealand.

Joyce & John Barnard, Tauranga, New Zealand

Wonderful house and gardens, great hospitality from Peter, Sally and the dogs. Great food and wine, and thanks for the day out at Le Puy.

June & Fenwick Foster, Co. Durham

Thank you for a fabulous week which we have all thoroughly enjoyed. Much to talk about, including some of the numerous highlights:
   Stunning hospitality
   Satchmo and Moro the entertainers and thieves
   Vintage car racing at Le Puy Notre Dame
   Shelter from the twister and the storm
   Plenty of laughs and good jokes
   The lettuce spinner
   Fantastic swimming
   Good fishing
   Perfect accommodation
   The naked chef!
   Moules
   and
   Lovely weather – thank you arranging that too!!

Richard, Joanne, Henry & George Stephens

A week already … I just don’t believe it! What a fabulous place to stay – wonderful food (thanks, Sally), great craic! (Peter, I reckon you kissed the Blarney Stone when you were in Ireland) and everything spotlessly clean and just right. Special thanks to Satchmo and Moro, who went out of their way to make sure their guests were never lonely.
What a pity to leave all this behind. At least we will have the fond memories and a new repertoire of Irish/Polish jokes!

Leo & Eileen Diamond, Portstewart, N. Ireland

For many years we have been holidaying in France, and for quite a few we looked at your ad in Chez Nous, but for some reason decided on other properties. WHY? Having made the decision to come here last year, we found it to be everything and more than was in the brochure and website. Sally, your food is excellent and I shall use the various recipes you gave me. Our Coach House apartment is superb, the grounds and pool are beautiful and Moro and Satchmo add their own special something. Two weeks have flown, the town and area are beautiful and La Maison Aubelle is truly a “one-off”. Thank you for everything.

Andrew, Helen & Kieran Gribben, Portadown, N. Ireland

Une autre année passée … The Loire ‘homecoming’ has once again worked its magic and we’ve had a wonderful week re-visiting old haunts and touching souls with our two-legged and four-legged friends. Just one problem: Carole has become rather besotted with Satchmo … it’s the eye contact. He has been perfectly behaved – not as black as he is painted! Moro – well, our love for him goes without saying.

Carole, Mike & Philippa Gillian, Pontefract

After a 3-year break when we were unable to travel abroad, it was just like coming home. Everything you did, hospitality, help, advice, company and food, was all that one could wish for on holiday. We have had a wonderful time with complete relaxation.

Jackie & Lionel Jones, Churchill

This was to be a short 3-day stay, visiting the châteaux and gardens of the Loire, at the start of a 2-week ‘tour’ of Western France.
When we found Maison Aubelle in Alistair Sawday’s guidebook, we liked the look of it so much that we decided to book a 6-day stay. Tomorrow we leave, most reluctantly, after 12 days of a relaxing and very enjoyable holiday – it says everything about how well looked after we have been.
Thank you for your hospitality, generosity, good company, local knowledge and delightful meals. Everything of the best! We are in awe of what you have achieved here. We are more than happy that our ‘tour’ started and ended in the Tour apartment – out very own château and garden. It has been home from home. Even the dogs gave us an unforgettable welcome and great entertainment – we will miss them too.

Joan & Graham Rogers, Worsley

Talk about pre-wedding panic! But we got the bride straight in the end, thanks to the Aubelle team: Sally, Peter, Satchmo and Moro. Thank you all for taking our minds off (specially you, Satchmo), finding us the perfect fairy tale venue, steadying our jangling nerves with fine wine and cuisine and, after the deed was done, the confetti scraped up and the bride and groom had disappeared into the sunset, tending to the remains of the exhausted wedding party! Our five days in the Maison Aubelle were summed up by mum: “It was like a dream.” THANK YOU!

Joanna & Alain Kurylo, Saumur

We are very happy we chose your ‘maison’ for our 40th wedding anniversary kick-off. A plan such as ours took much organising, and you helped us hold it together for our first week. Thank you for your hospitality and suggestions for places to visit.

Ann & Rod Elkin (+ 10 friends), Quebec

We came, we saw and we were conquered. Your instinctive hospitality and unfailing courtesy in this glorious setting made our stay memorable. It will always remain so. Satchmo and Moro played their part to perfection. Our love and thanks to you all. May peace go with you.

Patty & Dave Chatterjee, Otford

We were looking for a place to lay our heads in a small town in between visits to the vineyards and found the perfect place. Many thanks to you, Sally and Peter, for your hospitality, advice and help. We shall think of you often as we pop a cork from our Loire wines.

Caroline, Brian & Tom Bullock

We have thoroughly enjoyed our week in the lovely Tour apartment – our new home from home as we definitely plan to return. Many thanks, Peter and Sally, for having created the wonderful oasis that is the Maison Aubelle and, of course, for your excellent hospitality and Sally’s superb food. It was a delight meeting Il Moro and Satchmo – just as well, though, that the Super U sells such good shoelaces or, rather, Labrador dental floss!

Michelle & John Cain, Isle of Man

We were looking for a place to ‘chill’ and have certainly found it here. Perfect location, lovely village. Enjoyed visiting the wine caves and the Abbey. Seem to have spent the week eating and drinking (with the odd game of cards) but have enjoyed all the cuisine, especially the first night here. Friday market at Thouars, as you said, not to be missed.

Dorinda & Stephen Agassiz, Ann & Ian Snelling

We have had a truly relaxing and enjoyable holiday and your little personal touches made everything perfect. The suggestions and advice you gave helped to make journeying around the Loire trouble-free; the two weeks have flown by! When we drink our Crémant at home we will think fondly of Maison Aubelle.

Jan & Gerard McDonell, Birkenhead

We’ve had a memorable holiday. This has been our best accommodation to date and this is our 21st year of holidaying together! The quality of everything was outstanding, especially the beds, and we so enjoyed just relaxing around the grounds in this ‘secret garden’ and having Satchmo entertain us daily. Having everything so near was a bonus – the shops, the town, the château. The tour of the château was well worthwhile and we leave stacked with boxes of their wine.
The hospitality offered by Peter and Sally was so much appreciated. And we’ll never forget the exceptional 29th wedding anniversary meal served on the terrace – thank you so much.

David & Christine McCammond and Cyril & Elizabeth Campbell, Northern Ireland

Peter, Sally and dogs
Thank you very much for looking after us so well. We had a very relaxing time here – shame we did not make it two weeks. Thanks for all the suggestions, recommendations, jokes, stories, toe-licking …

Fi Agladious & Gill Hibberd, London

The Loire Valley is so beautiful; we have only scratched the surface of what there is to find here. Many thanks to you both for a memorable week at La Maison Aubelle. We have been most comfortable and have loved the delicious meals (Sally rules OK!) eaten on the terrace with convivial company.
Would love to stay and help clear up but … neige notre travail! (tr: ’s’no’ our job!)

Anne & Bob Drakeford, Wimbledon

This is our ninth visit. We think we’ve beaten them all except maybe for Charles and Lesley. However, we are drawn to your beautiful house in its lovely setting and it really is our summer home in our imagination. Your hospitality and comfort are unparalleled and so we will return next year to La Maison Aubelle.

Marjory & Tony Elliott, Durham

Tony & Marjory (see above) have told us so much about your establishment that we had to come and see for ourselves. They were right!
   Good food (very)
   Good wine (plenty)
   Good company
   GOOD HOLIDAY!!
You ticked all the boxes. The pig party was a bonus!

Joan & Tony Wallace, Durham

Where to start? We had a great time and really have been impressed by what you have accomplished – from the turret to the cellar and everything “in between”! The pictures of the restoration were amazing and the finished product is brilliant. Thank you again for your help and hospitality – especially the tips on places to visit and, of course, the translation and medical services rendered … a great souvenir and set of memories to take home with us. We wish you continued success and will recommend you to all back home.

Gordon & Rebecca Cross, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for a superb slice of scrumptiousness.

Leanne & Graham Brown, Sutton Coldfield

Chapter Six
On our sixth visit to ‘our summer residence’ in the Loire, la Tour wraps itself around us comme d’habitude and the welcome from the two-legs and the four-legs is, as always, extremely warm. Therefore:
   welcome 11/10
   comfort 11/10
   company 11/10
   food and wine 11/10
It has also been very special to meet the newest member of the Smith family, Satchmo, and watch his antics with Moro. Just one last thing – Flint … he will always occupy a little corner in all our hearts.

Carole, Mike & Philippa Gillian, Pontefract

Lovely house, lovely food and lovely hosts – what more is there to say! We really enjoyed our stay here. It lived up to all our expectations!
Many thanks!

Odile & Michael Ryan, London

La Maison Aubelle is more than just a place to stay. Peter and Sally make it a place that you will remember and return to. The pool, the food, the wine, but most of all the hospitality is second to none!

John & Theresa Frost, Surrey

A visit long overdue. Many thanks for making our 40th wedding anniversary a special day – and evening, as time wore on. Hospitality and comfort once again top class.

Ian & Elaine Valentine, Ayr

It’s a long way to come, but we return like homing pigeons, for it feels like coming home. Our fourth visit in five years and the hospitality is as wonderful as ever. Thank you, Sally and Peter, the comfort level at La Maison is five-star. Big hugs, too, for Il Moro and Satchmo.

Patrick Archer & Pamela Jackson, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Having looked back through this book I see that “B-J” has made four previous entries, so it is time I proved I can write!
Though this is the fifth entry, I think we have stayed six or seven times, all with different memories. Due to Peter’s enthusiasm as a host, many of these are alcoholic, from sharing a bottle at lunchtime to being introduced to épine, 66, which we still make from time to time, and many an aperitif on the delightful terrace.
Our thanks to Sally for all her culinary efforts and to you both for all the ‘extras’, such as searching for petrol during the strike of 2004.
PS: Senility has set in! I am reliably informed that the drink is “44”, not “66” – well, just how many coffee beans can you stuff in an orange anyway!

B-J and Nigel Smith, Tamworth

Thank you, Sally and Peter, for the wonderful two weeks we have spent in la Maison Aubelle. We are so incredibly relaxed, we know it is due to the gorgeous apartment, beautiful surroundings, Il Moro, of course, your superb hospitality and keeping us from too much homesickness on Christmas Day. Your meals, Sally, were beautiful, and it is obvious, Peter, you know how to keep your guests entertained with those jokes. I am sure Dennis has already written down the catch lines. We will definitely be back in another season to appreciate more of the Loire. Good luck with all your plans. You are wonderful hosts and we have had a tremendous time.

Gail & Dennis Ring (those Aussies), Springwood, Queensland, Australia

All I can say is that you lived up to your billing. The Stable was everything you would expect from a top hotel with the bonus of your wonderful hospitality and the company of the dogs.

Paul & Danielle Lelliott, Orpington

Five days, which passed much too quickly. You have created something very special and we are glad to have found it! A perfect blend of luxury and informality which we have loved.

Andy & Liz Gladin, Canterbury, Kent

What a fantastic few days we have had. A few of the highlights were wine tasting on day one, day two, day three and day four and, of course, the good company, wine in the evenings (lunchtimes and afternoons) and especially the home brew!

Charlotte Brownlee (née Ashby)

Thank you for a beautiful few days. You have an amazing house and a fantastic way of life. I hope in a few years time we can enjoy the finer things in life, such as sun, wine and fine food.
PS: If they need a local bobby, I’m your man!

Steven Brownlee

Thank you for a marvellous week in the sun, a welcome break from offices and airports. You’ve been fabulous hosts, and the tiniest details of La Maison Aubelle are a credit to you both. We’ve enjoyed everything about it, especially the pool and the dogs (!), and of course the taste of your underground hooch.

Andrew & Diane Hall, Twickenham

What can I write that would adequately describe our stay here?! The thing that saddens us is not being able to kidnap your dogs so that they could continue training us in ball retrieval!

David, Rachel, Michael and Max McFarlane, Stroud

Swimming with dogs beats swimming with dolphins any day. What a wonderful place, what a lovely relaxing holiday. Bliss on wheels – thanks.

Carolyn, Derek and Benjamin Connon, Swansea

Thanks for making our first holiday in France a magical one! The Coach House, the excellent food and all the lovely wine were all absolutely fantastic! Montreuil-Bellay is a wonderful historical town and Maison Aubelle is a credit to you both.

Mel & Dave, Lauren and Emily Russell, Mileham

Thank you for a wonderful week at La Maison Aubelle. We have enjoyed every minute of it, from the welcoming arrival, the beautiful apartment and the pleasantly heated pool. A special thank you to you both for making Hannah’s 14th birthday such a special occasion and one that we will not forget.

Paula, Gary, Laura and Hannah Nagel, Durham

The beauty of our surroundings, the superb cooking and the convivial atmosphere have all made for a wonderful holiday. You are truly wonderful hosts.

Sylvia, Alex and Rachel Hall, Isle of Man

If you’d been mean, miserable, stiff-necked hosts, we’d still have been impressed by the loveliness of La Maison Aubelle. As it is, you’ve given us a delightful, memorable holiday, thanks to your warmth and generosity and ready friendship. We’re so relaxed now I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to wind up!

Mandy Oates and Alan Hall, West Yorkshire

Thank you for a wonderful week: excellent accommodation, beautifully prepared and presented meals, superb hospitality. Your suggestions for restaurants – especially Trésor Belge – and for places to visit on cloudy days – were much appreciated.

John & Barbara Twiselton, Isle of Sheppey

We have been instructed by the parents (Charles and Lesley) to write something witty about this being their fifth visit to La Maison Aubelle. As you know, we never do what we’re told, so instead we would like to thank you for our wonderful holiday. We really enjoyed the food, wine, swimming pool, wine, good company, wine, sunshine and all the alcohol. The home-brew was also good.

Will and Karin Ashby

Dear Flint and Il Moro
When searching the web for that get away from it all location, your kennel just leapt off the screen as a must visit. On arrival, Peter came bounding to the door followed by much wagging of the tail and a much needed ice-cold beer. His vitality and enthusiasm chasing that rubber ball is a sight to behold! Sally’s assistance with French pronunciation, coupled with her truly memorable exploits in the kitchen have, I am afraid to say, meant that there were no dinner table scraps left over for the two of you this week. That said, you are truly the most spoilt dogs in France and have trained both Peter and Sally exceptionally well, but keep an eye on them as they both have infectious laughter. Disclaimer … names and numbers of paws may have become somewhat blurred!

Mark and Adrian, Pinner

2nd … oh dear! losing track of the days – says it all! 1st July 2006. Well, as you can see I’m so relaxed by the end of the week that I haven’t a clue what day it is … but that can only be good. Yet again we have loved every minute of our stay at Aubelle. The only trouble is that the week seems to get shorter each time, and as this is our fifth visit it didn’t last anywhere near long enough. We will be back (this may be regarded as a threat or a promise depending on your point of view!)

Carole, Mike and Philippa Gillian, Pontefract

Thank you so much for your wonderful welcome, yet again. We always look forward to visiting La Maison Aubelle and once more we can tick all the ‘excellent’ boxes.

BJ & Nigel Smith, Tamworth

What can we say but a huge thank you for a wonderful week. A special thank you for the special birthday ‘do’ for Gil. We were both overwhelmed by your tremendous effort to make it a memorable night for us. Good food, good wine and marvellous company. We will remember the laughter, the jokes, some good, some bad, but all very funny. You have been the perfect hosts.

Lee & Gil Hood, Trentham

Having stayed at La Maison Aubelle before, this visit was rather special – our daughter’s wedding. She wanted to marry in the Loire and, after discussing the process with Peter and Sally, they kindly agreed to organise the blessing in Montreuil-Bellay. Every aspect of the event – priest, chapel and its decoration, accommodation, catering, wine, florist, transport, etc – was covered and the organisation was superb. Forty guests came from Staffordshire and were most impressed; many said it was the best wedding they had ever attended. We could not have believed that the the whole day could have been so successful and memorable. Thank you, Peter and Sally, for your help and support.

Alan & Sheila Fernyhough, Stone

An absolutely enormous thank you from Darron and me for ensuring our blessing was an absolutely fabulous day to remember –the ambience, food, music, wine – we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

Debbie (ex-Fernyhough) & Darron Jones

Wow – what a place! Fantastic ambience, beautifully renovated house and amazing bed! Looks as though we’ll be back! Really enjoyed your company, Peter and Sally – many, many thanks.

Fiona & Roy Firth, Orkney

Where to begin? The wonderful accommodation. The generous and thoughtful hospitality. This beautiful part of the Loire Valley. We’ve enjoyed it all and are hugely grateful to you for making it such a memorable holiday. The first thing we did on arrival was have a drink with you on your sunny terrace. Many drinks and meals later – thank you Peter and Sally – we’re packing up to leave. Can’t wait to return.

Tim Newburn, London

We’ve all had a fabulous holiday. Thank you for your generous hospitality. We’ve loved it: food – especially the meal on the first night; wine – especially the drinks party for Lewis’s birthday; the house and garden – especially breakfast on the terrace; the town – especially Escalier Saint Pierre; the châteaux – Montreuil-Bellay takes some beating; the company – so many interesting agreeable people, and Stephen. It’s thanks to him that we booked in the first place. Next time we come I’ll beat Tim at chess …

Mary Newburn, London

Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us and for being the perfect hosts, It was a delight to wine and dine on your terrace in such a relaxing atmosphere and in such congenial company.

Neil, Sue & Jennie Bradley, Tamworth

Peter and Sally have an ordinary surname and an extraordinary home. We’ve been privileged to share it with them.

David & Poula Budge, Rickmansworth

We have enjoyed our time here very much; good company, good food, excellent accommodation and extremely kind hosts!! The dogs were wonderful company and all these components had the resulting effect of us having a tremendous holiday!! Thanks very much. Thanks very much.

Theresa & James Webster, Newton Mearns

There once was a kind host called Peter,
Who gave Mother wine by the litre
His wife was called Sally
A great cook – and pally
This couple could not have been sweeter!
(Sorry, nothing rhymes with Sally! Well, apart from pally) Thanks for a great holiday!

Beth Bradshaw, Leicester

Superb hosts
Pre-empting every need
Outstanding hospitality
Terrific accommodation
Total satisfaction
Exceptional home-cooking
Delightful dogs

Dedication to guests’ needs
Immaculate apartments
Comfy beds
Kind and thoughtful - Peter and Sally go out of their way to make this a home from home.

Molly, Ali & Phil (the steamed pudding lover) Richard, Chichester

“Tempus fugit” – but on a different scale in Maison Aubelle!

Rob Baker & Sue Fernando-Smith, Stoke on Trent

We challenge anybody to find a better place to stay in France with such wonderful hosts and accommodation.

Charles & Lesley Ashby, Bramber , Sandy & Jim Brady, Bognor Regis

A lovely break in a quaint French village with nice flat countryside for cycling! Ate and drank far too much but will remember our stay with great fondness.

John & Pam Spencer, Johannesburg

We have loved every minute – the house, the garden, the food, the wine, the company of our fellow guests and, of course, Sally and Peter, Flint and Il Moro. Normally after 10 or so days of holiday I start thinking of home, but here I just wish I could stay. Thank you for a wonderful holiday.

Stanley & Dorothy Menzies, Bramham

What is there left to say when it has all been said before (surely Carole is not bereft of words!) … well, I suppose a fourth visit is its own accolade. We’ve loved it as usual – two legs, four legs, food, wine … and not forgetting the entire ambience. Here’s to the next time.

Carole, Mike & Philippa Gillian, South Kirkby

For some months now we have been looking forward to our sejour at La Maison Aubelle. Our stay has fulfilled all our expectations. The accommodation, service and general ambience have been excellent. Thank you for your warm welcome and hospitality.

Audrey & Newton Henderson, Lenzie

Our third visit in three years and La Maison never disappoints. The relaxation it offers surpasses any spa. Peter and Sally are always wonderful hosts; it’s now like coming back to see old friends. The meals are wonderful, whether on the terrace or in the dining room, the accommodation is comfort-plus, and who can forget Il Moro and Flint? Such lovely animals. We look forward to our fourth visit.

Pat Archer & Pam Jackson, Coburg, Ontario

What a lovely place! With hospitality exceeded only by the taste (and humour) that attends it. With many thanks.

David & Gert Spring, Coburg, Ontario

Peter and Sally, You have achieved a miraculous restoration and we applaud you for it, but most of all your warm hospitality and professional treatment of us will be remembered always. Thank you for making our stay such a special experience.

Chris, Essie & Liezel Potgieter, Nigel, S. Africa & Gillingham

Bravo pour avoir si bien restauré la maison de notre enfance et merci pour votre accueil. Merci d’avoir accepté de recevoir notre petite famille dans la maison de leurs grands-parents. Souvenirs, souvenirs et émotion. Encore merci pour votre accueil.

Alain & Véronique Raimbault, Niort

Thank you for making Nick’s 60th so memorable, Wonderful food and lovely comfortable surroundings. A bientôt.

Ian & Isabelle Reeve, Dorset

Thank you for sharing your beautiful house with us. The food was wonderful, hospitality unsurpassed and the pool was bloody freezing! (it was April!)

Wayne & Emma, Dorset

If this is what happens to successful accountants then I need to come back for lessons! Hopefully in the cave!

Aidan Creeden, Dorset

From us, just a huge thank you!

Nick & Jenny Forbes, Bridport

A gastronomic, historic and social delight. Thank you both so much for your hospitality.

Daphne Barkworth, Eastbourne

Encore superbe!

Ian Ritchie, Uckfield

Horrendous weather; fortunately Sally, Peter, the apartment and other guests were not!

Jan & Merv De’Ath, Jersey

“Luxury” is a much used, and abused, word but not in the case of La Maison Aubelle. We admired everything about it: the layout, space, furnishings, craftsmanship, style and quality. Thank you for a wonderful, memorable week. You have done the most marvellous thing in restoring and modernising, in a thoroughly sympathetic way, the whole complex with fantastic vision and to the highest standards. And you were the most congenial and convivial host and hostess we could wish to meet; the dinners were hugely enjoyable and a wonderful way to meet and get to know your other guests in a real house-party way. As ever with holidays, we were unsure of exactly what we would find – we found a jewel, in a superb setting with lovely people. Thank you both and best wishes for the future.

Margaret & Brian Walmsley, Guildford

Many thanks for a great holiday. We did what we wanted and needed to do which was rest and relax. It’s the ideal place! Everything is exactly how you describe it – perfect.

Linda & Pip Knights, Market Harborough

Sometimes it can be a mistake to go back as a second visit doesn’t always live up to expectations. Not so with the Maison Aubelle!

Rosemary & Chris Wilder, Felixstowe

Peter and Sally remind us of swans – a calm and serene front of house but there must be some furious paddling behind the scenes – everything is wonderful and nothing is too much trouble.

Barbara & David Cansell, Warrington

We have enjoyed our stay at Maison Aubelle:-
   Fantastic château
   Outstanding house
   Really good dinner
   Great garden and pool
   Even better apartment
   Re---b-e elec---city?!
   Owners who enthuse
   No better holiday venue.

Hilary & Joe Clinch, Kent & Jim

(explanation: “Forgeron” = “Smith” in French – and we had a lightning strike just before this visit which meant that the electricity kept tripping out, until we realised what had happened and had it fixed!)

I particularly enjoyed being trained by the dogs to retrieve their ball from the pool for them! This is a great place for relaxing and getting away from it all – it is also a great place for expanding your waistline. The atmosphere here is second to none and I have to say this is one of the nicest spots we have vacationed in.

Judith & John Fowler, Swindon

Simply – absolutely fantastic! Many, many thanks Peter & Sally.

Mim & Richard Butler, Stockport

Wonderful stay for our wedding anniversary. Jardin apartment very pretty, enjoyed the pool and the dogs are wonderful (so are the hosts!)

Jackie & Martin Dawson, Jersey

Thank you for a relaxing and luxurious stay, from our drive through the gates to leaving. Your welcome made us feel so very special. The food, apartments and everything are beyond compare. A wonderful holiday.

Alison & Richard Hamer, Steyning

The dogs are really, really cute. Ruth Hamer

The dogs are so nice. Helen Hamer

How difficult! It has all been said before: A fine holiday in a superb location, topped off with splendid hosts. Au revoir.

Enid & Ken Hume, Stockport

To Peter and the mermaid –
Grand week, great company and a dedication to hospitality. Thanks for making our stay so enjoyable.

Annette & Eric Robson, Wasdale

Yet another wonderful holiday. We love it here and so keep returning!

Sue & Bryan Banks, Newport

We thought it was all lovely, but what made it really special was just how welcoming you both were, with a great celebration of our 4th wedding anniversary to remember.

Bel & Mike Garvey, London

Thank you so much for a wonderful stay and such a warm welcome. You have created a lovely house and we have enjoyed ourselves tremendously. We will definitely be back!

Tracie & Tony Byrne, Market Harborough

Delightful house: great food and a gracious welcome – a veritable oasis! We’ll be back!

Mary & Terry Ringland, Co. Down

We love to discover something new on each holiday – to find a wee treasure – and we have done just that!

Julie & Robert Winter, Bingley

Rarely does a week fly by so quickly – fine food, good wine, good company … we’ll have to come back for more. Merci bien, et à la prochaine!

Michelle Gillian & Al Tasker, Manchester

C’est très difficile à trouver des nouvelles choses à dire quand nous l’avons dit tous dans les ans precedents (improving, or what? … if it’s correct the wine helped, if not, the wine was obviously a hindrance) but our third visit has lived up to all our expectations and it has been extra special to be ‘en famille’ this time. We hope to return … providing you will have us!

Carole, Mike & Philippa Gillian, Pontefract

Who ever said that accountants are boring?! No one who is boring could have created this idyllic haven. Peter and Sally make a great team with fabulous ambience, bonhomie, superb food.

Jenny & Geoff Winn (he’s an accountant!), Scarborough

After 15 years of visiting France we have finally found a piece of real France at last.

Moyra & Alex Harvey, Peterhead

Just the ideal spot for a bit of rest and relaxation after the excitement of Le Mans. Will miss our morning treat from the cakie shop, but suspect our waistlines will be grateful! La Maison Aubelle was just the sort of comfort we were looking for – so good that I would send my mother.

Liz & Struan Robertson, Embo

We came all the way from Canada for our second visit here and it is every bit as wonderful as we remembered from two years ago.

Patrick Archer & Pam Jackson, Cobourg, Ontario

From the time we arrived, when Peter said, "come and have a glass of wine", we knew we'd struck gold. One of the best weeks we have spent in almost fifty years of visiting France.

Mary & Ivor Marsh, Chumleigh, Devon

The beauty of the countryside, wonderful accommodation, Sally's superb cooking and Peter's sense of humour all contribute to a memorable holiday.

Pam & Ted Bishop, Toronto

….and in consideration of subsequent guests we did not completely empty your cellar.

Joyce & Gordon Hayes, Fenelon Falls, Ontario

What is best about the Maison Aubelle? The accommodation, the company, the food or the wine? It's a very close run decision; we truly enjoyed every aspect.

Pam & John Stevens, Havant

We had a wonderful time. Thank you for sharing your piece of heaven with us. Sharing two bottles of champagne on a warm afternoon in a beautiful garden in France with good company is a great way to rejuvenate.

Lori & Brian Simpson, Niagara on the Lake, Ontario

The Maison Aubelle was the greatest hotel I have ever stayed in. Thank you very much.

Adam Simpson (aged 12)

Your home is an absolute credit to you both and your warmth and hospitality were appreciated by all of us.

Ken & Maggi, Matt and Dave Kirkham, Neutral Bay, Australia

La Maison Aubelle is one of those rare holiday finds.

Barbara & Peter Clarke, Heswall

I cannot think of anything flattering to say about La Maison Aubelle that will not have been said hundreds of times by other visitors. But a few are certainly worth repeating: hospitality, thoughtfulness, good food and wine and the charming ability of Peter and Sally to make one feel so relaxed and "at home." The house has been restored with love - and it shows. Thank you very much.

Tom Hunt, Constable Burton

I congratulate you in achieving the perfect balance between preserving the historic ambience of La Maison Aubelle and providing total comfort.

Joan Mallett, London

Gracious town, gracious Maison Aubelle and very gracious hosts.

Gloria & Eddy Jupp, Sussex

Thank you for organising the reception with the Mayor of Montreuil-Bellay, a truly wonderful touch!

Lesley & Charles Ashby, Bramber

Why buy a house in France when you can stay somewhere like this? What surprise will the cellar hold for us next time!!

Jen & Nick Forbes, Dorset

The welcome apartment, food and wine were all wonderful - not to mention Flint and Moro, who are surely the most laid back dogs in the world.

Margaret, Steve & Jess Denton, Northwich

We have really enjoyed all the special touches around the apartments that make the days good fun, hassle-free and easy to appreciate. So much to see too, round and about, and the local people are so friendly.

the Halls tribe, Tunbridge Wells

I've had a thoroughly enjoyable week at La Maison Aubelle. The house and grounds are fantastic and in a beautiful part of France. Thank you very much for your warm hospitality, Peter and Sally.

Kathryn Geekie, London

The week has flown by - it has been more like holidaying with friends than hiring an apartment.

Margaret & Alan Martin, Wokingham

A week has simply not been long enough. We have had a wonderful time and sincerely appreciate your kindness and hospitality.

Irene & Ian Bell, BFPO 40

Before coming here in 2001 we had never returned to previous holiday accommodation. This is our third successive year here - what more can we say?

Anne & Keith Cleaver, Chester-le-Street

We knew we were going to have a great holiday when you greeted us with a bottle of wine!

Sheila, Ian & Siân Thomas

The Internet has a lot to answer for - without it we would not have found you. La Maison Aubelle was beyond our expectations, everything anyone could ask for.

Glennis & Pete Wyman and Patti & Mike Hill, Salisbury

Hated every minute of it. Hope to hate it again next year.

Jane Marriot & Brian Dawson, Atherstone

Many thanks for such an enjoyable and relaxing fortnight. The accommodation was excellent, the cooking superb and your hospitality and company delightful.

Celia, Paul & David Hughes, Cuckfield

Good evening, Montreuil-Bellay. The votes from the Manchester jury are as follows:
accommodation
Sally's cooking
fine wine
friendliness
helpfulness
DIX POINTS

Shelagh Maye & Pete Crowther, Heywood

The warmth of your hospitality and charm of the wonderful Maison Aubelle have been an absolute delight.

Catherine Neagle, John Constable & Natalie Neagle, Haslemere

A second visit to La Maison Aubelle reinforced all the superb impressions first gained in August 2001. We have again enjoyed a lovely holiday but with the added benefit of the excellent pool - and how very kind you were to us on our wedding anniversary.

Jenny & John Underhill, Marlborough

Your hospitality has been second to none. The restoration of the house is a masterpiece.

Margo & Jim Wallace, Dunoon

Peter and Sally's warmth, hospitality and entertaining insight into all things local makes for the most enjoyable holiday. La Maison Aubelle is "parfaite" in every way.

Andrea Johns & Kevin Lamey, Essex

We will have great memories of a relaxing week full of good food, wine and fun.

Claire & Eugene O'Brien, Partridge Green

Your old friends are immensely proud of you and your achievements. Having seen La Maison Aubelle in its early stages of restoration, each subsequent visit leaves us more and more amazed. Congratulations to you both, and long may La Maison Aubelle continue to give pleasure to your guests. As usual, we've had a wonderful time.
PS: And thanks to Flint and Moro for the cabaret!

Beryl & Mike Parry, Wavre, Belgium

We thought we would go and discover pastures new this year, but the lure of Aubelle was too much for us and we are very glad we succumbed. It was so good to meet our old friends - 2 legs and 4 - and make new ones too.

Carole, Mike & Philippa Gillian, Pontefract

Another superb holiday, thanks to Sally and Peter. It's as if you are at home with best friends, but with the sun and a magnificent choice of food and wine.

Jackie Clark & Lionel Jones, Churchill

We're really glad we chose to stay here. You have done a fantastic job with restoring the property - we think it's stunning - and you have also chosen to live in a lovely town.

Sue & Andy Beveridge

It has been a truly special week for the four of us. We have not all been together for over a year now and our week in the Loire was just perfect, helped of course by your magnificent hospitality and amazing, no, extraordinary house. Tim has been able to run along rivers (mad, but it's what he does!), Mrs Baird has been able to get excited about the local architecture and take lots of door photos, Mr Baird has particularly enjoyed the wine tasting, needing no encouragement from Peter (!) and I've just soaked it all up before the birth of 'the kid'.

Susan, Tim, Jan & Richard Baird, England & Australia

I love your passion for all things that are nice.

Liz & Vance Pimperton, Scarborough

A truly memorable time. New Year's Eve was exceptional - fantastic food and glorious wines with fireworks and bells to welcome in the year. Oysters and black velvet on 1st January to complete the celebrations! All wonderful! You are fabulous hosts and work so hard on behalf of your guests. Thank you.

Kate & Andrew Richards and Diane Pascoe & Michael Seagram, Maidenhead

After having heard all the rave reviews from the relatives in Canada, it was great to experience La Maison Aubelle first hand. It certainly has lived up to its reputation!

Michelle & Steve Gauder, Toronto

Previous testimonies bear out the fact that Peter and Sally are very special people in a very special setting.

Les & Liz Canning, Warrington

We have been here for almost three weeks now, and we can truly say that it feels like a home away from home! Tickets arranged for football matches, e-mails delivered under the door, directions and advice freely given - nothing seems too much for La Maison Aubelle.

Sheila & Ray Taylor, Kanata, Ottawa

Chers Sally et Peter
We thought our first visit was perfect but this one was even better.

Fran, Ross & Lance Smith, Meaford & Toronto

Fabulous new apartments - we could easily live here permanently!

Helen Harrison & Gerald Titton, Horsted Keynes

Thank you for a magical week.

Pam Jackson and Pat Archer, Cobourg, Ontario

Everything was absolutely brilliant and the holiday was made complete by your attention and kindness. It would not be possible to find a more comfortable gîte in the whole of France.

Jan & Bill Lewis and Nan & Ken Matthews, Wales

What a fantastic base to explore this wonderfully plentiful part of France, vineyards, vineyards, vineyards!! I hope they let us on the ferry!

Adèle & Colin Abel, Twickenham

Thank you for a wonderful holiday and for allowing us to share your home with you. We have felt like part of the family.
The house is perfect and your hospitality extraordinary. We have very much enjoyed dining with you and the other guests … the fact that you take Tuesday and Thursday evenings off is unnecessary and quite frankly selfish!!!! However, we will endure it if we must and look forward to further visits.

Kathleen, Fred & Alison Smith, Wigan

The stables were everything we imagined they would be. We wanted a relaxing week away from it all and we certainly got it. I hope the dogs get some rest next week!!

David, Alison, Hannah & Katy Rode, Darlington

I wrote last year that we would be back to monitor developments, never expecting to be the first to stay in the Stable. The refurbishment is stunning. Congratulations.

Anne & Keith Cleaver, Durham

We knew we had found the perfect place when our two teenagers asked us to book for next year within 30 minutes of our arrival! A l'année prochaine!

Jackie, John, Oliver & Charlotte Butterwick, Tadcaster

Best accommodation we have ever had in a gite - loved the dishwasher!

Karen & Keith Morris, Stoke on Trent

How can the unsurpassable be described!

Marjory & Tony Elliott, Durham

Lang may your lum reek.

Elizabeth & Nairn Hunter, Saltcoats

Thank you for having nice holiday potential because I think we filled all of it.

Siân Beynon (19), York

'Twas in a place called Montreuil-Bellay
We first met Peter and Sallay!
The food and the wine
Were oh so divine.
So sayeth Diane and Ray

Diane & Ray Donnan, Eire

We felt more like friends than paying guests.

Rosemary & Chris Wilder, Felixstowe

Each day, after seeing the glories of the Loire, we could look forward to returning to your beautiful corner of Montreuil-Bellay, which you made us feel was ours, too.

Mary McKenzie & Peter MacDonald, Toronto

A little bit of heaven in a lovely part of the world.

Morag & Bruce Anderson, Scotland

Superb accommodation with the best level of equipment we have ever experienced. We received a very warm and friendly welcome and the hospitality throughout was of the highest order. Excellent food and wine.

Betty & Derek Mattinson, Silsoe

…the hospitality received from both the two-legs and the four-legs was truly memorable.

Carole, Mike and Philippa Gillian, Pontefract

La Maison Aubelle proved to be a charming discovery for us. Your exquisite home set in a lovely city and environs, wonderful dinners and hospitality, but most of all charming and vibrant hosts, helped us discover and appreciate the Loire Valley.

Maureen & Tom Moakley, Rhode Island

I would recommend all my "depressed" clients to come here but that would probably do me out of a lot of business.

Irving (& Moira) McLeod, Gateshead

We didn't know having fun could be so easy!

Ilona Blue & Rob Nicholls, London

Paradise indeed!

Lynne & Nick Hubbard, Southfields

Having given up alcohol for Lent, we could not have picked a better place to spend Easter!

Martin & Paul, London

Our visit to the Loire has exceeded all our expectations. Now we have two compelling reasons to return. One is the simple beauty and history of the Loire Valley. The other is the opportunity you have generously given us to experience all that you have perfectly restored and created at the exquisite Maison Aubelle.

The zoo was a 10. I liked the snakes.

I liked the zoo a lot too, but what I really enjoyed was the outdoor chess, and Flint and Moro. They were so fun to play with.

Rosemary, Jonathan, Eliza & Jake Movsom-Crose, Providence, Rhode Island

Thank you for your detailed hospitality and food. Especially remembered will be the Christmas dinner and wines.

Our praises only echo those before us. Thank you for making our family feel so welcome - and for all the useful tips to make this trip so memorable.

What a superb week - formidable! The hospitality is beyond belief - the wine is the icing on the cake of the cuisine.

Montreuil-Bellay is probably the most attractive small town we know and La Maison Aubelle is the jewel in the crown.

We have stayed in good places and bad places in France - but this is the very best.

Sally & Peter, Mission accomplished!

Greater than all our expectations - especially the hosts.

Wonderful holiday, wonderful hosts, superb house and wonderful secrets below...

We much prefer self-catering La Maison Aubelle way, where the dishwasher serves only to remind you that you can rough it if you really want to!

Annie and I have travelled far and wide and we have never been in a place where time magically stops and where peace and tranquility reign.

5-star accommodation and 10-star company!

Now we've returned and I think we did stay with good, comfortable friends. The pool is a brilliant addition. There is one huge problem with staying here though - everywhere else we've stayed in Europe has been shabby by comparison!

Fantastic is an understatement!

A thoroughly enjoyable vacation enhanced by your cuisine, your good humour and tolerance for two old crocks!

All experiences are worth having, but some are undoubtedly more special than others.

It's just wonderful to share in your dreams.

The formula is perfect.

A wonderful house in a wonderful part of France. It did the trick for us: relaxed and ready to face real life again.

We leave with regret but with hope that our livers and waistlines may recover in time.

Thank God I was able to chill out at last!

Food wonderful - and wine - and dogs!

Staying here was like visiting two comfortable old friends.

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