I ended up at the Grand Hotel de l’Abbaye by accident.
It was September in the Loire Valley and I had been cycling the famous Loire a Velo cycle route, making my way slowly across France on two wheels. Every day was a riot of castles, boulangeries, sore muscles, and rolling vineyards. Every night a new restaurant. Every morning, breakfast in another hotel dining room or nearby pastry shop.
On the morning of my happy accident, I’d just left nearby Meung-sur-Loire. I’d secured my dog, Luna, in the bike basket, hopped onto my vintage Swiss military cycle, and slid back onto the familiar cycle trail.
Less than half an hour into my ride, the harmless-looking white clouds churned and darkened and released a torrent. Not just rain but drenching rain. The kind of rain that splashed up into my rain gear and soaked Luna through hers.
Should I turn back or move forward? I hid in a bus shelter and checked the map.
Beaugency was just as close as the town I’d left behind, and so I pressed on until I saw an old stone abbey looming along the riverbanks and I knew it must be a hotel. Hopefully one with a room to spare.
And so it was.
Luna and I waited in a plush chair in the bar, a cup of coffee warming my hands, as the hotel graciously prepared a room for early check-in so that I could dry off and freshen up. Less than an hour later, we were led up the old stone steps, worn down in the middle from hundreds of years of footsteps, and into a lofty, lushly red room with an enormous bed and an almost equally enormous bathtub.
The rest of the day was hot baths and trips into town between rainstorms. Laundry, because my cycling clothes were soaked and covered in mud, and a just fine dinner in town that isn’t worth writing about here.
But even better than long baths and luxe furnishings and a bed that made my aching muscles sigh with relief was the breakfast.
Breakfast at the Grand Hotel de l’Abbaye
As it turns out, the Grand Hotel de l’Abbaye has a very special breakfast that aligns with its history as an abbey. Instead of a typical buffet or a choice of egg dishes, the hotel serves up an extensive buffet of products made by monks and nuns throughout France.
There are piles of fresh breads and baked goods, fruit preserves and spreads, mueslis, eggs, and so much more. Every single thing I tasted (and you can bet I tasted a little of everything) was exceptional. It was very clear to me that everything had been prepared with the utmost respect and care, by the hands of people unrushed.
The hotel offers breakfast to both guests and non-guests alike, so even if you aren’t staying here (but, oh, you should), you can still take part in this meditative meal. It costs 16 euros per adult and 10 euros per child under 12.
Address: 2 Quai de l’Abbaye, Beaugency
Phone: +33 23 84 510 10
Price range: Rooms start around 59 euros per night.
This B&B is dog-friendly.
What to do in Beaugency (when you’re not eating)
The Loire a Velo – a picturesque cycle trail that winds across the entire Loire Valley – passes through here. Even if you aren’t up for a multi-day cycle across the whole thing, it’s a lovely route to do even a piece of.
For those who prefer car or train travel, you’re day trip distance from two of my favorite French castles: Château de Sully and Château d’Azay-le-Rideau.