One of my favorite spots outside Paris is this 12th century Cistercian abbey (founded in 1118) located in the village of Cernay-la-ville in the Yvelines Departement of the Ile -de-France (about 30 miles west of Paris).
Now a luxury hotel in the Rambouillet Forest region with 60 guest rooms and The Prior's Table Restaurant, it is a scrumptiously decadent place to have lunch, tea or simply walk the lush grounds. Join me for a quick tour!
From the parking lot we enter through here.....
...and are greeted under these divine gothic archways.
The walls of the entryway are playfully adorned
with vibrantly-colored knights and damsels.
La Table du Prieur Restaurant menu has several price-fixed options to choose from (The Conver's Menu~50 euros, The Prior's Menu~60 euros and the Pére Abbé Menu~88 euros)
each designed and attended to by Chef Xavier Désiré (gotta love the name!)
One of the sites of my novel in progress (as well as one of my short stories), my protagonist is having lunch here
when her future date arrives in a helicopter on the lawn.
After lunch, dessert and coffee are served in the Music Salon and Smoking Room
Where one can sit by the fire
while spooning tasty French desserts and sipping one of these libations.
If curious, (like I was) the guest rooms rest above this stairway.
Restroom at the base of the stairs. (I snuck upstairs on my trip to the restroom to see if any maids were cleaning rooms and sure enough, found a door open where I could peek in to see the lovely accomodations!)
After filling one's self beyond capacity, a walk around the grounds and the lake aids digestion and fills the soul.
A visit to the cathedral ruins inspires awe and the informative plaques piece together the history of this magical place.
Now you have some idea why I have returned here more than once (literally) and haunted the abbaye and grounds in my fiction (and fantasy)! Can you not picture your life here during another time and slice of reality?!
Visit their website at http://www.abbayedecernay.com/ for more photos and information as well as a true virtual tour.
Photographs copyright: Kirsten Steen