Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Two nights in a sheep pen

After our visit to Obernai, our first day in the Alsace was slowly drawing to an end. We were happy to find that ‘Mauricette’, our GPS, had no trouble finding the secluded village of Hipsheim, where we were to spend two nights at a Chambre d’hôtes called ‘la Moutonneraie Fleurie’ (the flowery sheep pen!).

Arriving at the main gate of the Moutonneraie, we found it locked. Even after ringing the bell twice, nothing happened. A sidegate was unlocked though and we ventured in. I felt slightly uncomfortable as I expected we’d soon find ourselves eye to eye with a large barking and growling dog* that was protecting the premises against unwelcome intruders. These large places in the country often have one or two dogs running around just for that purpose.

After ringing the doorbell, we heard someone stumbling around but no barking dog. What a relieve! Yet, there still was no answer. We walked to the back of the main house, which was separated from the annex by a covered passage way. In between the two buildings lay a swimming pool.

There were three cars parked at the back of the house and behind one of the windows someone was definitely moving around. At last a young boy of about 13 came out of the back door. He explained that his father was busy welcoming some other guests that had arrived a few minutes before us. He showed us the way into the annex where we were warmly greeted by the father. Like the main house, the annex was brand new and spotless. In the central room were three doors that opened into spacious and bright bedrooms. Our room was called ‘le Bleuets’ (the cornflowers). The decoration was mainly white and blue with corn coloured accessories.

The window and glass door offered a fantastic view on the fields, over which dark clouds were gathering. The bathroom had a large walk-in shower with a powerful showerhead.

As the other couple was going out for dinner, we had the central room – with bar, dining table and comfortable chairs - all to ourselves. We laid out our picnic on the table by the window and enjoyed a pleasant evening eating, drinking our Loire Valley wine and listening to sixties-seventies music that was being broadcasted by a local radio station. Being close to the German border, the program and music were mixed French, German and some English. People in the Alsace are fluent in French and German, and easily switch from one language to the other.

Evening sky after the thunderstorm.

While we were having our picnic dinner, the dark sky outside was suddenly lit up by a bold of lightening. Then came the thunder and the rain. It was almost dark by the time the thunderstorm had stopped. We went out for a breath of fresh air and saw some storks hovering over and landing in the nearby field. They never came close enough, however, to get a good photo of them.

The next morning we had breakfast in the conservatory of the main house. There were different types of baguette, brioches, croissants, cheese, smoked sausage, jam, honey and yoghurt … and coffee/tea/hot chocolate and orange juice of course. The landlord made sure that we had everything we wanted and stayed chatting with us all through breakfast.

By 9.30 a.m. we were ready for our daily excursion, which will be the topic of a separate post. We returned to the Moutonneraie at about 6 p.m. Another couple from Paris arrived around 8 p.m. Like our other neighbours, they went out for dinner, and once again, we had the place to ourselves. We spent another lovely evening on our own … making ample use of the dining room and other facilities. With outdoor evening temperatures around 12°C, we never got to use the swimming pool, though.

The next morning we woke up to a clear bleu sky with some light mist floating over the fields. Sunday promised to be a beautiful day …

P.S. There was a dog after all, but it was a friendly midget greyhound … nothing to be afraid of!

La Moutonneraie Fleurie
9, rue des Prés
67150 Hipsheim
Tel. : +33(0)3-88-64-94-28



Jean said...

Lovely photos and a lovely place to stay. We spent a week in Alsace a few years ago and I remember how pretty the villages were.

ladybird said...

Jean, The B&B was one of the best we've been to over the last two years. We enjoyed every minute of our stay. Martine

Anonymous said...

Was it clean and warm? I was thinking of a long stay there. Was the bedding comfortable?
Anything better you have heard of in the Strasbg area? Any noise?

ladybird said...

Hi Carmen, Welcome and thank you for showing an interest in my blog.

The 'sheep pen' was perfect. The place is very clean and almost brand new! The beds are very comfortable and the views are stunning. Every room has a private terrace with a lovely view on the countryside. The design bathroom has a large walk-in shower and soft towels.

It's peaceful and calm and sometimes you can see storks foraging in the nearby fields. Breakfast is delicious and the family is very hospitable.

Oh, did I mention the private swimming pool?! I highly recommend this B and B. To me, it's one of the best in the area. I hope you will enjoy your stay!

Carmen said...

Thanks! I will call them and make a reservation. It looks good on the photos, but one really needs an experimented traveler's advice sur le terrain