Le Bois des Chambres, a hotel of arts and nature
A stone’s throw from the Domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire, Le Bois des Chambres enjoys the full benefit of its unsurpassed knowhow. It was envisioned and designed in osmosis with the estate, and is imbued with the same spirit and expertise. Combining simplicity with charm and authenticity of forms, atmospheres and flavours, it prolongs the convivial experience that characterises the site as a whole, along with its taste for gardens and creation. When Patrick Bouchain and Loïc Julienne designed the hotel, they did so in full respect of the existing environment, where art meets nature. Resulting from the restoration of a former farm alongside contemporary architectural creation, the hotel comprises 39 rooms, a restaurant with seating for 50 diners and a terrace giving onto a pond, and two multi-purpose areas for hosting seminars and meetings. Poetic and resolutely unconventional, the hotel encourages reading, cultural discovery and exchanges, resisting any temptation to standardise emotions and sensations. There’s no point in looking for a television in the rooms. There aren’t any!
The choice of human-scale architecture
Originally entitled “Une chambre au jardin”, the project designed for the Domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire is provided with an outstanding, demanding and unfailingly generous context: the Domain and its unique poetic world, which includes the Ferme Queneau. A landscape within a landscape, it makes its setting’s lines of force its own in order to accompany walkers from the hotel to the Domain.
Gardens in the garden
The hotel’s many gardens are long and narrow, as if resulting from successive divisions of a piece of farmland. Bordered by hedges or rows of espaliered trees, they open up pathways leading to the heart of the farm itself, hiding a car park here, accommodating an orchard there, sometimes tracing market garden furrows, and elsewhere providing fields of flowers or aromatic plants. A layout that guides our eyes, leading them from one surprise to another in a never-ending series of twists, turns and contrasts.
Getting about in the garden
In the project, everything goes by way of the gardens. From their car to reception, from reception to the restaurant, from the restaurant to the rooms, and sometimes from the rooms to their beds, guests go via the garden. A requirement that confers a stay here with its own special poetry, in permanent contact with nature. Umbrella when it rains, overcoat when it freezes and parasol under the summer sun are all part of the landscape.
A farm in the garden
The former farmhouse buildings bear witness to a way of life in harmony with the regional environment: their frameworks have been put to rights, collapsed walls rebuilt, dirt floors relaid, fireplaces put back into service and the barns’ windows unostentatiously restored. No insulation or heating has been included to detract from a form of architecture so close to nature. Only subdued lighting so as to enable cultural activities to be held in them in the high season.
Rooms in the garden
Rooms are located in new structures that duplicate the former farmhouse buildings like drop shadows, with the same patterns and orientations. The new buildings are constructed out of timber frames insulated with straw and covered with large tiles, with the wooden volumes created by box-beds protruding from their facades. These alcoves form outgrowths in the gardens, sometimes even disengaging themselves entirely from the main architecture and locating on the grass.
A restaurant in the garden
The farmhouse itself has given way to a restaurant providing diners with a series of areas to choose from, opening onto the terrace and its willow pond, the farmyard or the aromatic plant garden. The building has a metal framework and its roof, in the form of a great-petalled flower, is thatched. A rotisserie has been installed in the imposing fireplace, while the small barn behind the restaurant houses the kitchen, bakery and storage rooms…
Comfort in the garden
Comfort is provided first and foremost by the duvets or eiderdowns that make each bed so warmly welcoming. Heating is supplied by a wood-pellet-fired biomass boiler that distributes hot water to the rooms’ radiators and the restaurant’s heated floors. Although the barns are not insulated or heated, rooms are located in structures with reinforced thermal insulation. Opening their windows is enough to ensure comfort in the summertime.