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What makes the allure of a place? As with culinary matters, the right ingredients alone are often not enough to create magic. You must go beyond the recipe for the result to live up to the promise. You have to add passion and patience, fantasy and perhaps a touch of madness. It seems that La Lochetière is privy to this secret - a taste of a trip here will leave you wanting more. The surrounding countryside, the proximity of the forest, and the silence of nature of course play their part in the property's charm; but the layout of the houses, the care given to every detail, and the choice of furniture only amplify the desire to settle in and forget that you will ever have to leave. That's when you know there is magic at play.
My husband is originally from Perche, so when we were looking for a second home we were naturally drawn to his native region as it was not far from Western Paris where we were living at the time. For him, it was a homecoming, for me, a love story. I fell in love with this authentic and extraordinary region less than two hours from Paris. With unspoiled nature, hills, forests for as far as the eye can see, lakes, a heritage with extraordinary buildings, and generous gastronomy with excellent local producers, Perche has everything I love. I became such a fervent ambassador that I even created a blog about the region and collaborated with a local tourist magazine to share my Percheron favourites.
The property is an old farmhouse with outbuildings dating from the 18th century. It is surrounded by a seven-hectare park and located on the edge of the Perche-Trappe forest which brings freshness and silence to the surroundings. The main house is where we live. In a farmhouse, we have installed a spa and wellness area with a sauna and massage suites. A few metres away is the guest house, bathed in light that pours through the two large bay windows which create the impression of being immersed in nature. The farm's former bread oven has been transformed into a tiny house which serves as a guest house. Several hundred-year-old trees watch over the property, including a remarkable pedunculate oak which is around five hundred years old.
La Lochetière takes its name from the loach, a large wooden pole that was once used to "loch the apples" (in other words, to shake the branches and make the fruit fall). It seems it was an important farm for its time because, in addition to the buildings used, it had two bread ovens, a well, a fish pond, and a stable that we have left in its original state. When we bought the property in 2005, it hadn't been occupied since 1962 and had no electricity, running water, or windows. It was a sleeping beauty just waiting to be awoken and it it took ten years of work before we could finally unveil it. We have completely restored it with the collaboration of remarkable craftsmen who only work on Percheron buildings, and we continue to enhance this beautiful building.
Staying with us is an experience of sharing and conviviality. "There are no strangers here, only friends we haven't met yet!" is the motto we live by. In addition to the natural environment and beautiful rooms, La Lochetière offers a spa area bathed in light with a direct view of the meadows where our Percheron mares graze, and a low-key, mineral well-being area with an infrared sauna and massages by two talented professionals on offer. Also available are electric bikes that can be hired with an itinerary and a packed lunch, and a petanque court for enthusiasts. We have a Percheron stud farm where ethology or equi-coaching sessions can be reserved. Instead of one large table, we have set out smaller ones that are conducive to privacy and moments of intimacy accompanied by dishes made with fresh, local and homemade products. Our wine list has been developed with Marco Desrosiers, an independent sommelier, and we honour independent winemakers and winegrowers. Our breakfasts are more like hearty brunches. Several times a year, we offer themed weekends on topics such as yoga and pilates, mushrooms, feminine healing, and floral decoration for a magical Christmas. The atmosphere here is friendly and generous, guests stay with us in our family home.
As an ambassador of Perche, I can create tailor-made itineraries filled with hidden gems. The cloister with the Chapel of Clarisses in Mortagne-au-Perche, for example, is a place that is often carefully avoided because it is located within the grounds of a hospital. The source of the Sarthe in the middle of the forest of Perche-Trappe, and the chapel of Réveillon with its sublime mural frescoes are also worth a visit. My blog "A weekend in the Perche" has allowed me to meet many locals and I am able to show guests around places that are normally closed to the public. Of note are Emily and Yann in Mortagne where I buy my fruit, vegetables, delicatessen products and cheese (including Le Petit Percheron, cider-ripened cow's cheese and organic camembert from the Champ-Secret farm). The Cadres Noirs Percherons honey is harvested by Patrick Cholet, an exceptional beekeeper located in Bellême who is official supplier to a number of large Michelin-starred restaurants. Organic cider and calvados cream come from La Galotière in the neighbouring Pays d'Auge. I can also tell you about little-known factory outlets such as Cires Trudon which sells exceptional candles, or the Matfer store which sells professional culinary equipment and also organises flea market tours, bike rides and walks. Deciding what to do is the hardest part.
120 € - 140 € per night
240 € - 280 € per week-end
The property is made up of several buildings. One of the buildings, which is entirely reserved for guests, includes three bedrooms each with a private bathroom. Meals can be enjoyed in the large, bright living area. A Nespresso machine, a kettle and cold drinks are provided. On the ground floor of the main house is a fourth bedroom with an adjoining bathroom and a private entrance. Finally, a little out of the way, the Four à Pain house (the tiny house) consists of a living room with a kitchen area on the ground floor, and an attic bedroom and a bathroom with a toilet upstairs. This can be rented as a gite because the kitchen allows for self-catered stays.