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Not far from the banks of the Loire, the once fortified small town of Mer is home to a beautiful residence. Discreetly nestled in the shade of the church's steeple-porch, it appears behind a veil of greenery, foliage and flowers that conceals the facades. The structure of the property is visible from the inside, with the beams, the stone and brick walls, and the terracotta tiled floors telling an old story that has been delicately highlighted. What "eau vive" (running water) is this house guarding? Could it be that of the Loire, which is so very close? Or that of its tributary traversing the city? Strolling from one room to another, letting time flow in the shade of its trees, it becomes apparent that this house is nothing short of a soothing and rejuvenating stopover.
I spent more than thirty years abroad in four different German and English speaking countries. I returned to France a few years ago with the desire to create a place for renewal, exchange, and inspiration. A place where I could provide a personal response to the quest for beauty, the good and the true that was so advocated by Plato. I did not have a specific location in mind, though I was particularly interested in the Loire Valley, and it was ultimately this house, which I immediately fell in love with, that chose me.
The house is partially built on the old city walls and has parts dating from the 16th, 18th and 19th centuries. It still has many original features such as the magnificent French oak beamed ceilings, old terracotta tiled floors and functioning fireplaces. The walls are in limestone (exposed stone plaster). The property consists of four buildings arranged in a U-shape to form a quiet 400m2 garden enclosed by walls in an intimate atmosphere.
The house belonged to Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour (1721-1764), mistress of Louis XV and owner of the Château de Ménars (located about ten kilometers from Mer) where she spent the last years of her life. Until 1792, the town of Mer was known as Ménars Ville rather than Ménars Château. The house is opposite the Saint-Hilaire church which dates back to the 12th century and is listed as a Historic Monument.
L’Eau Vive is a great place to relax and unwind and embodies, above all, an art of living that celebrates the beautiful, the good and the true. This is key to the philosophy of travelling without haste: slow tourism. L'Eau Vive is also a table d'hôte that resonates with the spirit of the place, offering generous, fresh and tasty cuisine made from naturally grown, local products that will delight guests' taste buds. An old 85m2 barn with a 9-metre-high ridge has been converted into a seminar room where sessions focusing on relaxation, physical, mental and emotional well-being, awareness, personal development and how we can live better together regularly take place. I myself lead sound therapy sessions, for individuals or groups, with crystal bowls and gongs.
A few minutes by car, the Château de Chambord is the perfect starting point for exploring the most beautiful sites of the Loire Valley which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the Loire, the last wild river in Europe, many marked routes and cycle paths (such as Loire by bike) offer panoramic views that are as contrasting as they are splendid. Why not experience an original introduction to falconry in the forest next to Chenonceau, take a themed traditional boat trip with the sailors of the Port of Chambord or listen to the stags bellowing in the forest of Chambord? The Franco-Russian classical music festival, Clé des Portes, is held in July. In Mer, the Château de Talcyis is the poetic castle of Ronsard's muses and the La Corbillière museum showcases rich temporary exhibitions.
A seminar room has been fitted out in an old 85m2 barn with a 9-metre-high ridge (old beams).
Sound treatments/individual sound therapy workshops with crystal bowls, gongs and voice work are available to reserve all year round.
Conferences on various themes (non-violent communication, permaculture, minute massage) take place regularly.
Group sound bath concerts (sonotherapy) with crystal bowls, gongs and voice work are regularly scheduled.
Cooking lessons can be organised by reservation all year round.