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  • Eat Drink Travel

Heart of Glass

In the shadow of the gothic cathedral in Troyes, the capital of the Champagne region of north eastern France, one finds the beautiful Le Jardin de la Cathedrale. The secret garden houses a wealth of surprises.

Formerly owned by the canon of the cathedral and then the home and workshop of famous glass master Louis-Germain Vincent-Larcher in 1840 this gem of a property is just waiting to be discovered. It will shortly be available to travellers following its conversion into one of France’s most delightful B&Bs.

One finds the house on the doorstep of Troyes’ famous cathedral of St Peter & St Paul, built in the early 13th century and home to some of the region’s finest stained glass as well as relics of St Bernard de Clairvaux and treasures from the Crusades.

Proprietor Laetitia Krumenacher describes her B&B as a ‘tribute to stained glass, champagne heritage and the art of landscaping’. Laetitia is a landscape gardener and has worked her magic on the space here, creating a delightful, accessible garden which can not only be walked around ‘in nice shoes’ she says, but which also forms a perfect setting for afternoon teas and glasses of champagne. The artistically planted garden is a paradise for plant lovers and seekers of tranquillity alike.

This July the doors will be open to guests who can stay in one of four fabulous suites, each painted in clear colours which reflect the stunning stained glass which is a major feature throughout the XVIIIth century house. Rooms upstairs and down have an eclectic mix of furnishings from antique shops, flea markets and auctions. ‘There is nothing new here’ says Laetitia’s husband Valery as he shows us round this unique property which presents new delights and surprises around each corner. Touches include statutes, stuffed birds, unusual prints and clocks. The living room with sumptuous sofas and cushions looks out over the enchanting garden, while the front of the house directly faces the historical cathedral.

Guests can enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast in the garden or in their room, and after sampling Laetitia’s freshly baked cake with coffee I can vouch for its quality. And this being champagne country , a glass of bubbly as the sun goes down with the bells of the cathedral ringing in the background could not create a more idyllic end to a day exploring Troyes.

The delightful medieval city is a labyrinth of cobbled streets, 16th century timber buildings huddled together and modern, vibrant squares. Don’t miss the stained glass museum, the museum of modern art and the opportunity to visit one of the many local champagne cellars.

Le Jardin de la Cathedrale, Maison d’Hotes,12 Place Saint-Pierre, 1000 Troyes, France. Tel: 0033663103232.

All images courtesy of Le Jardin de la Cathdrale.

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