The Logis de France are getting a makeover
“It had become uncontrollable,” says the man behind the slaughter, Thierry Amirault, a Breton hotelier who became president of Logis in 2011. Far too many hotels, and there were all kinds.
Mr. Amirault started at the bottom of the industry ladder, as a 15-year-old waiter in Nantes. âI always wanted to have my own place,â he says. âWhen I got there and joined Logis, it was obvious that the standards were uneven, so I had the idea of ââhiring an independent agency to carry out inspections and suggest improvements. Of course, the hoteliers who needed it most were against the idea, but people saw that it worked in our region and the previous president adopted it nationally.
Thierry Amirault in his own Logis, the Hotel Les Palis in Grand Fougeray
The first âmystery guestâ arrived in 2001 and by 2007 the task of inspecting all members was completed. âWe knew there was a lot of work to do,â explains Ms. Amirault, who sharpened the pruning shears and began to cut. As president, he modernized Logis’ internet presence and put in place structures and procedures for credible, albeit self-proclaimed and administered, quality control.
Its base in Grand Fougeray, between Rennes and Nantes, is a stage village (stage village) on one of the rare national transit routes that is not a motorway. The Place de l’Eglise looks like hundreds of others, with its Bar Tabac Aux Temps Modernes and a pissoir leaning against the solid bell tower of the church. The facade of Les Palis de M Amirault also looks traditional, but he transformed the interior by adding treatment rooms and a ‘Finnish chalet’ in the parking lot. âOur weekend guests love the spa,â he says proudly, showing me how to operate my bed with remote control, adjustable mattress tilt and pop-up TV. The guestbook is always a good indicator. “Great jacuzzi, great Wi-Fi, great food,” write Des and Mary from Ireland, 21st century Logis customers.
The gastronomy of La Butte, in Plouider, top right, is typical of the new generation
Entrenchment is not the limit of Ms. Amirault’s ambition: the idea of ââsize is to stimulate healthy growth, after all. Aware of the founding principle of the federation, he places the Logis at the heart of French rural life, the cornerstone of its regeneration. âA village needs a hotel,â he says. âA lot of communities around here have nothing. At the Grand Fougeray, he is financing the expansion of his hotel in partnership with the municipality. âTogether, we bought an empty building and made it work for the community,â he says.
He made his next move to Bonnoeuvre, a smaller village 30 miles to the southeast. âThe old priory was empty and needed a function,â he says. âThe town was looking for different uses – youth club, library – until I persuaded them to opt for a hotel / restaurant run by one of my ex-employees who wanted a place of their own. It worked well from the start.
The new luxury category, Logis d’Exception, is perhaps the most radical departure. So far there are only 19, including sumptuous chÃ¢teaux and a three-Michelin-starred restaurant near Narbonne. Are Logis customers ready for this?
The Hotel Les Palis in Grand Fougeray
âWe are not looking for the kind of luxury hotel where you cannot relax,â explains M Amirault. âIt still has to be family. Â»In the distant FinistÃ¨re between Roscoff and Brest, La Butte is a recent addition to the Logis d’Exception portfolio and a fine example of the new positioning of Logis: a solid old Breton building eclipsed by its new sharp-edged extension, with spa and indoor pool style greenhouse.
As often, the transformation marks the passage from one generation to the next. Nicolas Conraux arrived from Alsace as an apprentice cook, married the owner’s daughter and leaned over the drawing board. âWe only had two forks in the Michelin last year,â he says. âThis year, we hope for more. After an apricot oil and bamboo powder scrub, a swim in the pool and a spectacular dinner, I wonder why, with so many luxury hotel associations to choose from, the Conraux have opted for Logis, with its mid-range image.
âLa Butte has been part of the Logis family for a long time,â replies Nicolas. âWe subscribe to its values ââand we are comfortable there. Why should we leave? ”
Maybe what Thierry Amirault is trying to tell us is that change is possible, in continuity. The Logis is dead. Long live the Logis!
The price indicated is for half board per person per night in a shared double room. Half-board terms vary by room category and may not be available to short-stay visitors. Dinner, b & b is usually a bit more expensive.
Adam Ruck’s 10 Favorite Logis Hotels
The Loire Valley
Auberge du Center, Chitenay
0033 2 54 70 42 11; auberge-du-centre.com; Â£ 83
This village institution dressed in climbing plants is the ideal starting point to discover the land of the Loire castles by car or by bike. Blois, Cheverny, Chambord and Chenonceaux are within easy pedaling reach. Tables are set in the garden on warm evenings and the friendly M Martinet likes to show you the wide range of Loire wines.
The Travelers, Bonny-sur-Loire
2 38 27 01 45; hotel-restaurant-des-voyageurs.fr; Â£ 80
Nostalgia break on the old Nationale 7, the âVacation Routeâ of the pre-motorway era, to take advantage of the old regime of inexpensive rooms and a very good restaurant. Formerly a thoroughfare, the middle Loire is a quiet backwater, popular for boat trips on the canal. The project to build the 13th century castle in GuÃ©delon is worth seeing.
The Priory of the Gourmands, Bonnoeuvre
2 40 56 30 00; prieuredesgourmands.com; Â£ 65
A recently converted priory north of the Loire near Nantes with modern, well-equipped rooms, a good restaurant and attentive and friendly service. Well placed to break the journey between Brittany and the Channel ferry ports of Normandy and the south-west.
2 96 91 40 80; hotel-duparc-perros.com; Â£ 70
A few steps from one of the most beautiful sandy coves of the âpink graniteâ coast of northern Brittany, this small hotel invites us to park the children in the crÃªperie and to taste great seafood and good cuisine. house in La Cotriade, named after a Breton ragout fish.
La Butte, Plouider
2 98 25 40 54; labutte.fr; Â£ 120 (photo below)
The younger generation embarked on a major renovation and turned a long-established family hotel near Roscoff into a serious dome of pleasure with a touch of Zen and set their sights on Michelin stardom. The spa and the beautiful indoor swimming pool are a precious resource in case of bad weather. The chocolate pudding and the breakfast buffet are also special.
Relais St Vincent, Ligny le Chatel, near Chablis
3 86 47 53 38; relais-saint-vincent.fr; Â£ 65
At the northern limit of the Chablis vineyard, it is a Burgundian inn as traditional as one could hope for, with porte cochÃ¨re and courtyard, squeaky parquet under the eaves and essentials of the terroir menu: parsley ham, coq au vin, sorbet blackcurrant with marc de Bourgogne.
Cheval Blanc, Langres
3 25 87 07 00; hotel-langres.com; Â£ 85
On the borders of Champagne and Burgundy, ideally close to the motorway, the old walled town of Langres is perfectly placed for a break in the journey to or from Switzerland. Don’t expect to be the only English speakers in the dining room.
Hotel du Pont, Ambialet
5 63 55 32 07; hotel-du-pont.com; Â£ 58
Two centuries after a veteran of Napoleon’s Russian campaign retreated to the famous meander of the Tarn d’Ambialet and settled his son at the HÃ´tel du Pont, the Saysset family is still there. With a pool and bikes to hire, it’s a relaxing base from which to explore a beautiful corner of deep France. Albi and Cordes are the main tourist sites.
The Golden Trout, Worms
5 65 31 41 51; latruitedoee.fr; Â£ 68
Similar to Ambialet: nice location by the river, swimming pool in the garden, but Patrick Marcenac is only the fifth generation at the helm of this 125-year-old Lot hotel. The rush of regulars arriving for Sunday lunch is a promising sign, unless you forgot to book. The artists’ village of St Cirq Lapopie, the rock paintings of Pech Merle and the fortified bridge of Cahors are all nearby.
3 88 97 02 42; hotel-aubergemetzger.com; Â£ 80
Corinne (in front) and Yves Metzger (chef) run a chic and impeccable hotel in their elegant image, in an improbable mountain village halfway up the Vosges, under the ski slopes of Champ du Feu and Struthof, the only internment Nazi encampment in France. This memorial makes for a fascinating, albeit somber visit.
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