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City Chic at Hotel Particulier La Chamoiserie

City Chic at Hotel Particulier La Chamoiserie

Hotel Particulier La  Chamoiserie, in the centre of  Niort, is an ideal spot for couples searching for a stylish hotel with a life and soul of its own...

Hotel Particulier La Chamoiserie is the perfect base for a weekend break on the edge of Deux-Sèvres' stunning Marais Poitevin. This stylish town house, dating from 1902, combines the elegance of contemporary French interior design with an ambience of conviviality that is rare in the hotel world.

Hotel Chamoiserie foyer 

When you meet owners Christine and Patrice Vauthier, the reason for the friendly atmosphere that reigns becomes obvious: the sociable yet discreet nature of this charming couple has delighted clients for twenty years in their former business as owners of the popular 'La Tartine' restaurant in Niort. For this new venture, Christine and Patrice have been joined by their 28-year-old daughter Melanie, a qualified hotel manager with a wealth of international experience in destinations ranging from London to Dubai. "After so long in the wine and restaurant business, we felt it was time to create something new. We also wanted to have a little more time to ourselves," says Christine. For the moment, La Chamoiserie offers just bed and breakfast services.

The hotel is positioned in the heart of the former hide-tanning (chamoiserie) area of Niort - close to the centre, the river and the donjon - and it is from this 17th century industry that the hotel takes its name. Housing sixteen tastefully decorated, personalised bedrooms spread over three floors, the hotel also boasts a delightful garden enclosed by the city's rampart walls, and several salons where guests can relax in homely comfort.Hotel Chamoiserie Lounge
The elegant interior, created by Christine, has a refined French feel to it. This has been achieved by mixing styles and paying close attention to every detail: "We wanted to create a cosy, family-house ambience, yet with contemporary lines that fitted with a citadel building." When they bought the hotel in September 2008 it was the Conseil General President's official accommodation, the interior decoration dating from the 1980's. "All we kept was the stone staircase, the reception desk and the doors," says Christine - a decision that led to eight months of hard work alongside Niort architect Brice Kolher. "The most difficult part was coming to terms with the stringent technical regulations that all hotels will have to comply with from 2011," adds Patrice.

The Vauthiers aren't newcomers to designing interiors that attract the public: Patrice, an oenologist from Bordeaux, did his wine and law studies in Niort- where he met Parisian Christine, who was studying political science. The beginning of a flourishing partnership began when they opened Niort's first 'cave' in the eighties, Patrice dealing with the clients and Christine managing the administrative side.

"The association of wine and table fascinated me." says Patrice, an interest that led his entrepreneurial nature into the creation of a Bouchon Lyonnais - or wine bar- where he would serve light dishes specifically to accompany his wine. The success of this venture was followed by the creation of La Tartine restaurant in 1993 and Le Salon de La Tartine with its tapas shortly after. Each time. Patrice and Chri stine have worked together to create ambiences that have earned them local fame in the hospitality world. The decision to open a hotel came with the realisation that there was a gap in the marketplace for classy yet convivial accommodation suitable for- business people visiting the mutual insurance companies. This sector now provides the majority of the Vauthiers· clients, though they would love to see more tourists; an attractive 20% discount on room prices at weekends is certain to have the desired effect!Hotel Chamoiserie TerrasseFrom the street, La Chamoiserie's classic stone façade resembles any other Poitou bourgeois town house: yet when you enter through the heavy double doors and see the sweeping stone staircase, high ceilings and white panelling detail on the lower third of the walls, you realise you've stepped into graceful style. Moving from the entrance into the open plan reception rooms- where deep sofas focus on an open fire chandeliers and fascinating objets d'art are lit by subtle lighting, giving a cosy feel to the large volumes. The dining area leads out onto wooden decking and has a colourful view over the magnolia trees and flower beds leading up past a series of water features to a secluded patio. Invisible to diners, an Orangerie in the far corner of the garden houses a suite where you can enjoy further privacy, including breakfast on a private terrace.

Oak parquet floors have been used throughout the majority of the ground floor; on the upper floors, plush carpeting replaces the parquet, limiting overhead footfall disturbance: "We are sleep merchants, after all," says Patrice, "so our clients· comfort is primordial." 

Christine has remained loyal to paint experts Flamant, using a palette of 18 colours and a selection of wallpapers throughout the hotel: for example 'noir de lune' (moon black) in the seminar room; 'bain de boue' (mud bath) in the dining room; and 'potatoes'· in the stairwell, which forms the ideal background colour for one of local artist Françoise Batiot's paintings. Indeed, Christine has paid such attention to detail that she intensified the colours on certain walls in order to create the desired balance according to the changes in lighting.

Hotel Chamoiserie bedroom

 

All the bedrooms - of which one has full disability access through French windows into the garden - have Italian bathrooms, flat-screen TV air-conditioning and wifi (which extends into the garden). Each is individual, often with an unexpected nook or cranny, and while those on the first floor have higher ceilings and sombre paintwork, those on the second floor offer equilibrium with their white paintwork and exposed beams.Hotel Chamoiserie Bedroom
Only a few months have passed for Christine and Patrice in their new roles as hotel owners, yet they appreciate the extra time they can spend together during the day since selling their restaurants. Whether this will last or not is a different matter, as they have many more projects in mind now that the hotel is up and running. "We would like turn the seminar room into a wine bar;" admits Patrice , perhaps reluctant to turn his back on his passion for wine and food. And the next step is to improve the environmentally friendly aspects of the hotel. "We have tried taking measures towards obtaining an eco-label but it's difficult to marry aesthetics and the environment at the moment." he explains. In parallel, they have a project for a sauna-hammam-jacuzzi complex in the cellar.

With such plans for the future, and given the Vauthiers' reputation for conviviality, it's difficult to imagine life becoming too quiet at Hotel Particulier La Chamoiserie.

Originally published in Living Poitou-Charentes magazine - © All rights reserved.

WORDS: Teresa Hardy



MORE INFORMATION: Hotel Particulier La Chamoiserie 

10 rue de l'Espingole, 79000 Niort.

Tel: +33 (0)5 49 78 07 07

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