The Hotel de France is a quaint boutique hotel. It has an old world charm and wonderful, personable service.
We had our first French breakfast, buffet style: café au lait for two, orange juice (an indulgence we hadn’t had for a couple of years), croissants with butter and apricot jam, baguettes with cheese and meats, eggs poached yourself with the egg timer and fresh fruit.
Dinner was something special. The hotel reserves a table for you if you are a hotel guest (unless you tell them you won’t be there). The restaurant is busy and the ambience is tastefully romantic. The service is attentive. We chose one of the full dinner selections. This included l’entrée (the appetizer), le plat principal (the main dish), le chariot de fromage et sa salade verte (cheese selection from the chariot with a salad), and le dessert (that’s self explanatory right?).
Our meal started with a glass of champagne and a surprise little treat of gazpacho.
L’entrée: Allan chose 6 gros escargot farcis au beurre d’ail. I chose Mille feuilles de betterave et pommes parfumees a l’huile de nosette et pescales de chorizo.
Le plat principal: we both chose La marmite sarthoise et ses legumes (with a bottle of local red wine.
Le chariot de fromage was really cool. We tried a variety of cheeses (goat cheeses, camembert, brie, local cheeses and blue cheese) with a salad.
Le dessert: Allan chose Fraise melba – les fraises, la glace vanilla, la crème fouettee et ses amandes. I chose Clafoutis aux cerises et son sorbet cerise.
Then off to the bar for lively conversation, armignac and cognac. With the hotel’s close connection with Le Mans and the auto-racing world, it was no surprise that there were many stories to share with our bartender and other hotel guests.
The way you feel about a place is often more about the people than the building. In this case, it was both. The place itself has a great energy, a lot of history and laughter in its walls. But it was the people, especially Sally the manager and Christophe the head bartender, who really made our stay memorable. The place is sure to be one of our favorite places of our trip.