A peaceful stream, opalescent light, silvery mist rising to the treetops, canals and medieval lanes—there’s no end to the charms of the Vallée du Grand Morin, whose singular beauty has always attracted artists, from Camille Corot to Edward Steichen. At the entrance to Crécy-la-Chapelle, a small town built on several small arms of the Grand Morin River—sometimes called the Venice of the Brie—in the département of Seine-et-Marne just 26 miles east of Paris, the Moulin de Saint-Martin is particularly popular with English and American visitors.

Visitors who prefer not to drive can take the RER to Marne-la-Vallée, then the 59 bus to Crécy-la-Chapelle, where owner Bernard Gourbaud will meet them. Gourbaud’s grandfather bought the property, which includes a 16th-century mill set on an island, in 1933. There are just two rooms: Les Anges on the first floor and Les Nymphes on the second. The decor is quietly elegant, with toile de Jouy fabrics, 18th-century furniture and beautiful tapestries. Gourbaud and his wife Agnès offer a table d’hôtes in the evening (delicious chicken with moutarde de Meaux) and, in good weather, breakfast—which includes confitures of pumpkin, pineapple or kiwi—is served on a terrace filled with exuberant vegetation.

A stay here is recommended not only for contemplative souls, but also for hikers: the GR1, one of the Grandes Randonnées trails, passes right in front of the mill located on the property. The area is a paradise for hunting and fishing, especially for pike. There are also boat rides and painting classes available, along with visits to the Crécois countryside or Disneyland Paris.

7 route de Saint Martin, Voulangis, Crécy-la-Chapelle, 01.64.63.69.90. Doubles from €70. website

Originally published in the November 2009 issue of France Today; updated in March 2012

 

 

 

Gallery

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY