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The Loire Valley Is Getting a Luxury Tourism Overhaul

And it’s largely driven by one especially ambitious new hotel.

Fleur de Loire, a new Relais & Châteaux hotel in Blois, France

Fleur de Loire, a new Relais & Châteaux hotel in Blois, France

Source: Fleur de Loire

“I hope you don’t mind—I’m starving!” confessed 45-year-old chef Christophe Hay as he plucked a tomato from his permaculture garden and bit into it as if it were an apple.

Best known for his work at the two Michelin-starred, farm-centric La Maison d’à Côté in the small town of Montlivault, France, Hay was getting ready for the official inauguration in late June of Fleur de Loire, his three-day-old, five-star Relais & Châteaux hotel in nearby Blois, where double rooms command €360 ($367) per night. On the guest list were more than 300 local artisans, suppliers, artists, chef peers, politicians, and VIP clients—all curious to see how he’d filled a sprawling 17th-century hospice building with two fine-dining restaurants, 44 rooms and suites, Sisley spa, gym, pastry bar, and boutique. Understandably, breaking for lunch wasn’t high on Hay’s agenda.