Waking up at The Moulin Bregeon is like waking up in my wildest dream about living on a farmhouse in rural France.
This mill, built in the 19th century in the Loire Valley, was tastefully and lovingly restored by owner and founder, American artist Jonathan Robinson. I met Jonathan when he called me out of the blue to introduce me to his project. This man is an artist, lover of the aesthetic beauty in France and actively preserving the quality of life that makes France so unique and which modern urbanism is threatening to destroy. His project, which he started 20 years ago, is the renovation of this 19th century mill and nearby village in the Loire Valley to create a model of aesthetic beauty, joie de vivre and stimulate tourism to help save rural France.
Needless to say we hit it off and it was my luck to be traveling to France on the same plane as Jon. You see, my first stop was to the Jura, a region far in the East near Switzerland, to meet a lady who owned a chateau. Mind you, I had these plans set for months, but last minute, there was a confusion and she didn’t have time to see me, so I was sort of stranded. Jonathan took me under his wing and invited me to the Moulin Bregeon. I was so grateful!
The pictures I saw online of Le Moulin Bregeon, a luxury retreat, did not do enough to prepare me for the experience of this charming place. It’s like living out a magazine layout of the most beautiful French country house with all the details in place; the organic garden with a stick fence to keep the wandering chickens out, a brook that runs under the house to create auspicious Feng Shui energy, huge hazelnut trees that perfume the air.
Everyone at the Moulin is so welcoming and friendly, eager to show me around. A happy chocolate Labrador named Figaro, greeted me upon arrival, as did the chickens, geese, and kitties. There are also two friendly goats who roam the property. It’s all so natural and yet it looks so perfectly orchestrated. That is Jon’s talent for creating a balance of details and elements for aesthetics but easy and comfortable living. He lives his passion and it’s evident in every detail of the Moulin and village. Each of the luxurious guest suites is designed and decorated to blend in with the surroundings. Every door handle, sink, floor tile is meticulously chosen for authenticity, function and style.
It was finally a sunny day in France so we sat outside on the stone patio. I was handed a glass of red wine from the local vineyards and proceeded to tell my woeful story to Pascal, Jon’s partner and chef of the Moulin. “It’s all meant to be, you couldn’t have been stranded in a better place”. We lingered there, petting the dog, talking about literature, Parisian salon life, and how we can forget the chaos of urban life in this idyllic setting. Soon it was after 10pm, but still light outside, we ate a late delicious dinner of locally grown poulet, salad from the garden and the best whipped garlic potatoes and of course… more wine.
This is how life is meant to be lived, we talked in French and English about how we are enjoying the simple things in life, good conversation, good food, good wine. C’est beau la vie! It’s a beautiful life!
By Alecia Caine