Best country house of 2019
Two hours outside of Paris, the secondary roads give way to highways that pass along the edge of the Parc Natural Régional du Perche. A desert of sorts… And then, an almost invisible sign with “D’une île” written out on it appears. Where does it lead you? To an old 17th-century farm built from the local yellow stones and dotted with walnut tress, deck chairs and barns with a bric-a-bracfeel, bought by none other than Bertrand Grébaut and Théophile Pourriat (the revered owners of Septime and Clamato) from its former Dutch owners, Michel Mulder and Sofie Sleumer. To feed the 20 or so tables typically reserved for guests staying in the eight bedrooms, there’s a vegetable patch, the crème de la crème of local producers and the duo of twentysomethings Fanny Payre and Valentin Burteaux, who trained on rue de Charonne and whip up incredibly fresh menus in this tiny kitchen. Proof that square footage has no impact on quality, these neo-ruralists sent out a decent dose of island insulin the day we went for lunch: dizzying haricots verts and cucumbers with a herbed yogurt sauce, mint and feta (€9); tender Perche-style rillettes (€8), perfect with a glass of P’tit Blanc from Le Clos du Tue-Boeuf (€5); majestic roasted eggplant served with a nice faisselle cream sprinkled with colza and spruce buds (€10); melt-in-your-mouth pork loin with a delightful lovage-cherry jus (€18); before a lovely floating island with a sage-infused caramel sauce (€8). To drink, there’s a natural wine list that’s worthy of the Parisian faubourgs: a red Jura Ploussard from Les Marnes Blanches (€35) or an orange Dinavolino from Emilie-Romagne (€42 a bottle). Rooms starting at €113 a night. Reservations are required. À la carte €35-45. // P.-H.B.