But after the ravages of the last war, during which many of the homes around the lake were destroyed, one should expect to smell that sweet perfume of old luxury again
The theatre, which resurrects this atmosphere of yesteryear, overlooks the shining expanse of Lake Gérardmer. This prestigious residence, built entirely of wood, stands nobly on a slope pleasantly adorned with generous vegetation.
The Manoir au Lac, as it is called, is one of those miraculous chalets as it is so rare to find them still on the Vosges balloon. Moreover, the house still has a typical half-timbered facade on the rear side which does not lack character. Originally owned by Parisian bankers (the Cahens of Antwerp), the building, after passing through the hands of an industrialist, was acquired in 1979 by Claude Valentin, a Gerome resident who was sufficiently inspired by his native region to have the audacity to invest in a concept that is, to say the least, singular.
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MAUPASSANT
From the outset, Claude Valentin was convinced that the position of the building on the lake, as well as its character, naturally destined the chalet Cahen d'Anvers to be transformed into a refined hotel. To the existing 800m2, the lucky buyer added a new building which now links all the wings of the property. The whole complex has allowed the development of twelve rooms and two flats (or suites) of character.
Each of these rooms has been given its own name, making it easier to distinguish the style and colours. From "Mirabelle" to "Bastien" to "Prunelle" to "Don Juan", it's all a matter of taste, and the carefully staged furniture inevitably gives the rooms unique personalities. For the record - which adds nobility to the already poetic atmosphere - one room, aptly named "Bel-Ami", was even home to Guy de Maupassant.
"The country I have just visited is one of the most beautiful one can see. Immense valleys, enclosed in mountains with gigantic forests of pine and beech [...] At the bottom of all these valleys, lakes", wrote Guy de Maupassant to his "dear mother" in 1890