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Reviewed November 13, 2008

The Auberge is charming to look at & is in a wonderful location on the banks of the river near a beautiful stone bridge. The town is quiet but pretty.

The dining room has lovely views onto the river. We ate there the 2 nights we stayed in the Auberge. The food was good home cooking & I mean that as a compliment. We enjoyed both meals very much. They have a good selection of wines in the half bottle which suited us well.

Unfortunately our room although pretty to look at was very uncomfortable. All the chairs were either rickety or had little or no stuffing. The bed was one of the 5 most uncomfortable I have ever slept on. The highly polished wooden floor was slippery & treacherous.

The bath, on a raised platform, in the bedroom was difficult to use without making a complete mess.

The toilet was in a separate room but it also contained a boiler so all night you had the noise of it boosting on & off. The room is above the restaurant (although there were rooms on the floor below us) so for much of the day & night the room was filled with the smell of cooking.

The house keeping was just ok - there was a large & i mean large - cobweb on the celing & a nasty stained toilet.

It was also up 2 steep set of stairs. If we'd had any mobility problems or been elderly we'd have been in real trouble. I understand this is an old building & i didn't expect or want a lift but people should be warned about the access problems.

The service was civil & efficient.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank talkative
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 16, 2008

I'm just back from lunch at La Lucarne des Chouettes, and although I did not stay at the inn, I did walk through the upstairs suite so thought I could offer some useful feedback. If you disagree, feel free to skip.

First off, the auberge (inn) is very easy to find and sits at a lovely location on the river. The building is charming, having been entirely rennovated under the supervision of Leslie Caron (and her son who now lives in England) who "hates ruins" and "would rebuild the Parthenon" so that people can use it. We had lunch as a group, and had specifically arranged so that Ms. Caron would be there and have lunch with us. (She lives in Paris, but says she goes to Villeneuve-sur-Yonne about once a week.) She was very gracious and patient with our questions and posing for photos.

The food was very good with several interesting twists. For example, a mild seafood terrine was set off by a surprisingly sweet pistachio coulis. Excellent, but unexpected. A good burgundy wine from the region was served. My only quibble was with a too-bland-for-me strawberry mousse pie on a thin, sponge cake base. Another friend liked it, though. That main dessert was followed up by a plate of other sweets including guimauve (a sort of homemade marshmallow popular in France) "kebobs", almond tuiles, and small bite-sized yellow cakes.

The suite I viewed was upstairs above the reception and is referred to on the inn's web site as "The Duplex." The first room is charming and has a single bed and a fireplace, but the old steps leading up are very, very steep and narrow. The bathroom is adjacent to this 2nd floor room. There's a second, equally steep and narrow, flight of stairs up to the second room which has a double bed, sloped ceiling and big beams. Both rooms face the river and are charmingly decorated, but would not be suitable for anyone with mobility issues. I would expect the rooms to be fairly quiet for sleeping.

It is a short walk into town where a market opens on Fridays with a local specialty being honey and other bee-products. The town church is brightly lit through soaring windows in Gothic arches. The oldest portions being 800 years old. If you speak French, the man who tends it is very knowledgable and eager to show off its treasures.

Stayed: March 2008
10  Thank tcut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 25, 2007

We returned to La Lucarne aux Chouettes for a two-night stay because, at a lunch there a few years ago, we had enjoyed not only the meal but also the ambiance. First, we encountered the same quiet and reserved but thoughtful concierge. Next, we also enjoyed the same delicious cuisine, French but light, and with a very subtle Japanese touch from the chef's hand (it was somewhat uncomfortable, however, to see that the sous-chef needed his cigarette breaks). Our "suite" was classy in an old-fashioned way (the owner, sophisticated Leslie Caron, seems not to consider the practicality of a shower or at least a shower curtain). The very quiet room looked out on the graceful bridge over the placid Yonne, with little passing traffic and various people, from young mothers to venerable grandmas strolling along the river. And yet, on the other side, only one block away, runs the busy main street of Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, a lovely medieval city with apparently thriving burghers. All around, the pleasant countryside evidently remains attractive to Parisians for their weekend retreats. Tourists, on the other hand, were absent, probably because these were post-summer weekdays. But this is an ideal place for daytrips in every direction, including a good part of Burgundy. All in all, we believe that Villeneuve-s-Yonne and La Lucarne aux Chouettes offer the best and most authentic experience of la vie en France.

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank trimardWashington_Va
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 28, 2007

As good a place to eat & stay as you could hope for - lived up to expectations.

Great location as well - perfect

  • Stayed: August 2007
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2  Thank RoseyLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 15, 2007

We went to La Lucarne aux Chouettes for a special birthday lunch. Perhaps because it was the 14th of July (a national holiday in France) and the regular staff was absent, but we found the service to be slow, and in one case unpleasant.

We all have bad days, but to stand around glowering at customers is not very nice for the customers. We had to specifically ask for bread (even when two of us had a foie gras starter that did not come with bread) and when the bread rolls came they were like rocks. It may have been July 14th, but the boulangerie around the corner was open nonetheless. There is no excuse for serving stale bread in an upscale restaurant in France - EVER.

We also had to ask for water, and the glowering woman standing next to us did not make any attempt to direct the wait staff to the table, despite the fact it was over 90 degrees on the day we visited. Once a waiter finally came and we asked for water, we had to wait a long time for it. There were two young wait staff plus Ms Grumpy - and we were the only people at the restaurant that lunchtime. There was another party of two who we heard complaining about the slow service as they left. I guessed that this mood probably frightened off would-be customers, but one of my party suggested instead it was probably the prices that frightened them off more.

Portion sizes were very small (in the case of the saute of ris de veau, a bare mouthful for €30!), and with all the supplements (don't let the publicised price of the menu fool you - there is a supplement ranging from €4 to €8 for most items) we paid over €250 for four people for food alone at lunch time. As for the quality of the cooking, some of the vegetables were slightly overcooked; the brioche in the pain perdu of escargots was thin (store-bought?) and soggy - not crisp on the outside as it should have been. The gougeres were OK but dry (probably frozen). High points were the fish dishes (a very big selection of no less than 6 fish-based mains on a lunch menu was impressive), the use of colour, the clever combination of rhubarb, citrus and foie gras, and the desserts. The ice cream that came with my poire Belle Helene was exceptional.

The restaurant is beautifully decorated and the location is stunning, although being so close to the bridge and with the small road between the auberge and the river being open to vehicular traffic, we were probably lucky. The town itself is old and charming, and we availed ourselves of a riverside walk before lunch where local people we passed smiled and said "bonjour".

The food may be overpriced at the weekend (note that during the week, lunch is a very reasonable €25 a head for three courses), but the wines were well priced, the wine list very well thought out and all were served at the perfect temperature.

I read that the Auberge is missing a Michelin star due to its celebrity ownership. I would argue that stale bread and terrible service does not a Michelin starred restaurant make. There is potential for improvement. Once they get the service and a few other things right, they may actually deserve a star. The next time I visit - and there will be a next time - I will avoid weekends and national holidays to see if there is any difference in standards.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled with friends
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3  Thank lesroys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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