Le Doyenne Dazzles…France Restaurant Review


For six years I have been following the evolution of Le Doyenne in Saint-Vrain located in the French countryside.

Doyenné is a restaurant, guesthouse and farm set within the historical grounds of the Château de Saint-Vrain, in the village of Saint-Vrain, 25 miles south of central Paris.

The Château was once the country retreat of the Countess du Barry and Borghese family and has been the home of the Mortemart family for more than two centuries. Le Doyenné sits on the estate’s former stables where the French-American sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle and Swiss sculptor Tinguely created their monumental works in the 70s.

Chefs and owners James Henry and Shaun Kelly, along with the Mortemart family, have lovingly restored and converted Le Doyenné into a restaurant and guesthouse.

They called upon the expertise of local artisans to preserve the integrity of this classified historic site re-imagining it as the French ecologically driven farmhouse of their dreams.

I have been a foodie fan of owner James Henry for years. We always looked forward to dining at Bones in Paris. When it closed I followed his journey.

Le Doyenne opened less than a year ago so I made it a priority during my recent French sojourn.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. We took an Uber and enjoyed the drive.

We arrived and the gates opened to a pastoral gem.

Located on a large estate, the 5 minute walk along the paved drive provided lush views of the property.

Not only can you enjoy a fabulous meal, but there are lovely guest rooms to spend the night or weekend.

A small store on the property affords the opportunity to buy bread, gardening utensils, olive oil and preserved foods.

We were greeted and enjoyed an aperitif by the roaring fire.

The attractive furniture which perfectly matches the airy open space was all hand picked.

We admired the circular seating area that used to reside in a Belgium train station.

There are two menus offered at lunch. A 55 euro three course option or a more extensive 95 euro menu. Both offer wine pairings.

Le Doyenne accommodates food allergies and a pescatarian option. The menu included a veal main course as well as a fresh bonita option.

Enjoy the journey from Amuse Bouche to dessert.

The produce is home grown and the breads, dairy products are all made at Le Doyenne.

I would like to offer one comment. Although the international staff is efficient and accommodating, it would have been an even more rewarding experience if the employees were more outwardly involved with the guests as they have a rich, multi-faceted story to tell.

If you have the opportunity, Le Doyenne is truly a memorable, relaxed, tantalizingly impressive experience.

Le Doyenne 5 Rue Saint-Antoine Saint-Vrain, France. Open Thursday and Friday 7-10pm, Saturday 12-10pm, Sunday 12-6pm. Closed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.


  1. Melissa Tufeld 🤢 says:

    I don’t even care what the food tastes like. I just want to sit in that space… by that incredible fireplace and listen to French music and pretend I know what the hell they are singing about. Oh wait, LOVE right?
    You guys are in French countryside? 😳
    Enjoy. And I’m not envious At ALL TOBY! NOT AT ALL!!
    I’m fine… 😡!! Really fine..fine 🤢 totally fine.. so have fun, and don’t worry about us, I’ll be making THE MOST DELICIOUS FRENCH TOAST. SO Sorry you have to miss it . Try to have fun in that French countryside TOBY! 😡 just try!
    sending love , somewhere around here is lots of love! ♥️🤢😡♥️🤢😡

    • You are hysterical! France is/was amazing. Just returned to NYC and head to Florida mid-December.
      Le Doyenne is amazing. Let’s go together!
      We had a fab French sojourn. One week in Paris split between beginning and end of trip. A week at our place near Bordeaux and a marvelous journey through Languedoc with a stay at a spectacular boutique hotel/spa on the Provence border. Reality sucks😎🎉
      Hope all is well with you.
      Probably back in LA end of January/February. Have you tried any new restaurants? Wondering what DiDi is like on La Cienaga. Hugs and kisses💜

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