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La Belle Meunière - the story

A story of taste

Marie Quinton, Ambassador of Auvergne

The story started in 1879 when Marie Quinton decided to transform her parents’ mill into a guesthouse named “Hôtel des Marronniers”. The culinary talents of the woman who came to be known as la belle meunière (the beautiful miller), achieved notoriety well beyond the borders of Auvergne. 
This renown was not only down to her delicious blue trout or her excellent coq au vin. The site is also famous for having played host to General Boulanger and his mistress Marguerite de Bonnemains. The story of the clandestine love affair was told by the hostess herself in an eponymous journal published in 1895, after the tragic deaths of the two lovers.

Le Général Revanche

Georges Boulanger and Madame Marguerite

It is difficult to imagine how popular Georges Boulanger was in his time. Wounded in combat countless times, with dashing good looks and an uncompromising attitude towards Germany, he was nicknamed “Le Général Revanche” (General Revenge). He was a figurehead for all the nationalist and anti-parliamentary aspirations of the time, becoming both an icon and a threat to order within the Republic. In 1887, his dismissal and departure for Clermont-Ferrand led to a riot at Gare de Lyon. Put into retirement, and then elected as a member of parliament for Paris in January 1889, he refused to grasp the reins of power which were within his reach. Discredited by governmental manoeuvres, he went into exile in Belgium to escape incarceration. It was there, on 10 September 1891, that he committed suicide on the grave of his muse, Marguerite de Bonnemains who had succumbed to tuberculosis a few weeks earlier.