November / December 2005
A June château wedding, our September visit,
and welcoming a new member in Provence
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The Holidays are coming!
make a thoughtful gift!
and ink drawings, depicting a dozen French château
Be the first to send this original gift!
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September in France. . .
There is much to write about after an extended visit to France, but we will only mention the highlights beginning with our stay at Château du Breuil in Cour-Cheverny. This Loire château is elegant, and its new owner, Bernard Gattolliat, is an enthusiastic and charming host. In addition to our large comfortable room looking out across the drive at the pretty little chapel, we enjoyed two incredible dinners accompanied by fine Cour-Cheverny wines from the vineyards of Philippe Loquineau, Domaine de la Plante d'Or *, just down the road. If you want a quiet place to relax and enjoy the good life, Château du Breuil is ideal. There is a brand new swimming pool and pool house across the garden for those who want to stay put, yet it is also perfect for visiting châteaux of the Loire, or as we did, seeing some interesting nearby towns such as Loches, Montrichard and Amboise.
Another stop for two nights (and a return visit for us) was the marvelous Château du Fraisse and the Count and Countess de Monstiers. Always a pleasure to visit, the château is in the wonderful Limousin countryside near Monts de Blonds, and some unique little villages such as Le Dorat, Mortemart and little Bessines-sur-Gartempe. Upon arrival, we enjoyed a welcome apéritif and lively conversation with the family and other guests and were then given a tour of the new ballroom where eight weddings have been hosted in the past year. Château du Fraisse hasn't seen the last of us!
We enjoyed the next few days and nights at Le Prieuré au Château de Biron where we learned that a new owner would soon be arriving. And, she has! Sally Evans, is an experienced hostess in the bed and breakfast industry, hails from England, and she and her daughter are presently redecorating guest rooms ~ but they are welcoming guests nonetheless. We loved the village of Biron, the enormous château open to public visits, and the one and only restaurant in town, a tiny family-run auberge with a good and interesting menu. A highlight of our time in the Dordogne was a visit to nearby Monpazier on market day, a village we visited for the first time in 1995.
Heading southward, we arrived at Château de Séguenville in the Haute-Garonne where we were the guests of Jean-Paul and Marie Lareng. What a captivating region of France! The château has been in the family since the 1930s, and sits atop a hill overlooking the village below. This young couple with two small children has renovated it to make each room unique and sophisticated. The bathrooms are all modern and the hot showers superb. Madame Lareng is a helpful and friendly lady who is a extraordinary chef ~ she was recently chosen by a German magazine as the best of twelve chefs in the region! Our time at Séguenville went all too quickly, but we did enjoy visits to Auch and delightful Lectoure which was a relaxing drive from the château through some truly beautiful countryside.
What a great time we had at Château de Sombrun in the Hautes-Pyrénées département, despite the fact that we were among the few guests who did not ride horseback. Our host, Jeffrey Quirk, is not only an avid horseman but a fine chef, and our dinner on the day we arrived seemed an unending feast of one delicious course after another. The next evening we went to a lovely local restaurant to celebrate the birthday of another of the guests. Each evening was enjoyed by all as we shared laughter and interesting conversation. Sombrun is near Pau, a city with a wide variety of shops and a morning indoor / outdoor market. We took time during our visit to the city for some shopping and lunch in a little brasserie where many locals were dining.
Finally reaching the Atlantic coast, we spent two incredible days at Villa le Goëland, the pride and joy of Paul Daraignez, our dedicated and very pleasant host. With views of Biarritz and the sea, this was definitely a highlight of our trip. We parked the car for two days and just enjoyed wandering around the city, walking on the beach and boardwalk, and trying to choose among the numerous fine restaurants and brasseries for lunch and dinner each day. For those of you who love the ocean climate, great seafood and clean, crisp air, Biarritz and Villa le Goëland are for you!
We were not disappointed with any of our accommodations. Our hosts and hostesses were all charming, helpful and friendly, and we highly recommend that you visit them on our web site and try to include one or two of these chambres d'hôtes on your next visit to France. You will be happy that you did!
of Cold Spring Press. All rights reserved. Mouse over photos
for a description.
*Visit our Wine Châteaux page very soon to share our visit to Domaine de la Plante d'Or.
An Elegant June Wedding in the Loire. . .
de Challain recently joined au Château
de Challain in the Pays de la
Loire simply takes your breath away with its Renaissance elegance and beauty,
and the stunning interiors will make it completely irresistible.
Lovely grounds, a great location near the famous royal châteaux of
the Loire, fine cuisine and the experience of château life will make
your stay at Château de Challain memorable and unique.
Later, the photographer took advantage of the gorgeous landscape surrounding the château for pictures of the guests and wedding party. Whether photographs were snapped in the gardens, on the steps of the grand château or at the foot of the drive, every location was perfect.
Châtelaine, Cynthia Nicholson, and her staff created a fairy tale wedding event in this jewel of a château, seeing to every detail to make this marriage celebration absolutely perfect. Following a lovely afternoon outdoors, the evening brought the guests to an elegant sit-down dinner at table settings fit for royalty. Candelight and exquisite surroundings made Lydia and David's wedding dinner a very special gathering on their very special day. The night was capped off with an exciting fireworks display.
If you are interested in learning more about a wedding at Château de Challain, please visit their pages on our web site where you will find contact information to reach Cynthia Nichols.
[We thank Duncan
Kerridge for allowing us to use his photographs for this feature article.
Book your room on our web site. . . .
Coming soon! You will soon be able to book a room at one or two of our member properties right on our web site. To quickly and easily determine room availability, simply fill in a few blanks and send the form directly to us. We will then get back to you regarding the rooms and dates you have requested. Look for this option when visiting properties on au Château.
Proprietors can, of course, be contacted directly from their first page on our site by email (all but a few have email), or you can send them a fax or phone them for booking information.
Remember to use our handy fax form to send credit card information after your reservation has been accepted. Keep in mind that it is very unwise to send credit card information via Email...always telephone or fax that information to proprietors.
Sponsoring this issue . . .
. . . Hear's
a Journey, the ideal companion to your drive in Provence.
If you are
interested in advertising with au Château,
French Quiz 55
Contemporary authors and their books on French life and culture:
(1) Harriet Welty Rochefort
(a) Culture Shock
You will find the correct answer at the end of this newsletter.
Château de Méouilles
Château de Méouilles, located in the Alpes de Haute Provence, is the perfect getaway location for those of you who would like to rent your 'own' château in the sun-filled southeast of France. What a great idea for the winter season!
High on a hill overlooking the verdant countryside, Château de Méouilles seems like a somber structure, but don't let first impressions fool you. This is a beautifully restored and richly appointed château offering two spacious apartments with fully-equipped kitchens, modern bathrooms and tasteful décor to make your stay truly memorable. A third apartment will be available beginning in June at the same time that the new swimming pool is completed.
The château was built by the Knights Templar in the twelfth century and still stands guard over the beautiful countryside at the foothills of the alps. It sparkles in the clear Provençal sunlight, and is a spacious and tranquil retreat from the crowds in the tourist centers farther south.
Yet, one will not be bored here. It is perfect country for hiking, walking, and fossil hunting, a local and very popular pastime. The château is also very near venues for tennis, golf, white-water sports, paragliding and more. The nearby spa town of Digne-les-Bains is worth a visit, and fine restaurants can be found in Saint André les Alpes and Castellane. For those seeking something more dramatic, the Gorges du Verdon and Corniche Sublime are an easy drive from the château. The larger town of Draguignan has all facilities, and for a day at the sea, the Mediterranean coast is not far ~ do visit the Roman city of Fréjus and its pedestrian-friendly marina area. The famous Route Napoléon (the N 85) passes through this region as well.
As the château enjoys many months of fine weather, the outdoors is a prime attraction. When the new swimming pool opens in June, guests may never want to do anything else! Terraces, both in sun and shade, are furnished for relaxation and your dining comfort. Meals in Provence are always enjoyable whether taken inside or en plein air.
Do pay Château de Méouilles a visit on our web site. This ancient fortress château in the 'Secret Alps of Provence', a region possessing an exciting, although turbulent, history, is a warm and comfortable gathering place for family and friends who wish to indulge themselves for a week or longer in their 'own' Provençal château.
property of M. and Mme Bertrand MASSON]
€ $ Room Rates $ €
Please be aware that the current rates are given on each member's first page on our site. Those prices remain in effect until the dates specified, or, if no date is mentioned, until December 31st.
Soon we will be updating the room rates for 2006. Expect any reservations booked now for 2006 to be at the new rates ~ as they are not posted to our site, please inquire when booking.
Although most of our members' prices are in Euros, occasionally one will be in US dollars. If you are paying by credit card, you will always be billed in your own currency, so these differences should not create any problems for you.
If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
French Quiz 56
The roads of France...
(1) The péripherique
(a) Paris to Provence
You will find the correct answer at the end of this newsletter.
We bid Adieu
Occasionally, and regrettably, we must say good-bye to members of our web site. In the case of château chambres d'hôtes, it is more and more common that a visitor or guest becomes so enthralled with a place that they make an offer to buy it! Often, the offer comes just at a time when the owner is ready to change course.
Easy Recipe: Goat Cheese with Raspberry Vinegar
This is a wonderful little recipe for lovers of chèvre cheese!
You will need 2 medium-sized fresh goat cheeses (about 11 ounces / 330g) total. Two and a half teaspoons of raspberry vinegar and one tablespoon of lavender honey.
In a medium bowl, using a fork or sturdy whisk, mix the raspberry vinegar into the goat cheese. Pack the cheese into little molds that have just been rinsed in water (so that the cheese is easily removed from the molds), or place in a small dish and refrigerate overnight.
At least 30 minutes before serving, remove the cheese from the refrigerator and remove it from the molds. Just before serving, heat the honey just enough to liquefy and pour it over the goat cheese. [You can also form quenelles of goat cheese by forming it into ovals using 2 soup spoons, and then arrange 2 or 3 on each of 6 serving plates. Then drizzle with the warm honey.]
Makes 6 small servings. Bon appétit!
[We thank Susan
Herrmann Loomis for her permission to take this
Visit her web
site at http://www.onruetatin.com/
for information about
We hope you
au Château News.
to Quiz 55 - 1d 2e 3a 4f 5c 6h 7b 8g