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                               Travel Incentives  ~   May / June 2005

                                                  Welcoming 2 New Members


US Dollars in Europe . . .

We all know that the US dollar isn't what it was only a few years ago when exchanged for euros.  Lodging, meals and train travel in Europe are more costly ~ up as much as 25% over the days when the euro and dollar were nearly on a par.

Well, it's possible for the readers of this newsletter and the visitors to au Château who travel with US dollars to once again have parity with the strong euro.  Three of our members are offering accommodations at € 1 = $1 in 2005 to guests coming to them from au Château

Beautiful Château La Thillaye
The first is Château La Thillaye in Normandy, a stunningly beautiful château in a great location.  Beyond the exquisite bed and breakfast accommodations, the château also offers frequent packages beginning with a champagne welcome and specially priced to include a picnic basket for two, dinner, and breakfast.  Please consider this fine property now offering substantial savings to holders of US dollars on their room rates.

The grand Château de Garrevaques
The  second property is offering its Spa Package at € 1 = $1 in 2005 to guests coming to them from au Château. Château de Garrevaques has just recently opened a spa and restaurant facility with 15 air-conditioned guest rooms on the grounds of their beautiful château.  The Spa Package includes 3 days of half-board accommodation and 3 spa treatments.  You can read all the details of this offering on our Special Offers page.  Garrevaques is located in the lovely Tarn region of southwestern France not far from Toulouse, Albi and the Canal du Midi ~ an ideal vacation spot!

Biron Village Château ArchwayOnly 3 days left!
Don't miss the limited time offer from au Château and Le Prieuré au Château de Biron in the popular tourist destination of France's Dordogne:  all room rates will be charged at € 1 = $1 in 2005 for guests coming to them from au Château  ~  if bookings are made by April 30th.  This same offer of parity applies to the cost of the upcoming Prehistoric & Medieval Southwestern France Tours scheduled for June 20 - 27 and September 26 - October 3, 2005.  Each tour package will be $1225 with a single surcharge of $175, a substantial savings, if booked by April 30th. Limited to ten guests, each tour is comfortably paced and personalized for participants.  Read details here or send an email for more information, to answer your questions, or to reserve a place on one of the two tours:

Click on the name of any property above to visit their pages and to access contact information.

[Please note that the euro to dollar parity applies only to 2005 room rates at
Château La Thillaye and Le Prieuré au Château de Biron, and applies to the
entire Spa Package at Château de Garrevaques and the Prehistoric Tours 
in association with Le Prieuré.  Airfare is not included in any case.]

If you need some incentive to travel to France in 2005, we hope that the three offers above will provide just that!   Remember, we're here to answer your questions, so feel free to drop us an email at any time at

Use our handy Fax Form

If you want to contact any member of au Château by fax to inquire about accommodations or to send them your credit card information when confirming a reservation, simply use our convenient Fax Form.  Click here to open the form, print it out, complete the information and fax it to the owner.  Fax numbers are provided on each member's first page at the top left.

Remember, it is very unwise to send credit card information via Email...always telephone or fax that information to proprietors.

                                                                                      Bon voyage!

A Sponsor of Our Newsletter. . .

Château de Clapier

Cooking and Painting in Provence !

 The wine estate of Château de Clapier in Provence now offers
1- and 5-day Cooking courses, a 2-day Wine & Gastronomy Workshop
and a 6-day Cooking & Painting course.  Click on the banner
above to learn more, or email

[Would your business benefit from sponsoring a future newsletter?
Please contact us at]

Château Juvenal

Tucked away in the vineyards & olive groves of Provence . . .

Château Juvenal


Provence is a favorite destination of visitors to France.  For those interested in history and the many impressive structures left behind by the Romans, it is a treasure trove.  For those more focused on great weather and fine cuisine, it is certainly the place to be! 

Château Juvenal, one of our site's newest members,  provides comfortable and cheery accommodations in the magnificent Vaucluse département allowing visitors easy access to the historic and gastronomic delights of the region.  But, Juvenal is not just a bed and breakfast.  It is a wine producing estate as well as one that presses its own quality olive oils.  The vineyards and groves are the landscape of this fascinating château, with the Dentelles mountains providing a truly Provençal backdrop.

Suite GenetChambre Cerise

                                                                Cheerful Suite and Guest Room 

Guest rooms and the suite are spacious and sunny, each with a fine modern en suite bathroom.  One double room's bathroom offers a grand marble shower with jet sprays!  A special discount of 10% is offered for stays of 3 or more nights ~  and a further reduction is offered for stays of 7 nights or longer.  Prices vary with the seasons ~ high season is July and August; mid Season is May and June and low season is September through April.  Guests can request non-smoking rooms.

Breakfast is included in the room rates, and dinner can be enjoyed at the château with prior reservations for € 26 per person.  As the estate produces its own wine, it will be an enjoyable experience to sample those ~ they are included in the dinner price.  Wander through the vineyards or take part in wine tastings presented by your hosts, Ann-Marie and Bernard Forestier.

Vines enhance the landscape of Château Juvenal
  The luscious vineyards of Château Juvenal

The Forestiers also offer guests the opportunity to participate in painting or cooking courses, tango lessons, cheese and wine tasting and, in January, truffle tasting!  Reiki Massage is available upon request as well.   And, there is a wonderful swimming pool for guests' enjoyment after a busy day sightseeing.

Even the most seasoned traveler will find Château Juvenal unique and inviting.  Whether strolling the peaceful grounds, walking through the vineyards, sitting pool side with a cool drink, or playing a game of billiards or ping pong, there is much to do and enjoy at the château to make your Provençal vacation very special.

The vicinity is rich with quaint villages, historical visits to Orange, Avignon and Vaison la Romaine, antiques markets at L'Isle sur la Sorgue, lavender fields, vineyard visits in Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and great open country for outdoor activities like cycling, hiking near Mont Ventoux and walking.   Do visit the château on our web pages soon!

[Photos: property of Château Juvenal. All rights reserved.]

 Your Personal Chauffeur in French Wine Country

We understand that there are many people visiting France who would love a guided tour through the vineyards, stopping for tastings and receiving  knowledgeable information along the way.  Perhaps we have found the just what those people are seeking! Pierre Galmes

Pierre Galmes is an accredited chauffeur who is discreet, fluent in English, professional in every way and drives a sparkling clean, air-conditioned car  -- and Pierre is a non-smoker. He has expertise in all important wine regions of France from the Loire Valley to the Rhône, from Champagne, Alsace and Burgundy to Bordeaux.   Pierre helps his clients to discover all the famous places they have read about as well as equally wonderful places they may never have known.  His inside information and ability to provide insight into the world of wine makes tours with Pierre rewarding experiences -- you could enjoy private tastings and meet some of the important people behind the production of France's greatest wines!

And now, Pierre has facilities for chauffeuring wheelchair users in the appropriate licensed vehicles (please access his web site,  and he has identified hotels, restaurants, places of interest and hire vehicles for the wheelchair user (please

Details of chauffeured tours are available on Pierre's web site at where you will find testimonials from previous guests, a schedule of tours for 2005 (his availability is not limited to these), information on your safety and security while traveling with him, and much more.  Do pay the site a visit!  You may find you have just discovered the ideal way to visit French wine country!

French Quiz 49

Test your knowledge of Burgundy.  True or False?

 1.  Cave dwellers known as Solutreans occupied Burgundy 2300 years ago.
 2.  Celtic tribes from Sens led an invasion into Italy and held Rome captive for 7 months.
 3.  Vézelay was the site of the excommunication of Henry II of England by Thomas à Becket.
 4.  The 2nd and 3rd Crusades originated in Vézelay.
 5.  The primary grapes of Burgundy include Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Chardonnay.
 6. Only 5% of mustard, for which Dijon is famous, is grown in Burgundy today.
 7.  Burgundian specialties include poulet à la crème, escargot, and oeufs en meurette.
 8.  François Mitterand's political base was in Burgundy.


You will find the correct answer at the end of this newsletter.

Château de Challain 

A fairy tale castle in the Maine-et-Loire . . .

This breathtaking château has been called 'le Petit Chambord' partly for its ornate towers and roof lines. Please join us in welcoming the beautiful Château de Challain to our web site.

Château de Challain


The American owners of this magnificent fairy tale château have completely renovated the property, and for the past several years have operated very charming and historic chambres d'hôtes catering to those seeking luxurious accommodations in the Loire region.  Gala events are also held at the château, making it a center of activity in the Maine-et-Loire, a peaceful part of the French countryside.
The Luxurious Tower Suite
The owner, Cynthia Nicholson, is an interior designer, and her touch is exquisitely expressed in each and every guest room.  Treasured antique furnishings, sumptuous fabrics and a sophisticated color palette combine to create captivating spaces where guests will feel like royalty!  And, of course, each room has its own private en suite bathroom with all modern amenities including robes, slippers and hairdryers.

                           The magnificent Tower Suite

Incredible full breakfasts are served each morning from 7 to 10 AM, in order that guests can be on their way for day trips at the time that suits them best.   Lunch and dinner, with advance notice, can be taken at the château as well.  A chef is on site to preparefine meals of fresh regional produce.  The chef's great culinary expertise promises a dining experience presenting the best the Loire Valley has to offer. A full wine cellar provides dinner guest with a range of excellent vintages, and wine is included in the price of dinner.

Elegant SalonGrand Stairway

                          The elegant  salon and grand stairway at the Château

Weddings are a specialty of Château de Challain, and what better backdrop could a bride and groom ask for?  The storybook atmosphere, the seductive charm and the special location of the château will make a splendid occasion even more extraordinary.

The area north of the Loire is spectacular in itself.   Not far from the fine cities of Angers (visit the Château d' Angers) and Nantes (the Château du Ducs de Bretagne is worth a half day in itself), the château is also conveniently located for visits to many of the grand châteaux of the Loire such as Saumur or the Abbaye de Fontevraud.  It is surrounded by pleasant countryside and near many of the prime Loire Valley vineyards where visitors are warmly welcomed for tastings.  The people of this part of France are extremely friendly and welcoming, which will make a stay at Château de Challain all the more enjoyable.

                       [Photos courtesy and copyrighted by C Nicholson.  All rights reserved]

Coming Soon . . .

If you have stayed at any of the properties represented by au Château, you will have fond memories and lots of photos!  Very soon you can also see some of those properties depicted on lovely note cards. 

The French have always favored written communication ~ handwritten messages to express friendship, to send news, to give thanks for gifts or favors ~ and our original note cards are perfect to send handwritten missives to your friends, whether in France or elsewhere.

Each card, and there is an assortment of 10 per package, has a pen and ink drawing of a French château or manor house.  Each is exclusive to our company, so they cannot be found in shops or elsewhere on the Internet, with the exception of our 'sister' web site, FRANCE On Your Own.

Please be sure to visit our web site again soon to see examples of the note cards with prices and information on how to order yours.  They make lovely gifts or are ideally suited for your own personal use. 

A Sponsor of Our Newsletter. . .


Paris presents many challenges when one is seeking a well-located hotel 
that is both comfortable and reasonably priced.  Discounted Paris Hotels
can provide everything from descriptions, locations and booking on line.
Please click on the above flag to visit their web site.

[For information about sponsoring a future newsletter, contact us at]

French Quiz 50

    Rivers and Towns  ~   Match the following:

                                  (1) La Roque Gageac        (a) Loire
                                    (2) Valence                    (b) Vienne
                                      (3) Périgueux                  (c) Vézère
                                        (4) Chinon                      (d)  Isle
                                          (5) Montignac                 (e) Dordogne
                                            (6) Dax                          (f) Mayenne
                                                       (7) Laval                        (g) Rhône
                                                (8) Nantes                     (h) Adour


You will find the correct answer at the end of this newsletter.

   Easy Recipe: Crème de Cresson

For Spring, we've found a nice cream of watercress soup that's quick, easy and delicious. 

You will need 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 red potato, peeled sliced, a large bunch of watercress rinsed and patted dry, 3 tablespoons flour,  a can of chicken broth, 1/2 cup heavy cream, salt and pepper.  Reserve a few leaves of watercress for garnish.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, and add the watercress, potato, salt and pepper.   Cover and cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Gradually add flour, and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.  Finally, add the stock and bring the entire mixture to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes more.  Stir occasionally.

Purée the soup in your food processor and return it to the saucepan.  Add cream and cook gently until it is back up to temperature.  Stir occasionally.

Place into soup bowls, garnish the top with a few leaves of watercress and serve. Serves 4.  Bon appétit!

We hope you have enjoyed au Château News
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[The answer to Quiz 49:  all are true;  Quiz 50 1e, 2g, 3d, 4b, 5c, 6h, 7f, 8a]

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