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                           Fall for France ~ September / October 2005



Gracious Guests & Friendly Hosts

Although travelers may be well versed on getting around a foreign country, ordering in restaurants in the native language or finding just the right guide book get to the most interesting sights, they may not be familiar with chambres d'hôtes  ~ staying in one is a different experience from being a guest in a hotel. 

There is definitely an etiquette to being a guest in someone's home, and we thought we'd pass on some helpful tips suggested by those in the bed and breakfast industry in the US.  The same guidelines would apply to staying in a French château.

  • Be sure of your hosts' house rules on smoking before you book a reservation.
  • If you have special requirements such as needing a longer bed or if you are allergic to pets, let them know when you are booking your room.
  • Any special food requirements should be worked out with your hosts  prior to your arrival.
  • Let your hosts know your time of arrival on the first day.  If you will arrive past 6 PM or are unexpectedly delayed en route, phone them.
  • Always park where your hosts have indicated either by pointing the area out to you or by their posted signs.
  • You should never bring pets without prior permission from your hosts.  The same applies to extra guests.
  • If your little dog has received the hosts' 'okay' to join you in their home, bring the dog's own dishes, food, leash and toys.  Do not let your dog roam freely in the house or on the property.  It should always be on a lead when out of your room.
  • Furnishings are often antiques and family heirlooms.  They should be treated with extra care.
  • You are not free to use the kitchen, the washing machine or any other appliances without prior agreement with your hosts.  The exception, of course, is if you rent a gîte (self-catering quarters) or an apartment with kitchen facilities.
  • Ask before using a telephone, and use it only for local calls.  You should charge long distance calls to your home phone, use your cell phone or go off the property to a pay phone to use a calling card.
  • Bring a robe to wear if you are sharing the bathroom down the hall with other guests (most unlikely at our member properties as they offer en suite bathrooms), and be sure to leave the bathroom as clean as you found it. 
  • Don't wander into family areas of the house.  Your hosts appreciate their privacy just as you do yours.
  • Depending upon the particular establishment, your bed may or may not be made each day.  You might want to do so yourself.
  • Ask if you are permitted to have a drink in your room.  It is usually taboo to eat in your room as it encourages insect pests and other problems.
  • Find out what time breakfast will be served.  Some establishments have a set time, while others have a buffet where you can help yourself over a three-hour period.
  • If you are going out for the evening, tell your hosts what time you will return.  They will be sure that you can re-enter the château at that hour.  Most properties lock up at night, so try not to return after the agreed-upon time.
  • Never leave a tip 'for the chamber maid' at a French chambre d'hôte.  If you feel your hosts have been especially kind or helpful to you, leave a small, inexpensive gift for them.
So, you see it is really like staying at the home of a friend when you are a guest at any of our properties.   Your hosts enjoy sharing their homes with guests from all over the world, and with little difficulty at all, you may find you're one of the best guests they've ever had!

Use our handy Fax Form

Remember,  if you want to contact any member of au Château by fax to inquire about accommodations or to make a reservation, you can easily print out our fax form which provides spaces for all necessary details of your planned stay with them. 

Clickhere 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.

Keep in mind that it is very unwise to send credit card information via Email...always telephone or fax that information to proprietors.

                                                                                      Bon voyage!

Look for our newest symbol...

In our last issue we described the meaning behind each of the symbols you might find on the first page of a member's property.   Since then, we have added a new icon representing gîtes that are available on a château property.

  If you are not looking for a bed and breakfast but rather a self-catering accommodation on the grounds of a château or nearby, look for this symbol on our member pages.  The gîtes or cottages all have fully-equipped kitchens, usually a washing machine and other equipment to allow you to be self-sufficient during your stay.  Guests have use of the château pool, tennis courts or other available amenities.

We hope all our symbols make it easier for you to determine at a glance what may be available at our member's châteaux, manoirs or priories.  Look for additional symbols as new activities come to light from time to time.


French Château Note Cards

 Beautiful original pen and ink drawings of a dozen French château chambres d'hôtes 
can be yours in the form of note cards with matching envelopes.  Simply click on
any butterfly above to see them and to find out how to order yours.
The holidays are coming and our note cards make excellent, original gifts!

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

New owners . . .

We are always saddened when château owners we have come to know decide to sell their property to someone else.  The new owners are, of course, most likely to be lovely people as well, but we still feel a sense of loss knowing we may lose contact with those we have known and worked with for many years.

Château de la Ballue, BrittanySuch is the case at Château de la Ballue in Brittany.  Monsieur Alain Schrotter and Madame Marie-France Barrère sold the château and moved away on August 15th.  They spent many years restoring the classical gardens, creating new ones and taking excellent care of the château itself.  It became a retreat for their artist friends, and the sculptures in the garden attested to their own love of contemporary art.   When we were guests of Ballue, we were very impressed with the pristine condition of the château both inside and out.  We wish them both the very best in their new endeavors, and we hope to soon welcome the new owners to au Château.

The château remains on our web site.  If you are interested in booking accommodations there and you have any difficulty doing so, please contact us at

French Quiz 53

Test your knowledge of geographical France:

        (1)  Volcanic parks are a main attraction   (a)  Aquitaine
          (2)  The Gorges du Tarn is here               (b)  Normandy
            (3)  Enjoy the vast pine forests               (c)  Aveyron
              (4)  Early man's artwork                         (d)  Auvergne
                (5)  Highest tides in Europe                    (e)  Provence
                  (6)  The mouth of the Rhône                  (f)  Dordogne


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


We cannot stress enough the importance of transmitting your credit card information very cautiously!  As we receive Email copies of many communications between guests and proprietors, in recent months we've been aware credit card numbers sent via Email by travelers.

Email is not secure!  There are those who are able to retrieve that information once you hit the 'Send' button, and they are not the people for whom the information is intended.

When providing credit card information, use a secure web site (many of our members have such pages on their own web sites accessible from au Château), or telephone your hosts with the information, or Fax the credit card information to them.  Almost all of our members have fax machines.

If you ever have any doubts or concerns about how to provide credit card information to any of our members, you can contact us at  But, please don't include credit card information in that Email!

Paris Apartments to Rent or Own . . .

Lovely Paris apartmentAre you looking for a Paris apartment to rent for either a long term stay in the city or for only a week or two of vacation?  Or, are you thinking about buying a Paris apartment of your very own? 

American, Glenn Cooper, of A1 Rentals in Paris, might be able to help you on both counts.  His easy-to-use web site is an excellent source for those who want to rent, with a fine selection of beautiful apartments, great color photos, and complete descriptions. 

Glenn also provides consulting to help Americans buy apartments in Paris.   He recently assisted clients who found their dream apartment in the 7th arrondissement near the Eiffel Tower.  A visit to the A1 web site will describe services offered which include sharing years of  knowledge for purchasing and renovating Paris apartments. He will help you with the real estate issues, dealing with the paperwork, notaries, insurance, and everything necessary to achieve ownership of a Parisian  pied-à-terre.

For more information about renting or buying, we suggest that you visit this helpful web site at  You might find the perfect apartment for your next stay in Paris!

French Quiz 54

    What do you know about administrative France:  True or False?

           (1)  There are 95 départements in mainland France
             (2)  Llivia, surrounded by France, is owned by Spain
               (3)  France has borders with 8 countries or principalities
                 (4)  There are 22 regions of mainland France
                   (5)  Lac Léman is France's natural border with Switzerland
                     (6)  Overseas départements/territoires are abbreviated DOM-TOMs


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

 Easy Recipe: Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

This perky salad dressing is the easiest to prepare and adds zest and flavor to any salad.

You will need a half cup [125 mL] of extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons [30 mL] of Dijon mustard, 1 1/2 tablespoons [22 mL] freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and crushed, 2 teaspoons [10 mL] of finely chopped fresh parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Et voila! Bon appétit!

[Recipe from Michel Montignac Recipes and Menus, by Michel Montignac,
published 1999 by Michel-Ange Publishing, Canada
ISBN 0-9684029-2-5]

We hope you have enjoyed au Château News
If you have,  please forward it to friends and encourage them to subscribe.  It's FREE!

[The answers to Quiz 53 - 1d, 2c, 3a, 4f, 5b, 6e
Quiz 54:  all  true except 4. There are 21.  The 22nd is Corsica.]

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