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                                        January / February 2007

                             >  Two New Members Join our Web Site
                                                      -  Château de Vaudezert
                                                      -  Castel Merle
                                                            >  We bid adieu to Château de Lezhildry
                                            >   A Week of Art in the Dordogne
                                   >   It's Easy to Rent A Car in France


A Winter's Scene

Château des Tesnières in winter

We just couldn't resist sharing this photo of Château des Tesnières
with all of you.  It seems a fitting tribute to the serene beauty of winter and
 the magnificent châteaux and manoirs our web site brings to you
throughout all seasons of the year.   Happy New Year!

[Photo credit:  John & Seibren Demandt Boon, Château des Tesnières]

Welcome Château de Vaudezert

A Superb Normandy Retreat

Château de Vaudezert

Château de Vaudezert ini Normandy

You will be enchanted by the lovingly-restored Normandy Château de Vaudezert that is both inviting and well located for anyone looking for a quality accommodation in an area rich with medieval villages and fascinating history.  Set in the National Park of Normandie-Maine, and only ten kilometers from both the spa town of Bagnole de l'Orne and the medieval town of Domfront, guests will find that both the warmth of their Australian-born hosts and the luxurious comfort of their accommodations will fulfill all their expectations.

The chapel on the grounds, built in 1949, is now the dining hall for family celebrations and wedding receptions.  Do inquire about having a wedding or family event at the château ~ you will find it a perfect venue and easy to reach for your guests. 
Vaudezert Dining HallAt this time there is only one guest suite  named for the Charbonnel family who sold the château to the current owners.  But, by April of 2007, Le Pavillon will be available to receive self-catering guests, and two new suites, Madeline and Fourée, will be completed to accept additional bed and breakfast guests. 

Guests of Château de Vaudezert will not only find the area surrounding the château and the grounds beautiful and peaceful and their accommodation perfect,  but the warm welcome they receive from the Blanshards will make their time at the Château filled with happy moments they will long remember. 
                                                                       A lovely wedding reception in the chapel

Please visit Château de Vaudezert today on our site for a virtual visit and information on amenities, local attractions and pricing.  We are very pleased to welcome this château to our web site and to add one more wonderful place to stay in Normandy

                                [Photos copyrighted and the property of M. et Mme Blanshard
                                          Château de Vaudezert.  All rights reserved.]


France Car

When considering a member of au Château for your stay in France,
be sure to click on the Car Rental link on the château's page.
This discounted, convenient rental service offers a wide choice
of vehicles and prices.  Click on the banner to reach their web site.

French Quiz 69 

Match the names with the careers/vocations

               (1)  Charles deGaulle                  (a) Dramatist
                 (2)  Louis de Frontenac              (b) Jesuit Priest
                   (3)  Roland Garros                     (c) French Governor of Québec
                     (4)  Jean Racine                       (d) Mathematician
                       (5)  Jacques Marquette             (e) General
                         (6)  René Descartes                 (f)  WWI Flying Ace


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

Art Classes in the Dordogne 

Sign up today to participate in art classes (all levels) taught by professional artist, Jenny Webb, scheduled for the weeks of April 28 and September 29, 2007. The all inclusive price per person is 980 euros including transportation from and back to Bergerac airport, daily breakfast, light lunch and dinner each day (wine included), accommodation at Le Prieuré au Château de Biron   (double occupancy), and daily art classes.

To register for one of these sessions, contact Sally at Le Prieuré by clicking on her name.  She will be happy to answer all your questions and to arrange for your complete comfort and enjoyment at her beautiful priory.  [You might also want to inquire about the Perigordine Gastronomic event scheduled at the Priory between July 7 and 21, 2007.]

Villes et Villages de France

 . . . we hope to tempt you to visit these marvelous places
when you are roaming through the French countryside.

Cardinal Richelieu

Just inside one of the roofed gateways, near the entrance to the city's fine park,
is this statue of Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642) no longer Prime Minister 
steering the course of Louis XIII's reign but now simply overseeing a 
small tourist parking area.  Cardinal Richelieu, greatly responsible for France's 
involvement in the Thirty Years War (1635), left his mark on French history. 
The town of Richelieu is quite charming and a fine place to visit.
Created in the early 17th century in honor of its famous statesman, 
it is a walled and moated town and considered a model of urban design.
 The Cardinal's palace was demolished in the 19th century, 
but the park that remains (owned by the University of Paris) is exquisite in its 
design and worth a visit.  Just out of sight in this photo is a fine restaurant 
aptly named Auberge le Cardinal where we enjoyed a lovely lunch.
 In a departure from our usual Ville et Villages feature (just one photo), we are
 including two more photos, one of the park and the other of the restaurant interior.
  When in the Indre-et-Loire  département in France's Centre region, we hope 
you will take time to pay historic Richelieu a visit ~ it is just southeast of Chinon. 

The park in RichelieuAuberge le Cardinal

Where to stay? 
Near Richelieu,  these places to stay are members of our web site:

Château de Bournand - Charming Bed & Breakfast and Gîte for weekly rental located in the village of Bournand just southwest of Chinon.

Château de Détilly - Lovely château, apartment and coach house for rent by the week in Beaumont-en-Veron just west of Chinon.

[Photos copyrighted by Cold Spring Press 2007.  All rights reserved.]

Welcome to Castel Merle in the Périgord

Castel Merle

Castel Merle sits on 18 hectares of meadows and forests

We can't say enough good things about the delightful Dordogne département of southwest France.  Exquisitely preserved prehistoric sites, incredible rivers bordered by timeless villages,  and fine cuisine all come together in this region to ensure the most memorable of holidays. 

Near the bastide town of Monpazier is Castel Merle, situated on 18 hectares of meadowlands and woods and dating from the 13th century.  Here you can become the lord or lady of the manor when you rent the entire château for a week or two with family or friends. 

During the past three years, the present owners sympathetically restored Castel Merle to accommodate 10 guests in three double guest rooms and two suites.  A live-in staff includes a chef who provides breakfast each day and dinner five nights out of seven (included in the rental rate) and a housekeeper to keep things neat and tidy.  The château is available for weekly rental from June 3 to July 22, 2007 (if booked prior to March 15) and August 12 to September 30, 2007.
Guest SuiteGuests will appreciate the fine furniture, art work and antiques, as well as all necessary modern conveniences.  Enjoy the spacious salon and cheery dining room.  A library, bar, Sky TV, stereo system and more special amenities make it comfortable while the guest rooms, all en suite, some with four-poster beds, create quiet retreats for their occupants.

Your stay at Castel Merle will allow easy trips to Bordeaux, market day in Monpazier, and visits to many of the fine perched villages and bastide towns of the region.  Do contact them soon for your reservation, as the few weeks they are open to guests will fill up fast!
                       Spacious Guest Suite

[Photos copyrighted and the property of
Mr Simon Hirst,  Castel Merle.  All rights reserved.]


FRANCE 2007 Calendar, © 2006 - 2007  Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved

A very limited number of FRANCE 2007 Calendars are available
presenting lovely pen and ink drawings of châteaux found on our web site.

  Professionally drawn, these one-page-per-month calendars are in French
with all major French holidays.

The price is $12.00 including shipping to US addresses.  Inquire for shipping elsewhere.

Click on the logo above to pay securely with PayPal on our FRANCE On Your Own
 web site.  You may pay by check or credit card.   If we run out of calendars
before shipping a calendar to you, you will receive a full refund.

Contact us at

French Quiz 70

Pseudonyms . . . Match them up!

                  (1)  Molière                   (a)  Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin
                    (2)  Georges Sand          (b)  Marie-Henri Beyle
                      (3)  Voltaire                  (c)  François Marie Arouet
                        (4)  Stendahl                (d)  Jean-Baptiste Poquelin


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

 Easy Recipe:   Poires au Vin Rouge

This recipe, pears poached in red wine, is not only easy but seasonal.  Pears are a wonderful autumn and early winter fruit and translate well into a delicate and easy dessert.  The pears in this recipe will finish with a rosy glow and may become the highlight of your dinner party.

You will need four ripe pears, peeled and cored (but leave the stems intact), 1/2 lemon, 3 cups of dry red wine, 1/2 cup sugar, a two-inch strip of lemon peel, one stick of cinnamon, four whole black peppercorns and one vanilla bean split lengthwise.   Cut a circle of waxed paper that will fit inside the saucepan.

Rub the pears with the 1/2 lemon to prevent them from turning brown.  Set them aside.   In a saucepan put all the other ingredients and bring the liquid to a boil.  Simmer the syrup for 5 minutes or until transparent.  Stir occasionally.  Add the pears to the syrup, cover with the circle of waxed paper, and cook for 20 to 25 more minutes barely at a simmer.  Turn them occasionally.  Set aside and let the pears cool in the liquid.

Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the pears to your serving dish.  Strain the liquid that remains into another smaller pot and reduce it to about 1 cup over a medium heat.  Let it cool down until it is just comfortably warm and pour it over the pears.  Let the pears cool to room temperature and serve this way or chilled.  You can top each with a sprig of mint.

Serves 4.   Bon appétit!

[Recipe adapted from The Best of France cookbook by Evie Richter,
recipes by Georgia Downard, ISBN 0-00-255086-5
Published by Smallwood and Stewart, New York - 1992]

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 69 - 1e, 2c, 3f, 4a, 5b, 6d
Quiz 70 -  1d, 2a , 3c, 4b]

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