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                                        July / August 2007

                  ** Please welcome back Château de Seillans to au Château !

                           ** French Language Immersion lessons at member châteaux

                             **  Visit our member wine & champagne estates



         Bastille Day Greetings . .

Click on the web link below if you would like to send 
web greetings to your French and Francophile friends for
the upcoming (July 14) holiday - Fête Nationale 

French Immersion at Elegant Châteaux

Learn French by speaking it with your hosts
and other guests during your stay.

Three of our members offer French Immersion for their guests:  Château de la Barre in the lovely Sarthe of northwest France, Château de Chambost in the Rhône-Alpes and Château de Garrevaques in the Tarn of the Midi-Pyrénées region. 

For visitors to France who wish to combine a luxurious château living experience with learning French by using it for several hours each day in a practical and conversational way, choosing one of these properties is ideal.

Château de la Barre
Château de la Barre offers morning and afternoon sessions when only French is spoken, and in the evenings French only is spoken at the dinner table between the hosts and their guests.  This method is very successful to hone the French you already know and to learn useful and practical everyday French.  Courses in combination with your stay can be scheduled at almost any time of year.

Château de Chambost's hosts, both native French speakers, offer immersion for their guests at various times of the year.  You may also want to combine learning French or improving your skills while taking a cooking course also offered at Château de Chambost.  Both are available, but please contact the owners for schedules and availability.

Château de Garrevaques, a family estate with its own spa and restaurants, has recently begun offering classes in French Immersion.  Inquire with the proprietors regarding cost and availability.  A gîte is also available on the château grounds for those desiring self-catering accommodations.

We hope you will soon find yourself in France studying French with the French at one of the above châteaux.  Also, if you are booking rooms at another of au Château's member properties, do be sure to inquire if they, too, offer French immersion courses.

Please visit the châteaux on our web site to see photos and more information about each property and the wonderful attractions found nearby.

[Photos courtesy of respective owners.  All rights reserved.]

Did you know . . .

that France's healthcare system is rated #1 by the World Health Organization
the last time ratings were done?

Medical care in France is the world's best.  This is an undisputed fact and based upon 
infant mortality rates, preventive medicine and overall positive results from both hospital 
and doctor care.  Why, French doctors still make house calls!  Think of how 
reassuring that is if you have an elderly relative or an ill infant or child at home 
and need attention for them at any hour of night or day.  France can be
justifiably proud of the quality care provided by its healthcare system.

French Quiz 75 

How well do you know Paris?  Match the following:

                     (1)  Napoléon's Tomb     (a)  to the Louvre and Notre Dame, for example
                       (2)  Musée d'Orsay        (b)  Eiffel Tower
                         (3)  Batobus                (c)  Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf
                           (4)  rue Cler                 (d)  rail station to Orléans
                             (5)  Champs de Mars      (e)  street markets
                               (6)  Montmartre             (f)  Musée de l'Armée
                                 (7)  Père Lachaise          (g)  former wine market
                                   (8)  Bercy                     (h)  funiculaire


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

Villes et Villages de France

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

Delightful Vitré

    A street in Vitré

 After several earlier visits to Brittany, we chose to stay in the eastern
portion of the region, very near Normandy, last year.  It was while 
we were guests at the lovely Château des Tesnièresthat we were
directed by our hosts to Vitré one evening for dinner.  This charming town,
birthplace of Madame de Sévigné, impressed us immensely.
  There were buildings with amazing tromp l'oeil paintings on their façades,
a huge number of fine timberframe homes from the 15th and 16th centuries,
~ beautifully maintained today for us all to enjoy ~ and lovely little surprises
around every bend.  We returned several times over the few days 
we were in the region and remember a particularly lazy 
Sunday afternoon sitting later by the village fountain while
enjoying a pastry from one of the few shops that was open. 
Vitré should be on everyone's list of 'must see' towns!

tromp l'oeil wallChâteau de Vitré

A tromp l'oeil wall (what is real?) and the Château de Vitré

[Photo credits:  © 2006-2007 Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

Sponsoring this issue . . .

When traveling in France, especially driving through the countryside,
you might find it to your advantage to have a cell phone for emergencies or
to contact the château proprietors who are expecting you.
Click on the above banner to find out more!

Our Wine & Champagne Members Welcome You!

Vineyards and Tastings...among the vines

If you are particularly interested in visiting French wine country, we have many properties that will most definitely appeal to you.

First, in Bordeaux you can stay at either Château Meyre (where you will be surrounded by vines producing award-winning wines) or Château Coulon Laurensac where the hosts are wine experts and arrange wonderful wine excursions for their guests.  Also, there is Château du Foulon, which, although it doesn't produce wine itself, is on the famed Médoc peninsula and very near prestigious châteaux such as Margaux and Rothschild.  Château Lagorce will happily arrange guided tours of vineyards and enjoyable wine tastings when you book your week-long stay at this spacious self-catering property.

In Burgundy, don't miss a stay at Château de Chorey, just completely renovated and overlooking its own vines.  The respected wines of this Chorey des Beaunes château can be found in France's best restaurants.  Of course, Château de Villette is within easy reach of the Côte de Beaune appellations.

Just to the north is Domaine Ployez-Jacquemart, a fine producer of Champagne for generations and only recently offering lovely and luxurious bed and breakfast accommodations.  For exquisite dining, try their exclusive restaurant where you will enjoy many of their award-winning Champagnes with your meal.

When in Provence, you must stay at Château Juvenal which not only produces its own heavenly southern wines, but also turns out a great olive oil from its groves.  This is a two-for-one experience indeed!  Le Pavillon de Galon is quite near the vineyards of Côtes du Luberon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône and Hermitage.  And, Domaine le Vallon in Provence is a stone's throw from Vacqueyras, Gigondas, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape villages and vineyards.  Château Talaud produces its own Côtes du Ventoux wines and has an exceptional wine cellar.

In the Loire, Château de Reignac and Château du Breuil are steps away from the vineyards producing the much-admired wines of the Loire Valley.  At du Breuil you can sample the fine local Cheverny wines, and at Reignac you will be near the vineyards and tasting rooms of Chinon, Saumur, and, of course, Vouvray wines.  Wine courses are offered at both Château de Détilly (to groups by prearrangement) and at Château de la Barre in the Sarthe.

Château des Allues lets you experience the wines of Savoie, not well known, but nonetheless delicious!  Château de Chambost isn't far from the vineyards of the northern Rhône valley and the Beaujolais vineyards of Burgundy. 

Last, but certainly not least, is Château de Grézan amidst the vineyards of marvelous Languedoc wines bearing its label in 'the other south of France' opportunity not to be missed.

So, you see that no matter what your taste in wine or what region of the country you choose to visit, France can offer you a combination of luxurious accommodations and access to the vines and wines you enjoy...just make a reservation at the property that suits your tastes best  ~  a votre santé.

Château des Allues on 

On July 3rd, one of our members, Château des Allues, was featured on the program Journal de 13h on French television's TF1 hosted by Jean-Pierre Pernaut. 

You can watch the video here:  Also, on that same page, you can click on any of the magazines shown below the video to read articles written about this lovely château located in the Savoie of eastern France.

Host, Stéphane Vandeville, is always ready to welcome guests to his lovely home, so do visit the château on our web site to learn more.

French Quiz 76 

More on Provence ~ make the right matches:

               (1)  la Croisette                    (a)  Nostradamus
                 (2)  Avignon                         (b)  main avenue in Nice
                   (3)  Ste Marguerite                (c)  flamingoes
                     (4)  St Rémy de Provence       (d)  famous for goat cheeses
                       (5)  Roman ruins                    (e)   Glanum
                         (6)  boulevard des Anglaises    (f)  founded by Julius Caesar in 49 BC
                           (7)  Fréjus                           (g)  main avenue in Cannes 
                             (8)  Alpes de Haute-Provence (h)   Palais des Papes
                               (9)  the Camargue                (i)   Man in the Iron Mask


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

Easy Recipe:  Tapenade

Summer entertaining is upon us, and there is nothing more interesting than a little tapenade to enjoy as a spread or dip.  It seems to be universally enjoyed by everyone and takes advantage of southern France's abundance of olives. 

You will need 1 can of anchovy filets (drained), a cup of green and black pitted Mediterranean olives, 2 tablespoons of capers (drained dry), 1 large garlic clove (chopped finely), 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, minced fresh rosemary and minced fresh thyme (about 1 teaspoon of each), and freshly ground pepper.

Put all ingredients (except the oil and pepper) into a food processor and process until it is still slightly chunky.  With food processor still on, very gradually add the olive oil.  Put tapenade into a small bowl and season with pepper to taste.

The tapenade should be served at room temperature with toasted, thinly sliced baguette rounds.  Refrigerate any leftover tapenade, covered with plastic wrap. Bon appétit!

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The answers are: 
Quiz 75 - 1f, 2d, 3a, 4e,  5b, 6h, 7c, 8g
Quiz 76 -  1g, 2h, 3i, 4a, 5e, 6b, 7f, 8d 9c
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