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                                 September / October  2007

                               o  Rent a Château in France
                                          o  Cooking Classes at a French château
                                             o  Ville et Village: Salies-de-Béarn
                                                o  Coming Soon:  Villa Iratz-Aldéa & Castell Rose



          Rent an Entire Château!

Become the Lord of the Manor for your next vacation

Château de Détilly in the Loire

   Château de Détilly offers spacious accommodations, a pool and more!

There is really no experience as rewarding and enjoyable as renting a French château for you, your family and your friends.  You can spend a week or longer completely enjoying your surroundings and all the amenities that accompany a château rental.  You may even find yourself becoming a part of the local community or village.

Château Lagorce in BordeauxChâteau de Méouilles in Provence
From Bordeaux to Provence, you'll find the right château for your vacation!

au Château offers a wide range of château rentals from which to choose, from Normandy to Burgundy and Bordeaux to the deepest Provence.  Château Lagorce in Bordeaux will sleep thirty people in 15 luxurious en suite bedrooms, while Château des Méouilles in Provence offers three fully equipped apartments or rental of the entire château.  Many properties have swimming pools, while all have beautiful spacious grounds and lots of amenities for entertaining both the grownups and the children.

Château de Bournand in the Loire
Ch6ateau de Bournand offers B&B lodging, cottages 
or can be rented in its entirety

Some members of our web site provide B&B accommodations if you would like, but they can also rent the entire château for family gatherings and groups of friends.  Often a weekly cleaning is included and, if so desired, a local chef can come to the château to prepare dinners.   Most of the owners are happy to accommodate special needs of their guests, so you should never hesitate to ask.  Château de Bournand, at the edge of a lovely village, offers spacious guest rooms and salons furnished with magnificent taste and style.  Its Carriage House can be rented independently of the château, or rooms can be booked on a B&B basis.

Château de Canisy in Normandy
Château de Canisy accommodates very large groups for special occasions

Simply visit the Château List page on our site to see those that are available for rent.  Following that, visit those châteaux that are of interest, also on our site, to see the rooms, the grounds and read about what is offered, current prices, and activities in the region around the château.  Those renting the Château de Canisy will be amazed by the wonderful accommodations, bathrooms luxuriously appointed with antique tubs and spacious marble showers as well as a staff that will accommodate a large group for important occasions.

Other proprietors rent parts of their estates, such as a gate house or the château or both if the number of guests requires. Examples of these would be Château de Détilly (pictured at the top of this article) and Château de Montcru which offers a lovely, large apartment in a separate wing of the château as well as the opportunity to go horseback riding in the beautiful countryside.  Another wonderful place to vacation is Château de Crazannes near Cognac and Saintes and only an hour from Bordeaux.  This property can be rented in its entirety or the Keep, Cottage or Château can be individually rented. 

Château de Crazannes in the Charente-MaritimeChâteau de Montcru in the Ariège

Château de Crazannes and Château de Montcru

If you are seeking a small and intimate property in delightful surroundings, consider le Pavillon de Galon in Provence ~ a cheerful Provençal residence set among stunning gardens.  

Le Pavillon de Galon in ProvenceChâteau de Saint-Martory on the River Garonne

Castel Merle in the Dordogne

If you are dreaming of relaxing in a château with a live-in staff, Castel Merle in the Dordogne is for you.  This unique castle is convenient to the lovely bastide town of Monpazier and is lovingly restored and furnished by its English owner.  Sleeping ten comfortably, this fine château is ideal for small family get together or five couples who want to live the pampered château life in France.  Another property offering a live-in staff to see to all your needs is Château de Saint Martory on the lovely River Garonne.  Looking like a fairytale French château, this castle can accommodate 18 people in nine en suite guest rooms.  And, there is a pool!

Château de Saint-Loup in the Poitou-CharentesNormandy's Château de Servigny

For those interested in a grand property to rent, consider Château de Saint-Loup which is available in its entirety or you can just rent the Keep ~ either way enjoying an authentic French château experience surrounded by a moat and classical French gardens.  Equally as enchanting is the beautiful Château de Servigny in Normandy near all the historical sites of World War II and the fabulous Bayeux Tapestry.  Both are homes which have been in their respective families for a very long time, and they each are tastefully restored and kept to the highest standards.

Stately Château Rhodes in the AriègeTranquil Château d'Alogny

There are splendid properties all over France, and we are fortunate to be able to offer them to you from our web site.  In the Ariège is Château Rhodes, a lovely place with elegant rooms, a swimming pool and a chapel.  In the tranquil countryside of the Vienne is the peaceful Château d'Alogny, often rented as a writer's retreat because of its incredible setting on a hill overlooking a beautiful valley.

Well, as you can see we were telling the truth when we said au Château offered properties for rent all over France.  Many of them have chapels on the grounds where wedding ceremonies can be held, all are suitable for celebrations such as anniversaries and birthdays, and each is unique in style and what it offers to its guests.  We hope you will visit them on our site to read about them for yourself and to see the photos which bring each to life.

[Photo credits:  the respective property owners.  All Rights Reserved.]

 Cooking Classes at a French Château 

 Do you want to learn the secrets of French cooking?
Look no further!

Twelve of our members offer cooking classes for their guests;  some are organized for groups, others for one or two people for just a day or two helping to prepare a meal.  Whatever you are seeking, we know you'll find it on au Château.  Check our Château List page and look for the chef's hat symbol next to those properties whose owners love to cook and to share their tips and secrets.

In the Bordeaux area is Château Coulon Laurensac where the right wines are combined with the foods prepared ~ the owners are wine experts!  In the Midi is Château de Garrevaques where cooking with local products is their specialty in their own kitchen and in their restaurant kitchens.  A very well-organized and diversified program is offered including visits to local producers and markets.  And don't overlook Château de Chambost whose owners include cooking classes at various times of the year specializing in local cuisine.

La Cuisine at Le Pavillon de Galon, Provence

La cuisine at Le Pavillon de Galon

If you will be in Provence, do contact Château Juvenal or Le Pavillon de Galon to learn about their cooking courses, or if you visit the Dordogne, a stay at Le Prieuré au Château de Biron including cooking classes with the owner can easily be arranged.

Farther north into the Loire is Château de Détilly, a perfect venue for groups traveling together who would like a professional chef to spend several days with them giving cooking lessons.  In Normandy, Château les Hauts' owner takes guests to her kitchen and shares her culinary skills with them, and in the Sarthe of the Pays de la Loire, you would be very pleased taking a cooking course at Château de la Barre where wine pairing would likely be part of the class.  Also in the Sarthe is Château Vaulogé which has cooking lessons this month.  See our Special Offers page for the dates and details.

To find out more about each château's specific classes and offerings, visit their pages on this web site.  If you do not find answers to your questions there, simply contact each owner by email or write to us at, and we'll try to help.

Remember, the classes are only offered to guests staying at each property.  You'll get to know the other guests and your hosts better as you prepare a meal together, visit the local markets and producers and spend time doing something that you really love.

Bon appétit!

[Photo credit: Le Pavillon de Galon.  All rights reserved.]

French Quiz 77

French cuisine - Match the following:

         (1)  Anguille persillée           (a) caramelized turnips
           (2)  Clafouti                      (b) bouillabaisse of fresh water fish simmered in wine
             (3)  Pan Bagnat                 (c) grilled ham and cheese sandwich
               (4)  Pithiviers des rois        (d) dessert baked with fruit
                 (5)  Pôchouse                  (e) leeks simmered in butter in pastry shell
                   (6)  Navets glacés            (f) eel with parsley
                     (7)  Flamiche aux poireaux (g) large round sandwich with olives & vegetables
                       (8)  Croque Monsieur        (h) puff pastry with almond cream filling


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.

Charming Salies-de-Béarn


 As you travel by auto south toward the Basque region, you will have the opportunity
 to visit many unique towns and small villages in the area known as the Béarn.  Among those are Oloron-Sainte-Marie, Orthez, Sauveterre-de-Béarn and this lovely spot, 
Salies-de-Béarn, a medieval market town considered the 'Venice of the Béarn' 
and a member of les Villes et Villages Fleuris. 

On the road to la Côte Basque et des Pyrénées, the thermal spas at Salies-de-Béarn make it the destination, both present and past, for those seeking a 'cure' for rheumatism and other ailments.  Visitors to the thermal baths will find swimming pools (both indoor and outdoor), Turkish baths (hammam), saunas, mud-treatments, massages, and a gym for fitness classes.  The spas have been around since the mid-nineteenth century; today, 
people come for both health and cosmetic reasons. 

Salt:Salies' name is derived from 'sal', the Béarnaise word for salt, and it sits on a huge underground salt lake whose salt 'spring'  has been the source of its prosperity.  Since the Bronze Age, the salts found in this region have been used in the thermal waters as well as 
in the local cuisine. We found the tiny but very interesting Salt Museum
as we wandered the lovely winding cobbled streets of Salies. 

The photo above was taken from one side of the tiny River Saleys, which flows through the center of town,  looking across to the ancient Romanesque church.  For those interested in visiting the enjoyable French markets, Salies' market day is Thursday.  You may find more than just the produce of local farmers; perhaps you will bring home an authentic beret which has its origins in French Basque country!

[Photo credits:  © 2005-2007 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!

 Coming Soon ~ Two New Members 

Along the Basque Coastal Road

If you've ever been to the Basque region of southwest France, you probably know something about the charming villages, the robust cuisine and the immaculate colorful homes that define Basque architecture.  We are happy to announce that very soon we will be welcoming Villa Iratz-Aldéa, one such attractive residence, to our web site.

             Along the Basque Coastal Road 

The villa is located in the historic village of Urrugne, at the gateway to Spain, 20 kilometers from Biarritz and between St Jean de Luz and Hendaye.  One can watch the Basque game of pelota played in Urrugne.  To quote the tourist office, "Urrugne’s local fair or ‘‘Fêtes de la Bixintxo’’ (which takes place during the 1st week in September) are today still the occasion for organizing major pelota matches, which attract large crowds." 

Please come back soon to visit Villa Iratz-Aldéa on this web site.

~ and ~

Very soon we will be adding Castell Rose, a stunning pink marble château in Prades in the Pyrénées-Orientales département of the Midi-Pyrénées.  This lovely 5-bedroom residence offers spacious, well-furnished bedrooms all en suite, lovely gardens, a pool and tennis courts.  Also, the Villa Les Palmiers, a self-sufficient two-bedroom house on the property,  is available for rent. 

Castell Rose, Prades

The young couple who owns Castell Rose completely renovated it when they moved in three years ago, and it is now an inviting and comfortable place to stay in a beautiful part of France.  Views over the expansive gardens and the Pyrénées mountain range in the distance make Castell Rose a very special place to stay.

It won't be long before their complete story, many lovely photographs and information about Prades and the surrounding countryside appears on au Château.  Please be sure to visit our web site to read all about Castell Rose.

[Photo credits:  Basque Coastal Road courtesy Urrugne Tourist Office web site.
Castell Rose courtesy of M. et Mme Waldvogel.  All rights reserved.]

French Quiz 78

 French Art in Museums:  Match the painting to the Museum

  (1)  la Giaconde - da Vinci                      (a)  Art Institute of Chicago
     (2)  The Bathers - Degas                       (b)  Rijkmuseum, Amsterdam
       (3)  Boatmen of Mortefontaine - Corot     (c)  Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris
         (4)  Portrait of Van Gogh - Gauguin         (d)  Musée Marmottan, Paris
           (5)  Impression, Sunrise  - Monet           (e)  Musée d'Orsay, Paris
             (6)  la Balançoire - Renoir                     (f)  Louvre, Paris
               (7)  les Nymphéas, Monet                    (g)  Frick Collection, New York City


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

Easy Recipe:   Red Pepper & Black Olive Frittata

As autumn approaches, something a little more hearty for breakfast might be a good idea.  This healthy frittata will be satisfying while causing a weight gain because it is a recipe from Michel Montignac ~ someone known by Europeans since 1987 for his amazing weight loss and weight maintenance regimen. 

You will need 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 medium red bell pepper cut into strips, 2 green onions thinly sliced, 1 clove of garlic peeled and crushed, a pinch of celery salt, a pinch of onion powder, 4 large eggs, 4 large egg whites, 3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh chives, 1/4 teaspoon of dried basil, fresh ground black pepper to taste, 1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese, and 5 black olives pitted and thinly sliced.

In a large nonstick ovenproof skillet, over medium heat, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil.  Add pepper and onions, and cook for 10 minutes or until pepper is tender.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Remove from skillet, and let cool about 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, whisk whole eggs with the egg whites.  Add all the seasonings along with the cheeses.  Mix well until it is smooth, and then fold in the vegetables.

Preheat the broiler, remove top shelf to make sure there is a space of 6 inches between heating element and skillet.  In the same skillet, over medium-low heat, add the rest of the olive oil.  Heat.  Pour in egg/vegetable mixture, evenly distributing it in the skillet.  Garnish with olives and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on the top of the stove.  When it is set around the edges and golden, finish cooking under the broiler for only 2 minutes or until top is set.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4. Bon appétit!

[From 'Recipes & Menus" by Michel Montignac. 
ISBN 0-9684029-2-5. Michel-Ange Publishing 1999. 
To order call: 1.800.363.2864, the Canadian distributor, Prologue, Inc]

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The answers are: 
Quiz 77 - 1f, 2d, 3g, 4h,  5b, 6a, 7e, 8c
Quiz 78 -  1f, 2a, 3g 4b, 5d, 6e 7c, 
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