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                                      March / April  2008

                                       We have 2 more new members!

       o Domaine de Moulin Mer: a magnificent chambres d'hôtes on the west-facing coast of Brittany!
    o  Château St-Philippe:  an exceptional château in the Savoie ~ experience true château life!


                     o Celebrate your wedding at Château du Fraisse in the Limousin
                               o  Cooking classes at Château de la Barre ~ and read about
                                       their Art & Architecture Tours of the Loir
                         o  Gourmet Easter répas at Château de Garrevaques' Le Pavillon du Château
                Cooking and French immersion classes at medieval Château de la Vigne

      and more!


A Refreshing Change...on Brittany's Coast 

  A seaside retreat that is almost a 'tropical' paradise 

Domaine de Moulin Mer

   Domaine de Moulin Mer

The semi-tropical microclimate where Domaine de Moulin Mer is located will provide you with the most enjoyable vacation at any time of year.

guest roomguest roomguest room
       Three of the guest rooms at Domaine de Moulin Mer

This lovely south-facing manoir is only steps away from a small coastal port and is surrounded by its own palm groves, bamboo and eucalyptus among the more conventional oaks and magnolias. 

Completely renovated this past year, the manoir now offers modern conveniences while not jeopardizing its historic charm and ambiance.  Guests will especially appreciate the fine woodwork and floor boards from ancient tall ships that can be found throughout the house. 

The Domaine is a light and cheery chambres d'hôtes with five guest rooms carefully and thoughtfully appointed to provide their occupants with complete comfort and a quality stay.  In fact, all bedding, linens and pillows are selected with the environment and hygiene in mind and have been treated against dust mites and allergens.  The en suite bathrooms are new and modern, providing guests with all 21st century conveniences.

Do visit Domaine de Moulin Mer on our pages today ~ and don't forget to look at their Michelin Map to see the incredible coastline a few minutes from the Domaine's door!  This is an ideal destination for a relaxation, rejuvenation and unique stay in France.

[Photo credits:  Stéphane Pécot/Domaine de Moulin Mer.   All Rights Reserved.]

Rent a Farmhouse Apartment at Château Juvenal in Provence

Farmhouse at Château Juvenal

This inviting and comfortable farmhouse has a three-bedroom 2-bathroom apartment just waiting for you to enjoy for week or longer ~ surrounded by vineyards, olive orchards and bathed in incredible Provençal sunlight.  This just-renovated apartment has a fabulous new kitchen, a fireplace in the spacious salon, a hot tub across the courtyard and use of the château's lovely secluded swimming pool.

Make your reservations now, or you'll miss out on the opportunity to experience Provençal life at Château Juvenal this coming holiday season.  Contact the owners, Monsieur and Madame Forestier, at

Elegant Weddings at Château du Fraisse

Château du Fraisse

Next to this grand château which has been in the family for nearly 800 years, is a fully restored 18th century barn, now a salle de recéption large enough to accommodate a wedding celebration including a bandstand and dance floor.  For those planning to have many guests, the salle de recéption will seat up to 300 guests!  A garden cocktail reception can be held in the Cour d'Honneur, the  courtyard in front of the château. 

Fraisse Salle de Recéption

Interior of Salle de Recéption 

Many wedding events have been held at Château du Fraisse, so your host and hostess, the Count and Countess des Monstiers, know how to help you prepare for every detail.  Fluent French and English are spoken.

For further information contact us at and be sure to indicate 'Fraisse' in the subject line.  And, be sure to visit Château du Fraisse on our web site to see the lovely rooms and read all about the château.  Merci!

[Photo credits: Château du Fraisse.  All rights reserved.]

 Rent this Incredible Savoie Château

  Historic and Elegant ~ the two words that describe it best!

Château St-Philippe

The Magnificent Château St-Philippe

Château St-Philippe, an amazing medieval castle, is surrounded by forests and vineyards and offers its guests panoramic views of the nearby mountains and the Isère Valley.   Offering ten luxurious en suite bedrooms, this recently renovated château is a wonderful place to gather your family and friends and become lady and lord of the manor for four or more nights.

The kitchen is spacious and conducive to preparing lots of meals for your group; the dining room will seat everyone; the common rooms such as the library, reception room and salon all invite you to sit for awhile to read or have a quiet conversation.

guest roomreception salonguest room
           Bedrooms and Reception Salon at Château St-Philippe

Everyone will be amazed by the surrounding countryside.  Ideal as a base for skiing in the winter, the château is also perfect for vacations at other times of year.  Although many may not think of the region in terms of wine, Savoie appellations are actually very good and visits to vineyards and wine tastings can be part of your holiday.  And, the château, built nearly 1000 years ago, has magnificent caves of its own ~ this photo was taken coming up from the caves beneath the château. 


Getting married?  The château offers the ideal venue for a spectacular wedding event.  The cave shown above is a series of vaulted rooms where a reception and dancing can be enjoyed following the marriage ceremony.   About 80 guests can be accommodated.  Imagine the wedding photos!

Nature is all around you in the Savoie, so those interested in cycling, hiking, walking or climbing the nearby mountains will also find themselves with plenty to occupy their time. 

For those planning their marriage in France, this château is the perfect setting.  Don't hesitate to inquire about how you can have a wedding or family event at the château.  Visit Château St-Philippe on our pages today to see more of this splendid property.

[Photo credits: Château St-Philippe.  All rights reserved. 
Mouse over to see descriptions.]

Easter in the Tarn at Château de Garrevaques

Madame Combes invites you to Le Pavillon du Château

on Sunday, March 23, 2008 

to experience their special Easter menu in one of their lovely restaurants
 or on the dining terrace priced at 50 euros per person. 
This incredible dinner includes Ravioles de foie gras au jus de Porto et Truffes,
Agneau Pascal, Haricots blancs cuits à la Lauragaise, Brie farci et méli mélo de jeunes
pousses, Oeufs de Pâques, légers comme une mousse de printemps.

Dining Terrace

Enjoy the flavors and aromas of this fine cuisine which will also be 
served by advance reservation from April 7 to 12. 

For reservations to stay at the château and/or for dinner, please contact
Madame Combes at and do visit them 
on our web site at Château de Garrevaques.

Villes et Villages de France

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

Medieval Lautrec

 Medieval Lautrec

 The fascinating Tarn village of Lautrec, one of Les Plus Beaux Villages of France,
is filled with winding lanes and little surprises around every turn.
Its medieval ramparts, 14th century church and hilltop moulin
are just some of the attractions to be found in this peaceful village.

The Place du Monument is the centerpiece, while just down on the next street
 is a covered market like those found in many fortress towns throughout France.
 Climb the stone steps to 17th century Moulin du Vent and stop in at the tourist 
office to get a closer look at the ancient convent bakehouse and a model 
of the village as it once was.  Or, visit the clog maker's workshop!

Very soon, La Terrasse de Lautrec, a beautiful bed and breakfast
on the Place, will join au Château...all the more reason to pay a
visit to Lautrec on your next visit to France!

[Photo credits:  © 2007-2008 Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

Californians:  Meet the Author in April and May

Author and Paris expert, Thirza Vallois, will be on a book tour of California in April and May.  She will not only offer talks on Paris, but is promoting her newest book, Aveyron - A Bridge to French Arcadia, from venues including the San Francisco bay area, Napa Valley, central valley and south to San Diego, where we will happily welcome her.  You may know Thirza from her series of three Paris city guides Around and About Paris, or the more recent Romantic Paris, as well as her regular articles in France Today.

The author in Aveyron

Her new book explores Aveyron, a place of astonishing contrasts and an interesting and innovative population...the land of Roquefort cheese and the Millau Viaduct, the historic home of the Knights Templar and modern home to  anti-globalization rallies.  You are sure to find her presentation and her book thought-provoking and fascinating.

Come out and meet her at the event most convenient to you.  For more information about the different venues, please email Thirza at

French Quiz 83

Vins de France.   Match the wine to the region.

                     (1)  Sancerre                 (a) Jura
                       (2)  Minervois                (b) Alsace
                         (3)  Hermitage               (c) Provence
                           (4)  Bourgeuil                (d) Centre
                             (5)  Sauternes               (e) Loire
                               (6)  Arbois                    (f) Savoie
                                 (7)  Apremont               (g) Côte du Rhône
                                   (8)  Bandol                   (h) Languedoc-Roussillon
                                     (9)  Sylvaner                (i)  Bordeaux


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

  Discover the little Loir Valley. . . 
with your hosts at Château de la Barre

Château de Courtanvaux in Bessé
Discover the Loir valley while following the path of the St Jacques de Compostelle pilgrimage, along scenic roads, over hills and valleys and through picturesque villages. Admire the Renaissance Château de Courtanvaux in Bessé, before driving further along the Braye river to taste the famous Jasnières wine near Poncé  ~ a pretty village where artisans still blow glass and paint furniture. 

La PossonièreNext visit La Possonnière, home of King François I's court poet, Ronsard, and enjoy its fragrant rose garden, designed by André Eve.  Proceed to Trôo, famed for its the troglodyte caves, the Romanesque chapel of St Jacques des Guérets with frescoe covered walls, a XVth century singing well, the Collegiate of St Martin and much more. 

Then there is Montoire where, past the market square and the Loir river, a narrow alley leads to the unique Byzantine chapel of St Gilles. Just a mile further, Lavardin, one of the most picturesque villages of France, is dominated by the ruins of a middle aged fortress, below which is another Romanesque chapel, with its’ newly revealed XIIth century mural paintings. 

Chapel de St-GillesChapel at Lavardin

Montoire's Chapel de St-Gilles and the Romanesque Chapel at Lavardin

Don't miss the beautiful gardens of Sasnières a few miles further, before going on to sample the Coteaux du Vendômois vieilles vignes, past the home of Rochambeau, in Villiers. Then on to Vendôme and the Abbey of the Holy Trinity, a masterpiece of romanesque and early gothic architecture housing the oldest stain glass window of the Virgin Mary with child. Enjoy ambling along the canals of this town where Balzac studied. 

For wonderful, private excursions to these and many other Loir treasures, contact Count and Countess de Vanssay at Château de la Barre by email at  A stay at their elegant château chambres d'hôtes will make the entire adventure just perfect!

[Photo credit:  © Comte et Comtesse de Vanssay, Château de La Barre.  All rights reserved.
The above historic tour information courtesy of Countess de Vanssay.]

French Quiz 84

 Name this place ~ there were no correct guesses from the last newsletter!

We were surprised that no one recognized this scene. 
So, here is a hint. . . 

 Now in Normandy...but once in Brittany.

Mystery Photo - French Quiz 82

[The first email (to with the correct
place name will receive a gift of our exclusive Château Note Cards.]

You will find the correct answer in our May / June au Château News.

Cooking and Learning French

 . . . in a magnificent Medieval Château!

Château de la Vigne

Château de la Vigne in the Cantal

Château de la Vigne entices you to the beautiful Cantal countryside ~ an exceptional stay for those who want to learn French cuisine or spend time in French language immersion. 

Cooking Classes  May 5 - 9, 2008: This course includes a welcome drink and dinner the evening of the first day, followed by three days that begin with breakfast and hours of free time with cooking classes starting at 4:30 until dinner.  One dinner will be candlelit in the 18th century dining room. The fifth day will include brunch before departure.

French Immersion classes June 2 - 6, 2008: The Count and Countess de la Tour will offer classes for a minimum of three people, focusing on accent and grammar.  Three days of classes will be taught in a four-night stay, and French will be spoken during the day.  Day trips to surrounding 12th century castles, Romanesque churches, and climbing Mont Puy Mary can also be included. 

The total package (whether Cooking Course or French Language Immersion) without ground transportation is 1310 euros per person with a minimum of 3 people; for 4 people or more the price is 1100 euros per person.  The maximum number of students is dependent upon accommodations provided. To make your reservation contact the Count and Countess de la Tour by email at

[Photo credit:  © Château de la Vigne.  All rights reserved.]

Easy Recipe:  Pipérade
Bell Pepper and Egg Delight

This Basque (sometimes thought of as Mediterranean) recipe is delightful, simple to make, and perfect for brunch or any other light meal. 

You need one large sweet onion (chopped), one each large red, yellow and green bell pepper (seeded and sliced), eight large eggs, two tomatoes (seeded and diced), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, 4 to 6 slices of thickly sliced country-style French bread (toasted), salt and pepper.  An optional ingredient is a finely chopped garlic clove, sautéed with the onions and pepper.

Sauté the onion and bell peppers in a saucepan, cooking over low heat for about 10 minutes until tender but not too soft.  While they are cooking, whisk the eggs, add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.  When peppers and onions are ready, add the eggs to the saucepan to cook, stirring constantly over low heat until they are almost set but not dry.  Remove from heat and immediately fold in diced tomatoes and parsley. 

Spoon the mixture onto the toasted slices of bread and garnish with fresh sprigs of parsley.  Can be topped with a paper thin slice of ham or smoked salmon.  Serve immediately, perhaps with chilled dry white wine or Champagne.   Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Bon appétit!

[This recipe is an adaptation of several recipe versions.]

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 are: 
Quiz 83 - 1d, 2h, 3g, 4e, 5i, 6a, 7f, 8c, 9b
Quiz 84 -  answer in the May / June 2008 au Château News
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