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September / October 2009

In this issue you will find

  • Stay among the vineyards 
  • A Marriage Made in . . . Normandy 
  • Christmas or New Year at Château de la Barre. . .
  • Coming Soon!  Beautiful Villa Vauréal in Biarritz . . .
and more!


Stay among the vineyards . . .
With the grape harvest now upon growers in France,
what better time to introduce you to some of  the members 
of our site who will have another very busy season among the vines.

Château Chorey and its vineyards
  Château de Chorey and its vineyards in Burgundy

We consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to count among our members many who produce their own wines from grapes grown on their estates.  Best of all, these are not simply vintners, but they are friendly and welcoming proprietors who have created spacious and comfortable guest rooms for visitors. 

For a wonderful stay in Burgundy, do consider Château de Chorey in the Côte  d'Or region very near the wonderful town of Beaune.  Delightful hosts will welcome you warmly to their moated château, where your recently redecorated room may overlook the grand estate or permit you a peek at their vineyards.  See our wine châteaux page to read about their wines and their high rankings by the experts.  New for 2009, the proprietor's daughter, a fine chef, will offer at noon, accompanied by a menu of regional dishes, a tasting of Château de Chorey's wines and one screening of wines of the region selected by her.  This meal is offered to guests of the château only and with advanced booking.

A bubbly glass of Ployez-Jacquemart ChampagneNot far from the Burgundy region is Champagne, and we want you to know about the stunning Domaine Ployez-Jacquemart, another family-run operation producing high-quality and well-respected Champagne.  Urged by visitors to their vineyards, the proprietors opened the house to guests a few years ago, and it has become a popular destination with comfortable rooms and a phenomenal restaurant.  But Champagne is their first love.  To quote one family member, "At Ployez-Jacquemart we feel that Champagne is no different from other long-established wine growing areas like Bordeaux or Burgundy, and we follow a very strict policy of 'quality not quantity' ".

Conny Dieters-Kommer and the case of Château Talaud wine sold at a charity auction for $1000USWhen in Provence, you will find two properties on our site producing their own wines.  Both are in the heart of the Vaucluse ~  Avignon, Carpentras, Arles, Nîmes Aix-en-Provence,  Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (Wednesday market), Les Baux de Provence, Marseille, Orange, Gordes, Vaison-la-Romaine, Isle sur la Sorgue (famous antique markets and fairs at Easter and in August) are all within easy reach. 

There is Château Talaud where thirty-seven acres of the estate are planted in vines. The view over the vineyards from the dining room and the opportunity to enjoy wines from the château's exceptional cellar add to the pleasure of your visit.  As you can see in the photo above, Château Talaud's wines are well respected.  The case shown in this photo with château owner Conny Dieters-Kommer, was auctioned for charity for $1000 US!

The vines at Château JuvenalNext is Château Juvenal, where you don't simply sample their wonderful wines, but you can also enjoy an exceptional olive oil they make from green olives.  This oil has a fragrance and taste you will never forget.  The guest rooms at Château Juvenal are exceptional with very comfortable beds and wonderful modern bathrooms.  Dinner can be enjoyed as well in their elegant dining room.  A swimming pool in a secluded location is waiting for guests at the end of an afternoon of sightseeing.

The luscious grapes at Château SoussacLast, but definitely not least, we travel to the Bordeaux region where two of our members are in wine production.  One, Château Soussac, is in the Entre-Deux-Mers ('between two seas'). It is a gorgeous 19th century château producing fine wines grown in natural conditions without added fertilizers or chemicals.  The château also offers spacious and comfortable  guest accommodations, an on-site chef creating exquisite meals (and offering cooking courses), and even a masseuse to help erase the stresses of every day life.  This is also the ideal Bordeaux location for a wedding celebration and reception.

The vineyards of Château MeyreChâteau Meyre on the Médoc peninsula just west of the city of Bordeaux offers luxury accommodations and the opportunity to live among the vineyards.  The wines of Château Meyre have won many prizes in recent years, and the proprietors pride themselves in their fine wines and equally fine accommodations.  A grand swimming pool adds to the enjoyment of a stay on the Médoc at this fine château.

We hope you will visit these properties on our site as well as read more about them on our Wine Châteaux page.  Remember, too, that we have many other members who offer wine tasting and wine appreciation courses to their guests even if they don't produce their own wines.  You can see who they are on our Château List page...just look for these icons:



[Photo credits:  © 2009 Courtesy of the château proprietors.  All Rights Reserved.
Mouse over photos for detailed descriptions.]


Paris Through the Ages strolls

If you are going to Paris, take a Paris Through the Ages Stroll with Arthur Gillette
to absorb some of  the city's fascinating history from an expert.
We never miss the opportunity ~ in October we will take The Mouffetard Quarter: 'Quaint' Plus
stroll.  Rue Mouffetard was the road to Rome 2000 years ago, has a street market 
dating back to 1350 and a fountain erected by Marie de Medici!

For information contact Arthur at

What to do in France . . .

Whether you are off to France for three or four weeks, or have only 10 days to enjoy it, there is always something new to see and experience that you missed on a previous visit.

Why not cruise the canals of Burgundy on a  peniche, explore the bucolic Doubs region of eastern France, spend a few days with old friends in Paris, head out to the tip of Brittany to take in the salt air, or stay in several luxurious châteaux found on this web site?  Visit Champagne and learn the age-old traditions of making the bubbly wine; take a wine appreciation course at a château bed and breakfast; immerse yourself in French for a week while staying in a castle; head for the south of France for a  plein air painting class; or spend a week in a Provençal kitchen learning the secrets of French cuisine.

We hope you will have the opportunity to enjoy an extended stay in France so that you, too, can explore various regions, experience the cuisine, culture and landscapes of the distinctively different areas and come home with wonderful memories of your time in France.  If you are planning a trip to France in 2010, do let us know and, perhaps, we can be of assistance.  Just send us an email at


'Green plastic water bottles . . .

There is good news from France for those of you who prefer bottled waters from the springs of the French mountains and the Alps.  Beginning in October, the French company 'Vegetal & Mineral Water' will go into production with its first water bottle which is completely recyclable and compostable.  This is accomplished by using 'bioplastics' made from corn for the bottles and potato starch for the stoppers.  Other companies have been making bottles with maize, but this is the first of its kind using both maize and potatoes.

The bottle itself is made from lactic acid polymer derived from corn, the stopper from the starch potato. Even the label is green ~ made of cellulose acetate with a vegetable glue. Specific treatment in handling the discarded bottles will allow them to degrade completely and naturally in 3 months.

Production of this type of bottle requires far less energy and the production emits less than half the carbon dioxide of plastic bottles made from petrochemicals. 

Look for 'PLA' (polymerized lactic acid) on the next French bottled water you buy ~ coming soon!

A Renaissance New Year at Château de la Barre

Mona Lisa's eyes

~ An Experience of a Lifetime  ~
Leonardo da Vinci invites you into his home
to celebrate a Renaissance New Year 2009/2010.
An exclusive event, part of a festive tailor-made holiday
at Chateau de La Barre, where you and your family and friends 
will be the guests of Comte and Comtesse de Vanssay
in their ancestral home in the Loire Valley. 

Elegant guest room at Château de la Barre
Enjoy the elegance of centuries at Chateau de la Barre

The Renaissance Experience:

December 30th : Step back a few centuries in time, as you are warmly welcomed by Guy and Marnie de Vanssay. After a champagne reception in one of the ornate drawing rooms, and a visit of the château, the evening continues with a cheese and vintage wine tasting supper in the billiard room, in front of the monumental XIVth century fireplace... 

Le Clos Lucé
Dine in costume at Leonardo DaVinci's home

December 31st:  Chauffeur driven day. Begin with Chenonceau castle, then drive past the Royal Palace of Amboise to Leonardo da Vinci's home, Le Clos Lucé. There, slip into your costumes, preordered to your measurements, and discover the unique culinary art of the Renaissance. Under the direction of Sieur Sausin, master chef having served the high and mighty of this world from François Mitterand to Nicholas Sarkozy, and many more, your gala dinner will be served with all the costumes, musicians and jugglers that would have been present around 1530... 

January 1st:  Relax by the fireside of the Salon Rose then depart to explore the Abbey de L’Epau, built by Richard the Lionheart's widow, followed by the remarkably restored old city of Le Mans, home of the Plantagenet kings and stage set to numerous films. Return to Château de La Barre for a festive dinner with all the family silver and crystal, in the prestigious grand dining room, as if you were in 1780...

Elegant dinner at Château de la Barre

January 2nd:  Stroll around the Renaissance château of Courtanvaux, discover the court poet Ronsard's manor house, La Possonnière, meditate in the XIIIth century romanesque chapel of Montoire, hike through the troglodyte village of Trôo, and dine out at the gourmet restaurant of Le Relais d’Antin in the beautiful village of Lavardin.

January 3rd:  After a tardy brunch, depart with a special present from the Chateau to begin 2009 in style.

Price:   16,290 euros (1,165 euros per person based upon 14 people booking) includes:
- 4 nights accommodation with daily breakfast ~ and brunch on January 2nd 
- Champagne welcome and visit of the château 
- Chocolates and Port wine in each room
- Cheese and vintage wine tasting dinner on day of arrival 
- Renaissance New Year’s Eve dinner at Leonardo da Vinci’s home; all drinks,  musician and magician included as well as costumes preordered to your measurements 
- chauffeured car on 31st for sightseeing and entire evening until the wee hours of the morning 
- gala dinner on New Years’ Day at Chateau de La Barre  ~ all drinks included
- Special surprise present upon departure 
- assistance with all visits, maps, travel arrangements, rental car and airport transfers if needed

- Extra nights possible for an additional 1950 per day (accommodation and breakfast). Chauffeured car and airport/train pickups available for an extra 540 to 726 euros per day, depending on kms and amount of time in addition to normal 8 hours.

Not included:  restaurant dinners on the 2nd January as well as transport

A similar event is planned for Christmas, so do contact the château soon to book your reservation.  Click on Château de la Barre for more information.

[Photos © 2009 Château de la Barre.  All rights reserved.]

  Villes et Villages de France

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

Noyers - © 2006-2009  Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved
 Noyers-sur-Serein in Burgundy

Noyers is a charming little medieval Burgundian town, a member of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France,  on the unspoiled banks of the River Serein...a town of granite cobblestone streets, colombage houses and winding little walkways filled with flowers and charm.  Visit the ramparts, towers and gates of the old castle, and spend some time in the Naïve Art Museum. 

The history we read of Noyers tells us that it was founded before the Roman conquest, and it became the seat of a prominent family in the 12th century.  It was here that Guy de Noyers, the Bishop of Sens, was born...he was crowned Philippe Auguste in 1180. Noyers became property of the powerful Dukes of Burgundy in 1419 and the Count of Noyers made the city a place of Huguenot refuge.  It was lost to Catherine de Medici in the 16th century.

Noyers off the beaten path - © 2006-2009  Cold Spring Press.  All Rights ReservedVisitors on banks of River Serein -© 2006-2009  Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved

                   Off the beaten path in Noyers                         Visitors on the banks of the River Serein

Street names in the town attest to its agricultural traditions.  Wine and trading in grain made the town wealthy.  According to historic records, there were vines as well as walnut and cherry trees on the surrounding hills.  Before the 20th century, coopers, cartwrights, harness makers, shoemakers and other craftsmen were abundant in Noyers.  Today the town has many potters and ceramicists, painters, photographers and other artisans, while the farmers and vintners are still producing from their land. 

In addition to visits to vineyards or exploring the town, visitors to Noyers and the surrounding area can enjoy equestrian pursuits.  A fine place to stay in the region is Le Petit Manoir des Bruyères where you will receive a warm welcome and have lovely accommodations in a fine, 17th century residence with a notable Burgundian patterned roof!

[Photo credits:  © 2006 -2009 Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

 Coming Soon: Villa Vauréal
in Biarritz

Villa Vauréal
We have discovered a beautiful and warmly inviting villa in the seaside town of Biarritz on France's southwestern Atlantic coast: Villa Vauréal

Villa Vauréal itself is a luxurious bed and breakfast accommodation offering spacious rooms and suites for its guests, some with views over the gardens and others with views of the sea.  Also available are three smaller weekly rental villas accommodating 4, 5 or 8 people and sharing the Villa Vauréal's garden. 

Salon of Suite FramboiseSuite Pêche
            Salon of Suite Framboise                         Salon and bedroom of Suite Pêche

Only steps from downtown Biarritz and the seaside (renowned for its surfing beaches), the convenience of Villa Vauréal is a definite plus.  There is so much to do and see, including a game of golf on some famous nearby courses, health spas at two thalassotherapy centers, year 'round festival, events and celebrations, communing with nature in the the back country, and a twenty-minute drive to Spain to visit San Sebastian and Bilbao.

Please visit our web site soon to see Villa Vauréal's pages as we welcome it to au Château.

[Photo credit:  © 2009 Villa Vauréal.  All Rights Reserved.]

French Quiz 99

Where are we? 

The color is the best hint . . . 
and this town holds the distinction of being the 'first' of something, too!

Where are we photo Quiz 99

 The first person whose email is received with the correct answer
will receive a package of twelve assorted exclusive Château Note Cards.

Send your answer by email to

See the answer to last month's Quiz at the end of this newsletter.
The answer to this month's quiz will appear in our November / December issue.

[Photo credit:  © 2009 Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

Easy Recipe:   Conserve du Thon
(Tuna in a Jar)

This simple and delicious recipe comes from one of our favorite books, The Paris Neighborhood Cookbook by Danyel Couet.  All you'll need are some readily available ingredients and two glass preserve jars.

You will need 14 ounces of fresh tuna fillet, 2 lemons (shredded peel and juice), 2 garlic cloves  (crushed), four teaspoons of fresh thyme, 2 bay leaves, a teaspoon of coarsely crushed black peppercorns, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups of olive oil and salt.

First slice the tuna in half and salt well. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit four one hour.  Then, unwrap, quickly rinse in cold water and place the two whole pieces into the two jars with clasp lids.  Distribute the lemon juice and lemon peel between the two jars, and let them sit in the refrigerator for three hours until the fish has whitened.  Then distribute the garlic, thyme, bay leaves and black peppercorns evenly between the two jars.  Top off with the olive oil equally between the two.  Reseal the jars.

This delicious tuna conserve will be moist and loved by everyone!!

Bon appétit!

[Recipe courtesy of The Paris Neighborhood Cookbook by Danyel Couet,
published by Interlink Publishing Group Inc., Northampton, MA in 2008.  ISBN No.978-1-56656-723-7
Available on  Click on the link below.]


  We hope you have enjoyed au Château News
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encourage them to subscribe.  It's FREE!

Answer to Quiz 98 - Where Are We?  from our July/August issue:
The gardens at Hôtel des Invalides, Paris.
No one guessed the correct location!

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