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Spring 2010

In this issue - 

  • Our Newest Member:  Château du Bois Noir
  • More Castles in the Snow
  • Two New Members to Join us Soon!
  • Bordeaux Wine Tours with Ronald Rens/Château Coulon Laurensac
  •  Big News about the 2009 Bordeaux Vintage 
  • Price Reduction for Château for Sale in the Berry Region
  • Special Offers from Château Meyre
  • Last minute availability at Château de Détilly!

  • and more!


    From this issue forward, au Château News will be sent to readers
    four times a year instead of six.  With each season will come a
    newsletter, so, as noted above, this is the Spring 2010 edition.
    We hope you enjoy it and all that follow.

    Our Newest Member in the Corrèze 

    Château du Bois Noir is as inviting on the inside as it is pretty on the outside.  This charming 19th century Renaissance residence is in the bucolic southern Limousin region of France, only a short distance from the Dordogne département and the towns of Brive-la-Gaillarde and Périgueux.  Four luxurious guest rooms, all en suite, offer occupants  magnificent countryside views.

    Château du Bois Noir
    Château du Bois Noir

    The proprietors of Château du Bois Noir have worked tirelessly since they purchased it in 2006 to transform it into a warm and welcoming chambres d'hôtes with all the amenities of a 5-star hotel but providing the personal touch and attention one can only find in a family-owned château.

    Dining on the terrasseThe elegant dining room
     Dining  on the terrasse or in the elegant dining room

    For those who know the pleasure of taking dinner at a French château, the opportunity to enjoy Madame van Ampting's gourmet cuisine should not be missed.  Passionate about cooking, Madame uses only the finest local products to ensure an authentic culinary experience for her guests. 

    one of the beautiful guest rooms

    High ceilings, fireplaces, classic furnishings and elegant fabrics are hallmarks of the décor at Château du Bois Noir.  The views over the park are lovely and relaxing.  One guest room has its own sitting area in the château tower, and all have spacious en suite bathrooms with all the accouterments. 

    Travelers will also find the château's Golf, Hiking or Christmas packages very appealing.  Information is available on their au Château pages, along with pricing and many more photos of this stunning château.

    [Photo courtesy of Château du Bois Noir © 2010.  All rights reserved.]

    Special Discount

    Château de Détilly
    from Château de Détilly in the Loire ~ rent the château the weeks of June 26th and/or July 3 ~ and receive a last-minute booking special rate!

    Don't delay!  Contact us today at and mention 'Détilly' in the subject line.

     Snow in the Auvergne. . .

    Château de la Vigne
    Château de la Vigne, Cantal, Auvergne

    This winter has brought a lot of snow to France, and we continue to receive photos from our members showing their beautiful châteaux blanketed in white.  Here is the wonderful medieval Château de la Vigne in the rugged and lovely Cantal département of the Auvergne inviting getaway whether for classic bed and breakfast from March to October  in the château or the weekly rental of their gîte (sleeping 2 or 3) from June through September. Enjoy a fine dinner in front of the great stone fireplace and visit the château's incredible model automobile museum with the Count as your guide.

    Whenever you choose to visit, you will find this amazing château an experience that takes you back to the 15th century to the days of knights and fortresses ~ to the times in history of the Hundred Years War, King Henri V, the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the civil war between the Armagnacs and the Burgundians, and Joan of Arc bringing Charles VII to the throne of 
    France ~ and back to today, when it is peaceful and welcomes guests to enjoy its history and its cozy charm.  It is hard for many to imagine that this incredible château is 600 years old!

    And, remember, the Count and Countess de la Tour not only look forward to welcoming you, but they will also arrange for an exciting Montgolfier hot air balloon ride over the amazing Cantal countryside!

    You can reach the château for information or reservations at

    . . . and in the Savoie

    Château des Allues, Savoie
    Château des Allues, Savoie, Rhône Alpes

    The truly inviting and cozy Château des Allues, even under a light dusting of snow,  is a delightful getaway whether you are intent on winter skiing or year 'round visits to this spectacular region of France.  Very near the large town of Chambéry (railway station in town and regional airport nearby), you will find this an absolutely perfect vacation retreat.  Exquisite gourmet meals and beautifully appointed en suite guest rooms are just some of the qualities that will endear you to this château and its talented owner, Stéphane Vandeville.

    Enjoy quiet country walks, ski at nearby resorts, hike or climb the local mountains during your stay, but always return to the warmth and comfort of the château. Be sure to visit their pages on our web site to read more, see great photos and click on a video from France television  revealing all that the château and the nearby village have to offer.  There is also a link to a recent article about Château des Allues in the January Lonely Planet Magazine.

    Contact information is available on their au Château pages.  Do visit them soon!

    [Photos courtesy of Stéphane Vandeville, Château des Allues and
    Count and Countess de la Tour, Château de la Vigne
    © 2009 - 2010. All rights reserved.]

    French Quiz 102

    Where are we? 

    This might be a little too easy . . . but, can you hum the tune?

    Where Are We? photo Quiz 102

     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 Summer issue.

    [Photo credit:  © 2006-2010 Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

    Coming soon  . . .

    Château de la Bourgonie, Dordogne
    Château de la Bourgonie in the popular Dordogne of southwestern France

    Château de la Bourgonie is built on a rocky outcrop between the Bessede forest and the valley of the Dordogne. This marvelous château is rented by the week and can sleep eleven adults or children plus one toddler under the age of 2.  A baby crib (cot) is provided at no charge.

    On clear days, you can see the foothills of the Massif Central.   The property is beautifully landscaped for the enjoyment of its guests, and it is an Historical Listed Monument.

    If the proportions of La Bourgonie seem imposing, the interior of this home allows for family privacy and cozy comfort. The living rooms, all on the ground floor, open to the east for breakfast, to the south for lunch, and to the west for sunset. There are five spacious guest rooms, and all but one are en suite.

    In accordance with the regulations for both listed monuments and pool safety, the construction of the pool was according to strict standards ~ salt-filtered, equipped with an alarm, 12x7 meters ~ and is surrounded by a large wooden deck and lined with ochre stones. A lovely wrought iron pergola provides a delightful shade. Table tennis is installed under the colonnade of the courtyard, while the first floor TV lounge provides a special kids area. 

    Do return to our site very soon to visit La Bourgonie's pages and, perhaps, make a reservation to rent it for your next French vacation!

    [Photo Credits:  © 2010 Demeures de Commarque.  All rights reserved.]

    Le Manoir la Chausée aerial
    Le Manoir la Chaussée, Brittany

    For those of you who love the charm of Brittany, we are happy to tell you that the luxurious and historic Manoir la Chaussée on 15 acres of landscaped land will soon be on our site and is currently available to rent if you contact us.   Known locally as le Jardin Anglais (the English garden) it boasts over 20,000 different species of plants and flowers, and is one of the finest private gardens in France.  The park includes a Japanese garden, a large pond and over 400 David Austin roses.

    In its authentic interior there are eight luxurious and spacious en suite double bedrooms and fine food and wine are offered for special events.  The house is furnished with English and French antiques.  There is even a Roman spa with a heated covered pool!

    The manoir can be rented in its entirety by the week or on a bed and breakfast basis by the night.  There is also a self-contained cottage on the estate with additional accommodations. 

    Please return to our web site very soon to see this magnificent property for yourself and, remember, you can book your stay at any time for a wonderful vacation in lovely, friendly and picturesque Brittany.

    [Photo Credits:  © 2010 Manoir la Chausée.  All rights reserved.]


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     Château Coulon Laurensac's 
    Personalized Wine Tours

    The Bordeaux Wine Experience, the leading Bordeaux wine tour company, says client satisfaction is their first concern.  And that means a great time will be had by all!  Their all-inclusive wine tours of 6 days and 5 nights are once again offered in 2010.  Only six spots remain (three couples) for the September  20 -25 Bordeaux Harvest Tour, and the Grand Tour of Bordeaux (November 22 - 27) has openings for six couples. The other 2010 tours are sold out!

    barrel hall in Bordeaux

    Individual short 3-day 2-night packages are still available, so contact us for details.

    The Bordeaux Harvest Tour includes visits to the top châteaux like Mouton Rothschild, Haut Brion and this year a special opportunity to visit Château Yquem.  Also on the tour are meals in a two-star Michelin restaurant and in Bordeaux châteaus, château accommodation in the Château Coulon Laurensacbeautiful Château Coulon Laurensac, expert guided tours by the Château's owner and wine master, Ronald Rens (in English), and deluxe transportation.

    This tour is kept small in size, limited to a maximum of five couples, in order that it be personalized and well-suited to those participating.  Ronald Rens wants to remind you that touring with him ensures that those on the tour will taste more Classified Growths than on any other Bordeaux wine tour!

    If you are interested in the Bordeaux Harvest Tour or an Individual Short Tour package, contact us at for prices, availability and more information.

    [Photo credits: Château Coulon Laurensac. © 2010 All Rights Reserved.]

    . . . and big news from Bordeaux

    "Nature has been extremely generous, it is sumptuous. It's difficult to find comparisons, you have to go back to the climatology of the 40s to find, perhaps, comparable conditions," said Denis Dubourdieu, director of the Bordeaux Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (ISVV), and renowned wine maker.  What was he talking about?  The 2009 vintage!

    According to the Agence France Presse article, "with the exception of hail storms that bombarded an estimated 15% of crops in the region last May, the growing season has been remarkably favorable to producing aromatic wines with deep color, exactly the type of wines that consumers demand."   The very dry, sunny September added to the quality of the  grapes harvested soon after. . . a very bountiful crop as well.

    The French wine industry has been struggling due to the global economic crisis and the very competitive situation with wines from elsewhere in the world.  One Bordeaux wine merchant said that there are only seven or eight vintages of this quality per century, so 2009 may prove to be a very important year.

    There was a period of drought that could have meant the grapes wouldn't properly ripen, and for a period of two weeks, that was the case.  But, quoting Pierre Lurton of Château Cheval Blanc in Saint Emilion, "Then the rain came, like the answer to a prayer, exactly at the right time, and the vines continued maturing."  The expectation is that the grapes will have the right ratios of color, sugar content and fruitiness as those great vintages of the past.

    So, do visit Bordeaux!   You will find many fine château accommodations on our web site, and you will have a first hand opportunity to visit some of the world's greatest vineyards!  And in the not too distant future, look for the 2009 Bordeaux wines to begin arriving at some of your favorite wine shops!

    [Adapted from a 2009 article from AFP/Expatica with appreciation]

    Château for Sale in Berry
    announces substantial price reduction

    The ChâteauA fine château is for sale in France, recently renovated to a high standard and serving as an upscale chambres d'hôtes.  Family obligations force the owners to return to the UK and offer their much-loved French château for sale.  The price is now below one million euros, an exceptional price for this neo-classical residence and business.

    Within a 30- minute drive from Bourges, the château is an elegant and spacious home with some 750m2 of living space.  It is located in the heart of the Berry Region between the major towns of Bourges and Nevers ~ a rural area that is quiet and tranquil. The chateau is on the edge of a village and less than a mile from a second, larger town where there is a small shop, boulangerie, pharmacy, butcher, post office and school.

    Links by train from either Bourges or Nevers are excellent, both being a two-hour journey into central Paris. The nearest airport is at Tours, about a two-hour drive, where there are daily flights to London Stanstead. For a wider range of destinations, Charles de Gaulle is a three-hour drive from the chateau.

    After passing through the entrance gates, the house is some 150 meters down a tree-lined drive, set in the middle of thirty-two acres of parkland and away from roads. The chateau was built in 1838 and is constructed from local stone with a slate roof (which was recently replaced). The rooms are extremely well proportioned, with 3.8 meter high ceilings and large three meter windows which lend a light and airy feel to the house. Recently refurbished, the house is in exceptionally good order.

    Coach House
    Guest rooms are lovely with stunning renovated en suite bathrooms offering the ultimate in modern conveniences.  A new swimming pool (2008) adds to the amenities a new owner can provide for their guests.

    For much more information including further photos, descriptions and prices contact us at by email.  You can also see other photos of the château including guest rooms, salon, and bathrooms on our Châteaux for Sale page.

    [Photo credit:  ©  2010 château owner.  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.

    St Martin de Ré harbor - © Cold Spring Press 2002 - 2010.  All rights reserved.
     Saint Martin de Ré Harbor  on the Ile de Ré

    A visit to the Ile de Ré, a 19-mile long resort island near La Rochelle in the Charente-Maritime département, is a lovely adventure.  The toll bridge will cost you approximately $22 US (or 16.50 euros), but we believe the visit is worth it.  A highlight of the island is the town of Saint-Martin de Ré where the lovely harbor is brimming over with pleasure and fishing boats. 

    The Ile de Ré is off the sunny coast of western France with sandy beaches along its southwestern side and salt and oyster beds on the northeastern side.  Unfortunately for the natives, tourists far outnumber them during the holiday season, but off season it can be a lovely getaway without crowds.  The island can also brag that it is home to two of the Most Beautiful Villages of France: Ars-en-Ré and La Flotte-en-Ré.

    But all is not perfect, as the Ile de Ré is now recovering from the damage caused by Xynthia, the sudden and severe storm that swept through France's southwestern coastal communities between 4 AM and 5 AM, Sunday, February 28th, surprising victims in their sleep and ripping through low, weak sea walls.  The worst of the damage and the majority of the lives lost were on the mainland of the Vendée and Charente-Maritime départements. Loix, the smallest town on Ile de Ré, has been cut from the neighboring parts of the island. It was at Loix that the two deaths from the storm occurred. Oyster beds were destroyed, and on the mainland there was livestock loss and crop destruction from salt water flooding.

    [Photo credit:  © 1995 - 2010 Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

    Special Offers from Château Meyre

    Château Meyre

    The wine producing Château Meyre in Bordeaux's Médoc region has several exciting package offers for guests who stay at their chambres d'hôtes:

    • The pleasures of wine tasting in the heart of the Médoc: for two people, one night in double or twin room including Continental breakfast in the morning, a bottle of Château Meyre's own wine in your room, and two cellar visits with tasting at famous châteaux in the Médoc. 160€
    • Discover your sign at Château d'Arsac's winery while luxuriating in the elegant château wine of the 18th century: for two people, one night in a double or twin room, Continental breakfast in the morning, a visit and tasting at Château d'Arsac, animation "Discover your Oenologic Sign" at the château, lunch at Why, the restaurant of the winery (drinks included) 260€
    • Combine the delights of tasting with a game of golf at the 18-hole course of Margaux: for two people, one night in a double or twin room, Continental breakfast in the morning, a bottle of Château Meyre wine in your room, two greens fees at the Margaux golf course, and a visit and tasting at Château Meyre.  270€
    • A getaway for two. An unforgettable moment! One night in Suite Ceridwen, Continental breakfast in the morning, a bottle of Champagne and some chocolates, dinner in the beautiful village of Margaux (coffee and wine included).  350€
    For more details and to book reservations, contact and put Meyre Specials in the subject line.

    Easy Recipe:  Trout Surprise

    This quick and easy recipe comes from one of our favorite recipe books, Michel Montignac's Recipes and Menus We highly recommend this book for its healthy, fresh food with which M. Montignac wages his war on obesity by encouraging everyone to eat for good health...and enjoy it, too!

    For this main course you will need four trout fillets, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, a tablespoon of finely chopped red onion, a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh chives, a teaspoon of finely chopped fresh dill, olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

    Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).  In a mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, yogurt, onion and herbs.  Arrange the fillets in a lightly oiled ovenproof dish, season with pepper and cover with the sour cream sauce.

    Bake uncovered for 12 minutes.  Then, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 5 minutes longer, or until fish is opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork.

    Serves four. Bon appétit!

    Recipes and Menus was first published in 1999 by Michel-Ange Publishing in Québec, Canada. 
    For those who would like to order it in English, please click on the link below.
    Order online today!
    For those who would like the French edition (published in 2007) you can order it from ExportLivre in 
    Québec (our experience with them indicates a most helpful company) at
    If you don't have an account with them, they require prepayment via PayPal 
    (a link is on their web site), and they will ship the book to any address. 
    Shipping cost depends on whether shipping is by regular mail or airmail. 

    The ISBN number of the book is 0-9684029-2-5.

      We hope you have enjoyed au Château News.
    If you have,  please forward it to friends and 
    encourage them to subscribe.  It's FREE!

    Answer to Quiz 101 - Where Are We?  from our January/February issue:

    The answer to last issue's quiz is the Carousel at the Eiffel Tower.
    We had many guesses, just two correct answers and, of course, only one winner!
    Thank you all for your participation.

    Disclaimer: Cold Spring Press, au Château© and/or any persons associated with either organization do not take any responsibility for errors and/or omissions in any edition of au Château News© and no guarantees are given or implied with regard to the contents of any au Château News©.   The disclaimer on the au Château © web site at, applies in its entirety to all au Château News© editions.  Cold Spring Press and au Château ©  take no responsibility for the contents of any web sites to which links are provided on our site or in any editions of au Château News.  Subscribers receive this newsletter because they have requested to be on our Opt-In mailing list.  To have your email address removed, simply send an email with 'Unsubscribe' in the Subject line to
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