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Autumn 2010

In this issue - 

  • Our Newest Member:  Château de la Vernède
  • Coming Soon:  Le Clos de la Garenne
  • Stone Manor House gîte is offered at Château de Bournand in the Loire
  • Château de la Barre Top 100 in the London Sunday Times!
  •   More about the 2009 Bordeaux Vintage 
and more!


Our Newest Member near Avignon
~  a delightful weekly rental  ~

Château de la Vernède is not far from Provence's wonderful city of Avignon and the ancient Roman aqueduct, Pont du Gard ~ an amazing area for a lovely week-long vacation!  Surrounded by flowering gardens and lovely terraces, this inviting château awaits its guests.

Château de la Vernède
The beautiful and inviting Château de la Vernède

SalonChâteau de la Vernède terrasseVernède Cuisine
 The château's salon, Chambre Rose, and cheery kitchen

The interior of the château is charming and warm.   Everyone will feel at home.  Guests will enjoy the ten en suite bedrooms, all decorated in a different style and color palette, as well as the common rooms such as the dining room, salon and the very efficient and bright kitchen.

Outside, there are many inviting spots to relax and enjoy the lovely gardens and great weather that is common in the Gard.   The swimming pool, separated from the château for privacy, is a magnet that guests won't soom forget.  The estate is private and peaceful with amazing gardens, that refreshing and sparkling pool, and many shaded terraces.  Guests will find themselves in the most restful of environments, yet they will be conveniently located near all the attractions the region has to offer. 

Aerial view of one terracethe swimming pool
The terraces, swimming pool and amazing lily ponds at Château de la Vernède

Remember, you are only a few minutes from the border with the Vaucluse and Bouches-du-Rhône départements (Provence) so you will have the best of both worlds. The TGV station at Avignon makes it easy to reach the château from Paris where guests arriving by train can rent their car in the station and make the short drive to the château.

Please return to our web site very soon to see this magnificent property for yourself and, remember, you can book your stay for a wonderful vacation in the beautiful south of France.  Just send us an email to

[Photo Credits:  © 2010 Château de la Vernède.  All rights reserved.]


FRANCE On Your Own - and a photo contest!

FRANCE On Your Own banner

The web site and quarterly newsletter, FRANCE On Your Own, invite you to join their large family
of subscribers and web site visitors.  Until December 31, you can submit your favorite photo of France
to have it included in a contest ~ your photo might be chosen to be featured in the Spring issue
of FRANCE On Your Own.  Click here to read the latest newsletter with all the details!
Click on the photo above to visit the web site. We want to hear from you!

 Coming Soon near La Rochelle . . .

Château de la Bourgonie
Château de la Bourgonie, Dordogne

Rent the guest wing of this historic Dordogne château in the peaceful countryside, and leave all your worries and stresses behind.  Cross the threshold of Château de la Bourgonie to find a warm and comfortable interior with tasteful décor using fine antiques and classic furniture, but also all the modern conveniences for a pleasant stay.  Barrel vaulted ceilings provide a coziness while reminding one that this is an historic château with a long and interesting history. 

Fine guest room at Château de la Bourgonie
One of the spacious bedrooms at the château

Six amazing guest rooms ~ two on the ground floor and four on the first floor ~  are tastefully appointed and most are en suite.  Several salons provide comfort for all the guests, and a fully equipped kitchen and spacious dining room with stone walls add appeal to this fine château.

The estateThe swimming poolThe dining room
The estate, the fine swimming pool and the incredible dining room

Do visit Château de la Bourgonie on our site today, and be sure to contact us for information or reservations at

[Photos courtesy of Château de la Bourgonie © 2010. All rights reserved.]

French Quiz 103

Where are we? 

This historic castle overlooks a river formed by 
the confluence of three other rivers, was a strategic site held
by the Romans, and has massive towers numbering in the 'teens.
(We won't tell you exactly how many, as that may give it away.)

Where Are We?  Quiz 103

 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 Autumn issue.

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

Coming soon  . . .

Château de la Vernède

 Château de Bournand's
Stone Manor House

The Stone Manor House at Château de Bournand

The Stone Manor House

The Stone Manor House at Château de Bournand is the perfect getaway for your time in the Loire.  Rent it by the week to enjoy your own two bedroom, two bathroom self-catering accommodation surrounded by the gardens of the château.  The Manor House is nestled between the château and the Carriage House, separated from the chateau by a small herb garden.  It boasts the original bread oven, a large kitchen and the beautiful veranda opening onto the park.

Its master suite is on ground level and furnished with antiques, rich fabrics and oriental carpets.  A French door leads from the master suite out to the park. 

The large verandaLa Cuisine
Dining on the veranda or in the kitchen in front of the fireplace

A second bedroom, Chambre Basil, was added in 2005 and can be accessed from an exterior staircase.  This bedroom offers wonderful views, and guests feel as though they are sleeping in a magnificent tree house!

Salon in the Stone Manor House
The salon in the Stone Manor House

A large salon with original wood beams offers views over the courtyard.  Of course, occupants of either the Stone Manor House or the Carriage House are invited to use the château's beautiful swimming pool.  As both are self-catering, breakfast is not provided.

For more information about renting the Stone Manor House at Château de Bournand, please  contact us at for prices, availability and more details.

[Photo credits: Château de Bournand © 2010 All Rights Reserved.]

More 2009 vintage news from Bordeaux

The Wine Spectator [June 30, 2010] has joined others in praising the 2009 vintage of Bordeaux wines. The editors commented that this vintage joins three others in the decade (2000, 2003 and the remarkable 2005) to offer another "classic from France's premier wine region".

James Suckling of the Wine Spectator spent three weeks in Bordeaux in March and April meeting with producers and merchants and, in primarily blind barrel tastings at independent locations, evaluating the 2009 wines ~ with about 10,000 other aficionados.  Although the wines won't be bottled for two more years, it seems they will remain the talk of the French wine industry.  Even the sweet wines were exceptional, according to Suckling.

So, what are his conclusions?  He's not sure that 2009 will be better than 2005, but he did write that, after sampling nearly 700 wines, the 2009s have a concentration of ripe fruit and powerful tannins, yet are beautifully balanced.  However, he does reserve his final opinions for a later date and gives the Left Bank wines (Médoc's Margaux, St-Julien, Pauillac and St-Estèphe) a 'provisional' rating of 97 to 100 and the Right Bank wines (mostly Pomerol and St-Emilion) a 95 to 98 rating.

What are the reasons behind this great vintage?  Producers attribute it to the warm, sunny growing season during the summer of 2009 followed by cool nights.  There were no 'heat spikes' as in other years, and, although July and August were dry, earlier rains had been held by the soil so that the vines didn't suffer.  And, many wine makers said the long growing season was a benefit, enabling them to harvest early before any rain fell.

A table of the top scoring red bordeaux in the Wine Spectator lists 14 wines with ratings between 97 and 100, and of the remaining 23, they are rated 96-99 or 95-98.  The white and dessert wines of the vintage earned 95-98 scores with the exception of Château d'Yquem Sauternes which was rated 97-100.  If these numbers are any indication, this will be an exceptional year. 

If you didn't have the opportunity to read our article about the 2009 Bordeaux vintage in our last issue, please click here.

Where to Stay:  If your destination is Bordeaux, do consider staying at one of au Château's member properties.  On the Médoc we recommend Château du Foulon or Château Meyre, on the Right Bank near Pomerol is Château la Roque de Bas, near Sauternes and St-Emilion vineyards is Château Soussac, and weekly rentals are offered at Château Lagorce and Château Coulon-Laurensac near Bordeaux.  Of these, Château Soussac and Château Meyre produce their own wines.

[Information sourced from the June 30, 2010 Wine Spectator.
Read James Suckling's blog on Wine Spectator at]

Château for Sale in Provence

The château and parkland

An incredible and well-priced château is for sale in Provence. In the foothills of the French Alps and at 900 meters altitude, it not only affords striking views and endless vistas, but the climate is lovely year 'round under crisp blue skies and the bright Provençal sunlight. 

This château had its beginnings with the Knights Templar in the 12th century and still stands guard over rolling landscapes as far as the eye can see.  As shown in this photo, it overlooks a large lake ~ and this is the view from its large, sparkling swimming pool.  The château is near the famous Route Napoléon and many important tourist sites.  On the property is a well-preserved example of Roman architecture and construction in the form of a fine chapel.

The lake view from the châteauRoman chapel

The interior is modern and completely renovated.  No work needs to be done.  The château is comprised of three independent self-catering apartments and is currently operated as a weekly rental, either in its entirety or by individual apartments.  It has a total of five bedrooms and six bathrooms, with each apartment having its own salon and modern kitchen.  It will sleep a total of 18 people.

One of the beautifully appointed bedrooms and modern bathroom

For much more information including further photos, descriptions and price contact us at by email. 

[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.

Ar Milin' Restaurant, Châteaubourg. Copyright Cold Spring Press 2005-2010.  All Rights Reserved.

                                                 Ar Milin' Restaurant & Hotel at dusk - Châteaubourg, Brittany

Châteaubourg is located between Vitré and Rennes in Brittany, and an easy drive from au Château member Château des Tesnières.  The pretty commune of Châteaubourg, in the département of Ille-et-Vilaine, got its name (originally Castelburg) from the group of dwellings that surrounded the castle.  It was home to a Bendedictine abbey and under the rule of a lord in the eleventh century.  The castle fell into ruin by the fifteenth century, and in 1893 Eglise Saint-Pierre was built on its foundations. But, the Gate of Saint-Pierre church dates back to 1341.  The town has three parks for visitors' enjoyment and an SNCF railway station for easy access from Paris to the east or Rennes to the west.

This photo is of one of the special places in Châteaubourg:  Ar Millin' Restaurant Hotel.  The Hôtel du Moulin straddles the River Vilaine and is in a tranquil and historic setting.  Set on five lush acres of riverside greenery, Ar Milin' offers guests the choice of two restaurants, le Bistrot du Moulin and Restaurant Panoramique. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner one evening, and, in addition to the superb cuisine, we were quite impressed by the young sommelière who spotted something amiss with the wine we ordered. She promptly took it away and brought another bottle.  Strolling in the gardens was lovely prior to dinner at dusk (as shown in the photo above), and again after dinner with the building aglow with lights. 

We really adore Brittany, and we highly recommend a stay at Château des Tesnières near Vitré and a leisurely drive to Châteaubourg for a visit and, perhaps, dinner at Ar Millin'.

[Photo: © 2005-2010 Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

Château de la Barre
among the
100 Best Hotels In Europe

Château de la Barre

The London Sunday Times of May 23rd listed its 100 Best Hotels in Europe in its travel section.  Included among the 21 properties in France was our own member Château de la Barre in the Pays de la Loire.

Here is what was written:

The de Vanssay family have been in this stupendous chateau since the 15th century — and they've apparently spent all that time building up to your arrival. The welcome from the French count and his Anglo-American countess couldn't be more cultivated or enthusiastic. They've infused castle and bedrooms with warmth and bright colour, and the gardens and grounds go on for ever. from £129 low/£154 high 

And, for those of you planning a summer visit to France, be sure to read all about Château de la Barre's Music in July events on our web site's Special Offers page.

For more details, visit Château de la Barre on our web site and contact for availability and reservations.

Easy Recipe:  Salted Spanish Almonds

This recipe is borrowed gratefully from ON RUE TATIN, Cooking in Normandy by Susan Herrmann Loomis.  Susan's newest book, Nuts in the Kitchen, has just been published, and you can order your copy with a simple click on the Amazon link below.

Nuts in the Kitchen cookbookBut first, let's try to make Salted Spanish Almonds, courtesy of Susan!

You will need 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt, ½ teaspoon hot paprika, 2 cups Spanish almonds (Marcona if you can find them) blanched.

Preheat the oven to 325F.  Line a cooling rack with parchment paper.

Place 2 cups water, the salt, and the hot paprika in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.  When the salt has dissolved, add the almonds, stir, and boil until the almonds begin to look translucent, about 8 minutes. Drain the almonds and spread them evenly on a non-reactive baking sheet.  Bake in the center of the oven until the almonds are pale golden and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes.  Do not let the almonds get toasty brown as that will dull their delicate flavor.

Remove the almonds from the oven and transfer them to the prepared rack.  Let them cool entirely before serving. These will keep in an airtight container for about 2 weeks or in the freezer for about 3 months.

Makes 2 cups. Bon appétit!

Contact information to sign up for Susan's incredible cooking classes 
given in both France and the United States is:

 Phone: (USA) 214.306.8734 or
(toll free USA) 866.369.8073
(toll free France) 09 51 14 38 94 

Order online today!

  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 102 - Where Are We?  from our Spring issue:

The answer to last issue's quiz is the Le Pont d'Avignon.
We had many correct guesses, but only one winner!
Thank you all for your participation. 
Remember, the first correct answer received to each Quiz is the winner!

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