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Winter 2010

In this issue - 

  • Meet Our Three New Members: 
                                                         Château de la Resle, 
                                                                  Le Clos de la Garenne,
                                                                               & Château d'Agel
  • Visit France off the beaten path
  • Award Winning Gardens of Le Pavillon de Galon
  • Wedding at Château de Challain
  • Hot Air Ballooning over the Cantal
and more!


 But, first some breaking news! [December 2]
  • Snow blankets France and disrupts train and air travel for the second day, with power outages from the storms affecting Normandy, parts of Brittany and the Dordogne.  Schools in many areas closed and drivers advised to stay off the roads.
  • Good News for Domaine Ployez-Jacquemart! The December 15th Wine Spectator included five of its Champagnes in its New Releases section, praising and rating each as follows:
    • Brut Champagne 2000 [90]..."smoky undertow...crackling acidity...lively wine overall"
    • Brut Rosé Champagne NV [91]..."intense...vivid flavors...mouthwatering...drink now"
    • Brut Champagne Extra Quality NV [86]..."refined textures...racy style...drink now"
    • Extra Brut Champagne 2002 [91]..."vibrant...good balance...lip-smacking finish"
    • Extra Brut Champagne Passion NV [86]..."light-bodied floral...firm acidity...drink now"

    [NV is 'non-vintage'.  Years are indication for vintage Champagnes.]

Welcome to Château de la Resle
~  a Burgundian getaway  ~

Burgundy's Yonne département ~ and the serene river of the same name ~ is where one finds the rolling green landscapes and appealing small villages that make this region of France so delightful for a vacation.  And, it is here that you will discover the stunning Château de la Resle, not only a luxurious bed and breakfast but a place where you can enjoy your holiday in one of its two self-catering suites.

Château de la Resle
The elegant and inviting Château de la Resle

The interior is decorated with contemporary flair and style.  The owners are patrons of the arts, and the château's décor is appealing in its simplicity and yet memorable for its warmth and comfort.  Two spacious guest rooms in the château offer occupants peaceful retreats with all the amenities one could want.  The self-catering suites, one in the château and the second in the newly renovated Gardener's Cottage, are each ideal for a family of four.  There is also a well-equipped fitness room for guests' use.

Château de la Resle Chambre VerteChambre Verte is a beautifully appointed, peaceful guest room in soothing colors with accents of fine contemporary art to add interest and appeal.  Long windows overlook the gardens and the orangerie, and the en suite bathroom has a rain shower and hair dryer. Mini-bars are provided in the guest rooms and suites.

Nearby activities include hot air ballooning, enjoying the cuisine of Burgundy including the local cheeses (Epoisses, Chaource, Soumaintrain) and truffles of Burgundy, visits to abbeys and museums, a day at a nearby spa, a round or two of golf, and enjoying concerts and antique markets.

Chablis Grapes.  Photo credit:  Chablis Office of TourismThe château is located in the wine region known as the 'Grand Auxerrois'.  Wine enthusiasts will appreciate its proximity to Chablis, the vineyards of Auxerre, Vézélay, Côte Saint Jacques, Joigny and Champvallon.  Of course, the wonderful city of Auxerre itself is worth a day or two to visit its museums, churches and restaurants!  Visitors can stroll across the bridge to see the River Yonne as it wends its way beneath ~ a great location for pleasure boats ~ and get a fine view of Auxerre on both banks.

Please visit Château de la Resle on our site today to see how perfect it would be for your next excursion into Burgundy.  For more information and reservations, please send us an email at with Resle in the subject line.

[Photo Credits:  © 2010 Château de la Resle unless otherwise noted.  All rights reserved.]

Ballooning over the Cantal

Château de la Vigne and Salers balloon

The French invented the hot air balloon (the Montgolfier brothers launched their first public demonstration in 1783), so it would not be unusual to enjoy your own balloon adventure the next time you are in France.

A stay at Château de la Vigne in Auvergne's Cantal département can easily include a reservation to float over the picturesque countryside in a balloon like the one in this photo.  For more information please send us an email at with Vigne/Balloon in the subject line.


FRANCE On Your Own - enter their photo contest!

FRANCE On Your Own banner

The web site and FREE quarterly newsletter, FRANCE On Your Own, invites you to join its large family
of subscribers and web site visitors.  Until December 31, you can submit your favorite photo of France
in their contest ~ your photo might be chosen to be featured in the Spring issue of FRANCE On Your Own. 
In addition, the winner will receive a special small gift.
Click here to read the latest newsletter with all the details!
And, click on the photo above to visit the web site. They want to hear from you!

 Le Clos de la Garenne
near La Rochelle in the Poitou-Charentes

Le Clos de la Garenne
Le Clos de la Garenne welcomes you

The freshness of Atlantic sea air and the remarkable coastline of the Poitou-Charentes make a holiday in this region of France soothing and relaxing.  To benefit from the scenery and climate, why not be a guest at Le Clos de la Garenne, a warm and welcoming chambres d'hôtes near the port city of La Rochelle?

Room rates are very reasonable throughout the year, and the proprietors, Brigitte and Patrick François, also offer their Studio Tournesol in the village for a weekly self-catering rental.  It is ideal for one or two people, or a couple with a baby or toddler.

Chambre l'AunisienneGarden and parklandsElegant salon at Le Clos de la Garenne
A beautiful guest room, the vast gardens, and a comfortable salon
From the gated entry with secure parking for your car, to the beautifully appointed en suite guest rooms, Le Clos de la Garenne is the perfect holiday destination.  Generous breakfasts are offered to start each day, and your helpful and friendly hosts will provide lots of sightseeing advice to be sure you don't miss anything!  Visit the coastal city of La Rochelle, or see Rochefort where a reconstruction of General Lafayette's frigate, Hermione, is nearing completion.  Don't miss a chance to enjoy the marshes of the Marais Poitevin, or the nearby islands of Ile de Ré and Ile d'Oléron.  Take a day trip to Cognac and visit the distilleries.  For plenty of beaches, water activities and sunshine, this is the place to be!

Do visit Le Clos de la Garenne on this web site today. 

[Photos courtesy of Le Close de la Garenne © 2010. All rights reserved.]

French Quiz 105

Where are we? 

Name this location and the river.  This may be difficult,
so we will tell you this: it is a commune of Burgundy north of Auxerre
that had its beginnings in the twelfth century and received
a name change in 1792.  The town fathers say that it is at
the "crossroads of Burgundy, Champagne, Loiret and Ile de France".

Quiz 105.  Photo property of Cold Spring Press 2009-2010.  All Rights Reserved.

 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 Spring 2011 issue.

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

Off the beaten path . . .

How many times have we heard that phrase?  But, it just may mean more than we think, for it is often 'off the beaten path' that travelers discover the best of a country.  Keep in mind that tourists go to the sites and attractions that other tourists see.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  We all should visit the Eiffel Tower and the Musée du Louvre when we are in Paris!  But, a traveler wants more.  A traveler wants to meet the people, eat where they would eat, spend time as they would spend time, and see something of the native lifestyle.

It is in this vein that we encourage you to get out of the everyday routines of a tourist in France and forge ahead on your own to find out what other people might be missing.  There is really no 'wilderness' in France, but there are quiet, natural landscapes, myriad regional parks, and little villages tucked away far from busy highways.  So, get out your Michelin map when you are driving in the countryside, and get off the autoroute.  Find a D road (départemental) and then find an even smaller road off that one leading to some speck of a village.  You'd be amazed what you'll discover!

We find handwritten road signs along the way often lead to amazing places.  We've visited family wineries in the southwest by following a sign; we've found a treasure in a roadside brocante in Brittany following a sign; we've discovered an amazing family restaurant near the source of the Seine in Burgundy by following a sign.  By the way, one way to really see France as an adventurous and independent traveler is to follow (as much as possible) the path of a river...France has so many rivers!  Follow the Loire, the Seine or the Garonne.  Follow smaller rivers such as the Yonne, the Meuse, the Sarthe or the Vézère.  Any of these will take you to places in France that you might never see if you rely on tourist guide books.

And, while you're at it, do stay in some of the au Château member properties that are definitely off the beaten path:  Château de Vollore in the Auvergne, Château de la Vigne in the Cantal, Castell Rose in Roussillon, Château Rhodes in the Ariège, Château de la Charmeraie in the Rhône, Château de Prauthoy in the Haute-Marne, or Domaine de Moulin Mer in the Finistère just to name a few.  You can explore the maps on our web site, clicking on the little castle icons, and you will discover that there is a world of French culture, tradition, history and lifestyle just waiting to be found.  Bon voyage!

Award Winning Gardens at
Le Pavillon de Galon

One of our very own Provençal members has been honored for their astounding gardens. Le Pavillon de Galon has been elected a Remarkable Garden by the French Culture & Environment Ministry, so they are now one of the 300 best gardens in France. 

Le Pavillon de Galon award-winning gardensLe Pavillon de Galon award-winning gardens
Le Pavillon de Galon award-winning gardensLe Pavillon de Galon award-winning gardens

We are pleased to take you on a photo journey to show you why they were chosen.  If you want a holiday surrounded by unique and lovingly-tended gardens in a wonderful climate, do contact us about staying at this amazing chambres d'hôtes.  You can even take cooking and painting classes here, or have a wine tasting adventure!  Email  Please include Galon in the subject line.

Le Pavillon de Galon award-winning gardensLe Pavillon de Galon award-winning gardens

Le Pavillon de Galon award-winning gardens

We hope this visit to Le Pavillon de Galon's lovely gardens tempts you to stay there the next time you are in Provence.  This delightful guest house has proven it is beautiful both inside and out!

[Photos courtesy of Le Pavillon de Galon.  © 2010  All Rights Reserved.]

Château de Challain invites you
to share a wedding video  . . .

Château de Challain, Pays de la Loire
click here:

We hope you enjoy it!

Château d'Agel . . .
an Historical Languedoc fortress

A visit to Languedoc never goes unrewarded.  We are including it on our own itinerary for the fall to revisit some of our favorite places and to discover those we've overlooked in the past.  In that regard, we are most happy to introduce our newest member, Château d'Agel, a truly noteworthy Medieval fortress château that is now available for rent.  Off season, bed and breakfast accommodations may be offered.

Château d'Agel

The château is monumental.  Visit its au château pages to see the massive Cathars Tower which sets the stage to hear accounts of this fine castle's historic importance.  Yet, one should not be daunted, as many castles and châteaux in Languedoc were built to withstand sieges and battles.  Today, they are not only testimony to the struggles of the past, but they have become inviting and comfortable vacation destinations.

Tree-lined allée to the ChâteauChâteau d'Agel is a warm and welcoming place that accommodates up to thirteen people in en suite bedrooms.  The common rooms include a modern and fully-equipped kitchen, a fine dining room, salons and a library for relaxation, and a swimming pool in the wonderful park.

Guest rooms are spacious retreats offering country peace and quiet.  The château has a fine wine cellar, and wine is produced from their vineyards.  The region is filled with authentic French villages, larger cities like Béziers and Narbonne, and vineyards for visits and dégustations.

Château d'Agel Grand SalonSwimming PoolElegant Dining at the Château
A salon, the swimming pool and the elegant dining room at the Château

Please pay a visit to Château d'Agel on our site today to read more and see photos of the château where you might want to spend a week with friends or family or, perhaps, choose it as your wedding venue.  The owners, experts when it comes to planning and hosting weddings, are eager to welcome you.  Contact us with any questions or requests at and put Agel in the subject line.

[Photo credit:  ©  2010 Château d'Agel.  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.

Lebanese restaurant on rue Mouffetard

                                                                  Lebanese Restaurant on Paris' rue Mouffetard

While certainly not a 'ville ou village' in the true sense of the phrase, this is a 'village' of Paris that is really worth your time to visit.  Rue Mouffetard is in Paris' 5th arrondissement and is filled with a long and interesting history, fascinating building façades ~ and is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods with a permanent open-air market.  Don't miss the remnants of the Roman arena, now a playground for youngsters.  For a well-informed and fun guided tour of the neighborhood, contact Arthur Gillette of Paris Through the Ages Strolls at

[Photo: © 2009-2010 Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

Easy Recipe:  Warm Potato Salad

We are fortunate to have a copy of the wonderful new book, Walnut Wine and Truffle Groves ~ Culinary Adventures in the Dordogne, from which we draw this recipe.  It is actually called 'Warm Potato Salad with Walnut-Mustard Vinaigrette', and we thank authors Kimberley Lovato and Laura Schmalhorst d'avance for allowing us to publish it here. For a review of this book which takes the reader on a gentle stroll through the Périgord via its cuisine and its people, read the recent issue of FRANCE On Your Own.

You will need 2 pounds of small, new potatoes, halved; 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard; 1 garlic clove, minced; 1/4 cup (60ml) walnut vinegar; 1/4 cup walnut oil; 1/4 cup olive oil; 1 teaspoon coarse salt;, 2 teaspoons cracked pepper; 1/2 cup (30gr) minced fresh chives; 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley.

Bring the potatoes to a boil in a large pot of salted water over high heat.   Cook until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.  As they are cooking, combine the mustard, garlic and vinegar in a small bowl.  Whisk in the walnut oil a few drops at a time until the vinaigrette begins to emulsify.  Add the olive oil and continue stirring.  Add the salt and pepper.

Drain the potatoes, place them in a large bowl, and let them cool slightly.  Pour the vinaigrette over them and toss gently to coat well.  Add the chives and parsley.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Serve warm.

This recipe makes 6 servings.  Bon appétit!

Click here to order
Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves


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Answer to Quiz 104 - Where Are We?  from our Autumn issue:

The answer to last issue's quiz is the River Lot as seen from Crayssac. 
We had one winner! Thank you all for your participation. 

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