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Autumn 2011

In this issue - 

  Châteaux by Invitation

  This issue's Featured Bed & Breakfast

  Our featured Château Rental

and  more!


 Châteaux by Invitation Only
~  experience the luxury of château life  ~

Château de la Barre.  Photo copyright 2011 by Count and Countess de Vanssay.  All rights reserved.

Châteaux by Invitation Only - Immerse yourself in the very private world of French aristocracy as the private guests of Comte and Comtesse de Vanssay, the 20th generation to have resided at Chateau de La Barre, surrounded by a 100-acre private park with fragrant gardens at the entrance to the famous Loire Valley. 

This family château achieves a harmonious balance between refined, understated luxury, and modern comfort. In the reception rooms and bedrooms, precious XVIIIth century furnishings are brought to life by luscious designer fabrics reflecting the warm hospitality and joie de vivre prevalent throughout.

Guy and Marnie open up a way of life for their guests, with exclusive receptions at private châteaux and gardens of their region, where 600 years of the rich cultural history of a family and a country are entwined.

During your 5- to 6-night (6- to 7-day) stay, which depends upon options available and selected, you will be hosted by at least five of the owners themselves for exclusive receptions and their private châteaux, gardens and clubs.  These visits will include:

  • Lunch and visit of Vicomte & Vicomtesse Ogier d'Ivry's XVIIth century Château Chêne de Coeur, not open to the public
  • Tea in the 'Most English Garden of France', Sasnières, followed by a visit conducted by the owner, Giscard d'Estaing's sister-in-law, Rosamée Henrion
  • Cocktails and private visit of Valmer Château, Garden and Vouvray vineyards by Comte & Comtesse de Saint Venant
  • Chartres Cathedral.  Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.Tea at Château de Montmirail with owners Comte & Comtesse de Buffevent
  • Luncheon at Château de la Forge, home of Comte & Comtesse de La Tournelle with the Marquise de Brantes
  • Picnic chic at Château de Troussay with the owner Baron de Sainte Marie
  • Tea or lunch at Comte & Comtesse de Malherbe's Chateau de Poncé
  • Champagne cocktails in the Garden of the Renaissance Château du Lude with owner Comtesse de Nikolai
  • Private Visit of famous Château de Cheverny with owner Marquis de Vibraye
  • Lunch at the exclusive Jockey Club in Paris


                                                                                                                                                                     Chartres Cathedral

Tasting room at Château Valmer.  Photo property of Château Valmer.  All rights reserved.Grapes, wine and cheese at Château Valmer.   Photo property of Château Valmer.  All rights reserved.

                                                          A Magnificent Wine Tasting Experience at Château Valmer

There is so much more to each day's itinerary, we do not have space to cover it all here.  But, here is a detailed description of Day 1 of the Tour. . . the others are just as exciting:

Day 1: Chartres and arrival at Chateau de La Barre 

English-speaking chauffeur pick up at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport 

 Drive to Chateau de La Barre (a 2-hour drive), via Chartres cathedral.
Private guided tour by renowned scholar Malcolm Miller of this Gothic masterpiece
and see the fabulous stained glass windows. 

On to Château de Montmirail, XIIth-XVIIth century, former residence of Louis XIV's daughter. 
Tea with owners Comte & Comtesse de Buffevent

Welcome to Château de La Barre by Comte and Comtesse, Guy and Marnie de Vanssay. 
Cider from the property, served under the centennial elm trees on the terrace
overlooking the fragrant garden and valley beyond.

Tour of the Château with Guy de Vanssay.

Informal wine and cheese tasting supper served in the  pièce à feu by the monumental XIVth century fireplace.

Dinner at Château de la Barre
Grand Siècle Dinner at Château de la Barre on Day 4 of the Tour

Hot air ballooning over the LoireSubsequent days of the Tour will include shopping at Poncé's artisanal glassblower and ceramic artist, followed by lunch at Comte & Comtesse de Malherbe's Chateau de Poncé; an English breakfast before departing on the path of the St Jacques of Compostella pilgrimage followed by a visit to the unique XIth century Romanesque Byzantine chapel, St. Gilles of Montoire; an evening at Château de La Barre including a Grand Siècle Dinner, beginning with Champagne cocktail in the ornate Grand Salon, decorated for the marriage of the Marquis de Vanssay in 1778, followed by a five-course dinner with two different wines, then coffee and brandy; one afternoon a visit to the old city of Le Mans and entering a time tunnel discovering this 'Plantagenet City', the birthplace of Henri II of England, with its Gallo-roman walls (the largest remaining in France), surrounding its myriad of medieval streets all beautifully restored; a departure from the terrace of Château de Valmer in a Montgolfière hot air balloon over the Loire; a shopping day in Paris and lunch at the exclusive Jockey Club, only accessible to life-standing members of the French aristocracy, followed by a chauffeured visit with your personal shopper for antiques and fashions and visits to museums.

As you can see, there many things included in each day that the average tourist would not have the opportunity to experience.  For complete details, schedules of upcoming tours, a daily itinerary and prices, please contact and put 'Invitation' in the subject line. 

[Photos are property of château owners.   All rights reserved.]


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French Quiz 108

Where are we? 

Name the building and the city where it is located.
Hints:  dating from the 11th century, recognized as one of the
largest and finest of its kind; renowned for its tapestries,
frescoes and stained glass windows; home to the tomb
of the wife of Richard the Lionheart.

Quiz 108 - Photo copyright Cold Spring Press 2009 -2011.  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 Winter 2011 issue.

[Photo © 1993-2011 Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

Featured Bed & Breakfast: 
Castell Rose in Roussillon

View of the Pyrénées from Castel Rose's garden
View of the Pyrénées from Castell Rose's garden

This is the member of our site closest to Mediterranean Spain...a wonderful stopping-off point between the two countries and an even better French vacation destination.  Spectacular views of the Pyrénées will add so much to your stay in uncrowded and tranquil Roussillon.   Not only can you enjoy the luxury of their fine bed and breakfast accommodations, but several gîtes were recently completely redecorated for weekly self-catering stays.

Gîte GaudiGîte Picasso's Salon and CuisineVilla les Palmiers

                                 Gîte Gaudi                           Cuisine & Salon in Gîte Picasso             Terrace of Villa les Palmiers

Castell Rose welcomes you

Your host and hostess will see to all your comforts and tell you about the history of and attractions in the region.  You will find breakfast delightful if you choose to stay in the château, and you will find shopping for essentials easy in the nearby town of Prades if you rent one of the gîtes.

Chambre du Clocher in the châteauChambre Pecheur in the château

                                               Chambre du Clocher                                                    Chambre Pecheur

Castell Rose is not only a comfortable bed and breakfast with lovely en suite bedrooms, but it also offers guests the convenience of a sparkling swimming pool and fine tennis court.  If you are determined to explore the region, you can easily visit the historic towns and cities nearby such as Perpignan, Carcassonne, Montpellier, Toulouse or Barcelona.

Swimming at Castell RoseTennis at Castell Rose

Please visit Castell Rose on our site today, and reserve your holiday accommodations with them soon.  You'll not regret staying in this interesting region of France nor making Castell Rose your choice.

[Photos courtesy of Evelyne & Alex Waldvogel, Castell Rose.   © 2011 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.

The church at Blond.  Copyright 2005-2011 Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

                                                                   The Eglise de l'Ordination de Saint Martin in Blond

We think that the back of this church as shown in the photo is far more beautiful than the front.  A twelfth century Romanesque masterpiece, the church was designated a Monument Historique in 1926.

The tiny hamlet of Blond is near Bellac in the Haute-Vienne département of the Limousin region, and it has given its name to the Monts de Blond ~ the local small range of mountains that is the home to an incredible collection of dolmens (two or more upright stones with a capstone) and menhirs (large standing stones).  Huge boulders were washed down the hillsides by erosion and floods, making it possible for prehistoric man to create the megaliths.

Dolmen in Monts de Blond.  Photo courtesy of menhir in Monts de Blond.   Photo courtesy of

                                                                    A dolmen                                                                A menhir 

If you decide to visit this fascinating and tranquil part of France, lovely accommodations can be found at Château du Fraisse with an incredible history of its own ~ the same family has lived in the château for 800 years!

[Photo of the church at Blond: © 2005-2011 Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

 Our Featured Château Rental:
Brittany's Manoir la Chaussée

Manoir la Chaussée

The lush green landscapes of Brittany are never forgotten; perhaps that's why we return time after time when we are seeking natural beauty and tranquility.  For those who want to spend  quality time in a Breton place 'of their own' for a week or more, Manoir la Chaussée is the perfect choice.  Known for its own spectacular Le Jardin Anglais, designed by Alan Mason, a leading English landscape designer, the estate contains more that 20,000 varieties of plants, some which are exotic and quite rare.  Mason's garden at La Chaussée was the subject of a television series in Britain, so this property is quite famous!

Defense Tower bathroom at Manoir la ChausséeThe Church Room at Manoir la Chaussée

The bedrooms are spacious and tastefully appointed with guests' comfort in mind.  Bathrooms are new yet designed in keeping with the period of the Manoir.  The salons, library and other common rooms are well appointed for total relaxation and enjoyment. 

Manoir la Chaussée's pink rosesPerhaps most appealing, of course, are the gardens.  Abundant flowers, specimen plantings, gentle streams and a lovely lake all add to the tranquility and charm of the Manoir.  If you visit the Manoir's pages on our site, you will see just how spectacular the gardens are.

We hope that you will gather your friends and family for a get together in Brittany at Manoir la Chaussée very soon.  It can comfortably accommodate up to 20 people in six guest rooms, two apartments with private entrances, and in the Guardian's House next to the Manoir.  There is a hot tub spa, and the Manoir is convenient to golf, kayaking, fishing and sailing activities.

To obtain further details and booking information, please contact and mention Chaussée in the subject line.

[Photo credits © 2011 Manoir la Chaussée  All Rights Reserved.]

Dordogne Garden Tours

Domaine des Faures in the Dordogne is a B&B and weekly rental property only a few kilometers from the historic bastide village of Monpazier.  Its English owners are now offering customized garden tours ~ French Garden Adventures ~ something everyone can enjoy during their next stay in France.

Gardens of Château d'Eyrignac

There are four tours offered:  Scents and Sensations in June, late summer's Mellow Fruitfulness tour (both seven-night tours),  early spring's The Land Awakens tour mentioned below, and the Flowers and Festivals tour in May ~ the last two can be four- or seven-night tours.  The photo on the left was taken at the private Château du Losse, near the River Vézère, with its amazing box gardens ~ a château that  is included in three of the four tours.  Jardin de Sardy, displaying its refreshing water features, is a highlight of the Flowers and Festivals tours. 

Gardens of Château d'Eyrignac

In spring The Land Awakens tour includes time at Château d'Eyrignac with its ten acres of gardens and botanical walks.  There is a spectacular topiary, garden rooms and a Japanese/Chinese garden.  Château d'Eyrignac is also featured on the Flowers and Festivals Tour. 

Included in the tour package are your rooms at the Domaine des Faures with both a welcome dinner and breakfast each morning, two lunches during the tour, and a restaurant farewell dinner at the end of your stay. 

Please contact for upcoming tour dates, availability and prices.  Please be sure to put Faures Gardens in the subject line.

Mouse over photos for descriptions.
[Photo credits © 2011 Domaine des Faures.  All Rights Reserved.]

We will not be including an Easy Recipe this month. 

This feature will return in our Winter issue. 

  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 107- Where Are We?  from our Summer  issue:

The answer to last issue's quiz is Chapelle de Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp 
(the Chapel of Our Lady of the Heights, Ronchamp, France), by the renowned
Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, Swiss-born French architect).
We had several correct guesses.  The first correct answer received was from
a subscriber in France!  Congratulations to you, Jacques.

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