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Spring 2013

In this issue - 

    We Welcome   New Members to au Château

   Our Featured Rental:  Château de Saint-Martory in the Haute-Garonne

    Coming Soon:  Château de Blavou, Château de Tocqueville, Tournou le Haut

    Our B&B Feature:  Château de Bouillon in the Southwest

    News & Special Offers from our Members

and  more!


 Bienvenue  Château de Bétous
~  an exceptional B&B in Gascony  ~

Château de Bétous. Copyright M/Mme Julian Dixon.  All rights reserved.You will find your host and hostess very welcoming when you arrive at Château de Bétous.  They take great pride in their fine château and in making their guests' séjours absolutely perfect.  Located in the land of the Three Musketeers, the nearby village of Bétous is the oldest in Armagnac.  The eau-de-vie is produced in this region ~  Armagnac was being distilled in the late 15th century, about 150 years before Cognac to the north began producing its brandy.  The well-known Nogaro auto racing circuit is also nearby, drawing people to its scheduled events from all over Europe and beyond.

The château offers five elegant en suite guest rooms and serves superb dinners to guests with advance reservations two nights each week.  There is a large heated swimming pool for those who want to spend time at the château, and the bastide town of Fources (one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France), the Gallo-Roman villa at Séviac, and the fortified medieval town of Larressingle are all nearby for day trips.  Don't miss the ancient Cistercian Abbaye de Flaran, and the neighboring village of Lupiac ~ the birthplace of Musketeer d'Artagnan. 

This is also wine country, and the owners will be happy to send you off in the right direction to visit wineries and enjoy tastings.  In fact, their guest rooms are named for wines of the region.

Visit Château de Bétous on our site today, and  let us know if you would like more information or wish to make a reservation. 

[Photos are © copyrighted by M/Mme Dixon  All rights reserved.]

Welcome La Borde Maison d'Hôtes
~ a spectacular surprise in Burgundy ~

If you want to arrive by helicopter, by all means do ~ La Borde Maison d'Hôtes has two helipads! But, of course traveling by automobile is just fine as well.  When you arrive, by either method, you will find the most lovely Burgundian estate with outstanding gardens, a spacious suite and five beautifully-appointed en suite guest rooms, inviting common areas for relaxation, a fine exercise room and spa, a tennis court and a heated swimming pool.

Their seventeen-acre estate has evolved over the past fourteen years, through hard work and dedication, to recently receive recognition and the classification Jardin Remarquable ~ six distinctive gardens for you to enjoy including the lime tree allée, the Jardin Français, and the rose garden. 

To make each day special, start with a delicious breakfast and avail yourself of the opportunity to enjoy gourmet dinners prepared with home-grown produce from that lovingly-tended, organic kitchen garden.  At La Borde, you have found yourself the ideal vacation getaway!

La Borde is well located in the Yonne département of Burgundy, not far from the pleasant city of Auxerre and the most interesting Chantier Médiéval de Guédelon ~ an authentic reconstruction of a castle in Treigny, using only the techniques, tools and materials that would have been used in the Middle Ages.  [Click here to read an article with photos of Guédelon from the newsletter FRANCE On Your Own.]

We hope you will visit La Borde Maison d'Hôtes on our site very soon, and include it in your next France itinerary.  You can contact the owners directly from their au Château pages for information or reservations.

[Photo © copyrighted by M/Mme KLOMP.  All rights reserved.]

Château de Longsard in Beaujolais
~ elegant B&B in wine country ~ 

Château de Longsard. Copyright Comte et Comtesse du Mesnil.  All rights reserved.When in the Rhône département's Beaujolais wine country, don't miss the opportunity to stay at the lovely and elegant Château d Longsard.  This beautiful château, with its own wine producing vineyards, is a bed and breakfast and vacation rental in the Beaujolais region of Burgundy not far from Lyon.  There are five spacious and elegant en suite guest rooms, and guests will appreciate the comfort and attention to detail found in their rooms.  They will also love the location of the château only three miles from the A6 autoroute ~ but peacefully quiet and serene.

Guests can arrange to have dinner at the château and will find it a good home base for interesting day trips.  For example, Lyon, the gastronomic capital and France's second largest city, is very near as are the Beaujolais vineyards, the Abbey at Cluny, garden tours, car rallies, and places for water sports such as nearby lakes and rivers.  For a real treat, plan to have dinner at the château, priced very reasonably and including wine!

We know that you will enjoy a stay at Château de Longsard ~ a very special and well-loved family home whose owners, Count and Countess du Mesnil, are enthusiastic about sharing it with guests from all over the world.  To learn more, visit their pages on our site with a click here, and do contact us for reservations at

[Photo copyright Count and Countess du Mesnil du Buisson.  All rights reserved.]

3 New Members Will Join Us Soon!

Chambre - Château de Blavou

Château de Blavou is in the Parc Naturel du Perche in the Orne département of Normandy and is easy to reach from Paris.  The château hosts weddings as well as theatre and cultural events.  Five luxurious en suite bedrooms are offered to guests, dinners are served in the lovely dining room, and French and English courses are available.  We are looking forward to their joining us.

Chambre Tournou le Haut

Tournou le Haut is a small Medieval château located in the Aude of Languedoc-Roussillon not far from the historic walled city of Carcassonne in the Minervois wine producing region.  Surrounded by fields of sunflowers and vineyards, Tournou le Haut has six bedrooms, an infinity swimming pool and a climate-controlled wine cellar.  It is available to rent as a self-catering property by the week.  Look for it soon on au Château.

Chambre Pavillon de Château de Tocqueville

The Pavillon at Château de Tocqueville in Normandy will soon join us.  The five-bedroom square tower at the south side of this prestigious château is for rent as a self-catering accommodation.  The de Tocqueville family is known the world over ~ Alexis de Tocqueville was an important French political thinker and historian, and this was his home. You can find out more very soon when they join our site. 

[Photos are © copyrighted property of the owners.  All rights reserved.]

French Quiz 114

Where are we? 

Quiz 114. © 2012-present Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved

The first person who sends us the correct answer will receive
our exclusive beautiful 2013 Château calendar!

Send your answer by email to

See the answer to the last issue's Quiz at the end of this newsletter.
The answer to this quiz will appear in our Summer 2013 newsletter.

[Photo ©2012-present Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

Featured Bed & Breakfast
Château de Bouillon
~ especially for wine lovers ~

Château de Bouillon

Head for the Béarn region of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques when you next visit France, and be a guest at the exceptional Château de Bouillon where you will be immediately captivated by the panoramic views and splendid gardens.  The château has a history going back to the fourteenth century, and you will see occasional reminders of that time in many of the architectural details. 

Today, your host and hostess, Rory and Mini Constant, have created a comfortable and cozy chambres d'hôtes comprised of three en suite guest rooms with all the conveniences of the 21st century.  Breakfast can be enjoyed in the cheerful dining room or on the garden terrace.  Three-course dinners are served to guests by prior reservation three evenings each week, and your hosts will be happy to pack a picnic lunch for you if you would like to explore the countryside and eat en plein air

Mini Constant.  Copyright M/M Constant.  All rights reserved.A special treat at the château would be to avail yourselves of the knowledge and expertise of Mini Constant, who has achieved her certification as Master of Wine, one of only 300 in the entire world.  Three day/three night Wine Breaks are offered at the château which include breakfast and dinner each day, visits to wine producers and vineyards, a tutorial about the wines of Bordeaux and vintage Armagnac, and more. 

All in all, a stay at Château de Bouillon has much to offer in addition to the pleasure of being in the bucolic Béarn of southwest France.  The château opens for the season April 1st.  Do visit it on our web site today, and for questions or reservations you can contact the owners directly from their au Château page.

[Photos © M/Mme Constant. 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.

Floral lane in Montrol-Sénard. © 2011-present Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved

Lovely Surprise down a lane in Montrol-Sénard

This tiny hamlet is a short drive up a winding road through the woods from the town of Mortemart in the Monts de Blond of the Haute-Vienne of Limousin, and is a designated Village Fleuri. At the foot of the Massif Central, the Monts de Blond are the first to rise above 400 meters east of the Atlantic. The region is very popular with hikers, and explorers will find grassy hills, small ponds, and Neolithic menhirs, dolmens, granite blocks, crosses, and what are believed to be other stones dedicated to rituals  ~ all giving the mountains a mysterious character.

Village Fleuri designation. © 2011-present Cold Spring Press.  All Rights ReservedThere is even a bit of mystery about the hamlet. It is known that the Romans were here, and it has a cemetery chapel built in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.  But, not much else is known about its history. As it is in an agricultural region, some of the inhabitants actually live outside the hamlet on their farms.  It has a small population in the range of 250, and visitors sense the charm of days gone by and admire the great care the people take in maintaining Montrol-Sénard.  Restoration has taken place on homes, barns, classrooms, bread ovens and workshops to authentically represent the past.  Thousands of tourists visit here each year.

Eglise Saint-Julien, Montol-Sénard.© 2011-present Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved

The XII-XIIIth centuries' church, Eglise St-Julien, is worth a visit.  It boasts grand Limousin gates, a massive bell and the original 1730 crucifix.  We hope you will visit the Haute-Vienne and make an effort to spend time in Montrol-Sénard.  It's simply delightful.

For a place to stay very close to both Mortemart and Montrol-Sénard, consider the historic Château du Fraisse where you will receive a warm welcome and lovely accommodations.

[Photos © 2012-present Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.
Mouse over photos for descriptions.]

Featured Rental Château: 
Château de Saint-Martory
~ exquisite castle south of Toulouse ~

Château de Saint-Martory.  Copyright J-F Delort.  All rights reserved.

High on the banks above the River Garonne is this elegant and stately château that had its beginnings in 1530.  Set on an estate of 40 hectares (some 100 acres), Château de Saint-Martory is at the edge of the town by the same name.  Gardens, specimen trees, woodlands and lawns surround the château which is in a heavily forested area of the Haute-Garonne département.

Rented by the week, the château offers ten guest rooms ~ seven en suite bedrooms in the château and three bedrooms and two bathrooms in the beautifully converted Farmhouse.  Combine the luxury of this centuries-old castle with all the modern amenities ~ plus a swimming pool with a view of the Pyrénées ~ and you have the perfect getaway in France. And, for those flying into Toulouse, it is only a 45-minute drive to the château.

There are many activities in the region.  In the winter, skiing is not far away, and during the rest of the year you can enjoy hiking, mountain sports, horseback riding, golf, tennis, trekking and rafting ~ all conveniently close by.  And, if hot air ballooning is what you want to do, it can easily be arranged for the balloon to begin its ascent from the château grounds.

Do see Château de Saint-Martory's pages on our site, and consider it for your week or two away in France this year!  Inquiries can be made at

[Photo is © copyrighted by Monsieur J-F Delort.  All rights reserved.]


Anjou Bike Center banner

Contact the Anjou Bike Center for quality bicycle rentals, itineraries and comfortable 
lodging in the Loire.  Your host, Claude, will provide you with top-quality, well-maintained
bicycles and help all he can to make your cycling experience great.  Click on the above
banner to access the web site, or contact him at

We Welcome Back Château de Sombrun
~ an equestrian's dream ~

After an absence of several years, the lovely Château de Sombrun in the Hautes-Pyrénées has re-joined au Château.  It is under new ownership, and the château has been renovated to a high standard.  Guests are even welcome to bring their horses!  The area is perfect for daily rides.

Château de Sombrun.  Copyright Madame Migliani-Etmezguine.  All rights reservedOnce part of the fiefdom of the Count of Armagnac, the château is located just outside the village of Sombrun in an area of woodlands and meadows.  Four comfortable en suite guest rooms and two apartments are available for your stay, and the château is also available as a wedding venue.

Those who stay here can go horseback riding (two horses can be made available, or, as we mentioned, you can bring your own), or they can take advantage of the lovely swimming pool, rent bicycles or play a game of billiards.

Please visit Château de Sombrun on this web site to read all about it and see more photos.  Contact us at if you would like more information or to book a stay at the château.

[Photo is © copyrighted by Madame Migliani-Etmezguine.  All rights reserved.]

Please Say Bonjour to Château de Rère
~ in the heart of the Sologne ~

Château de Rère at night.  Copyright A. d'Orléans.  All rights reserved.Château de Rère is dramatically illuminated at night for the many special occasions held at the château.  Weddings, family celebrations and conferences are frequently hosted at this family residence.

This grand château, located in the Loir-et-Cher in the region known as the Sologne ~ 1900 square miles bordered on the north by the River Loire ~ has been in the same family for 22 generations.  The châtelain, Albéric d'Orléans, has transformed his large and historic family home into an elegant bed and breakfast with four spacious and comfortable en suite guest rooms.  There is a gîte and two family suites in the Pavillon which can be rented for a few nights or weekly.  He and his family will offer you a very warm welcome.

Just south of the historic city of Orléans and convenient to day trips to the châteaus of Chambord and Cheverny in the Loire, guests will find themselves in an area convenient to so many attractions while enjoying the château's tranquil, country atmosphere.  We were very impressed by the variety of excellent restaurants a short drive from the château.

To find out more and perhaps book your own reservation, please visit Château de Rère on our site today.  Or contact us directly at

[Photo is © copyrighted by Albéric d'Orléans.  All rights reserved.]

Château Tertre de Belvès
~ 5 minutes from Saint-Emilion ~

Château Tertre de Belvès.  Copyright Craig Gooding.  All rights reserved.Who doesn't want to visit Saint-Emilion just east of the city of Bordeaux? This wine center never loses its attraction, and Château Tertre de Belvès is a 5-minute drive into the center of town.  You can rent this château by the week ~ the château itself has five en suite bedrooms, and the converted Wine Chai has three duplex family suites with a total of six bedrooms and three bathrooms.  Each building has its own kitchen, dining room and salon.

Château Tertre de Belvès is our newest member and, like Château de Longsard in the Rhône, the owners produce their own wine, a Merlot that received 91 points from Wine Spectator.  The château is surrounded by vineyards ~ you will know without a doubt that you are in the wine country of southwest France! 

There is much to see and do when renting this château.  Day trips can include not only the town of Saint-Emilion (the jurisdiction is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), but wine tastings at Pomerol and Fronsac, and visits to the grand wine châteaus of the Médoc.   Fine restaurants and brasseries can be found in Libourne and Saint-Emilion, and Libourne has three open-air markets every week!  Spend the day on the Atlantic Coast, see the great sand Dune du Pilat or drive up the eastern side of the Gironde Estuary to explore the amazing Citadelle at Blaye.

Consider renting this charming château for yourself and family or friends for a week or more.  You will enjoy the gardens, the infinity swimming pool and this exceptional part of France.  Visit them today on our site, or contact us at for information or reservations.

 Photo is © copyrighted by M/Mme C. Gooding.  All rights reserved.]

News from Our Members . . .

Getting the news!

  • Château des Allues - Inquire about their three special offers from €140 for 2 people for one night including breakfast, €236 for two people for one night including apéritif, dinner and drinks as well as breakfast and a surprise gift, or €376 for two people for two nights with apéritif, dinner and drinks, breakfast each morning and a surprise gift.  These offers will not last long, so contact us soon for reservations or more information at
  • Château de la Barre -  Each summer, the proprietors of this historic and elegant château present a series of classical music concerts.  This year's events will be held in August, and you won't want to miss them.  For dates and details please contact us at
  • Château de Canisy -  The château is now offering a 3-day French Cooking School holiday with their chef, Christian Small.  You are invited into the kitchen of this 1000 year-old French château where you will discover the world renowned cuisine of Normandy through local market visits, spend an afternoon tasting the gastronomic specialties of the region, and take part in several hands-on cooking classes in this majestic place.  Come and enjoy the real vie de château.  Send an email for more information at
  • Château de Challain  is offering a great bargain in 2013!   Live like the Lord and Lady of the manor in this fairy tale château in the Loire.  The owner is offering 4 nights  (Sunday - Thursday) for only € 8500 for up to 30 people (including  breakfast) but only until June.  And only if you click here to book through au Château!
  • Château des Condé - Bring your family and friends to the Château's Nights of Fire:  2 nights / 3 days in Winter, exclusive hire, starting at € 13,156 including VAT.  This is exclusive use of the entire Renaissance château, the Grande Galerie, the Salle des Tentures and 20 bedrooms, plus the grounds and the rose garden with sound system and flaming torches until dawn.  From 3 PM on Thursday to mid-day on Saturday.  Contact us at
  • Château de Détilly is a lovely château in the Loire with accommodations for up to 27 people, all in beautifully appointed and luxurious rooms.  Great swimming pool, pool house, and tennis court.  Rental opportunities are still available after August 31 for either the Château, the Coach House or both.  Please contact us for further information at
  • Domaine des Faures -  Take part in the wonderful Garden Tours of Aquitaine as a guest at this lovely bed and breakfast.  There are several tours that you can read all about on their au Château pages.  Or, just come for a peaceful holiday.   In the summer, the château is rented by the week.  To ask questions or to request a booking please contact us at

We regret that Château de Pomiro in Gascony is no longer on our web site. However, for those of you intent on a lovely holiday in the region, be sure to visit Château de Bétous or Château de Sombrun our web site.  You can spend some time at the many wine and Armagnac producers of the region, take a drive to the charming villages in the foothills of the Pyrénées, or simply enjoy the fantastic weather of southwest France.

Château de Picomtal - Winter 2012  Copyright S. Halperin/J. Peureux. All rights reserved.
The extraordinary Château de Picomtal in the snow

Easy Recipe ~ Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Spring is coming, so why not add something floral to serve with dessert? How about some lavender shortbread cookies?  Here is a recipe you might want to try.  Specialty and gourmet shops are good places to find culinary lavender and lavender sugar.

You will need 3 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of cornstarch, 1 cup of lavender sugar, a pound of softened butter, and 1 tablespoon of chopped lavender buds.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream the butter until it is smooth, add the sugar and work together into a creamy consistency.  Sift the cornstarch and flour together ~ don't skip this step as it is very important.  Next, with an electric mixer, whip all the ingredients together until they are fluffy, gradually adding the lavender buds.  Continue mixing until the dough begins to separate.  Drop by teaspoonfuls or pipe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake until light brown, which is between 10 and 15 minutes.

Bon appétit! 

  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 113 - Where Are We?  from our Winter issue

The answer to last issue's quiz: Musée André-Jacquemart in Paris.
We had a winner out of several correct answers received.
Thank you all for playing!

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