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Autumn 2013

In this issue - 

    Welcome  Château de la Caillotière in the Pays de la Loire
  Château de Tocqueville in Normandy

   Off to the Southwest: 

Our Featured Rental:  Château la Roque de Bas in Bordeaux
  Our B&B Feature:  Le Clos de la Garenne in the sunny Charente-Maritime

    Château de Rouffillac  ~ the setting for a suspense-filled novel! 

News & Updates from our Members 

and  more!


 Bienvenue  Château de la Caillotière

~  the perfect château to rent in the Pays de la Loire  ~

Château de la Caillotière


From May through October, you and your companions can rent a week or two at this elegant and historic 19th century château just north of the River Loire.  Set on seventy acres of woodland, lawns and gardens ~ including the jardin à la française at the front ~ guests will find the estate at Château de la Caillotière filled with many relaxing garden spots as well as a pond to enjoy some fishing.  This peaceful location and fine château reminds guests that they are truly in authentic France.

There are six bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms, along with fine common rooms including a games room, a salon, a brand new kitchen, and The poola luxurious dining room that seats twenty-two.  Outdoor activities are also available.  There is a newly-renovated tennis court, a sparkling swimming pool and, for those so inclined, a pony and a horse for riding around the estate.

Completely self-catering, this château will provide the ideal getaway from everyday stress and concerns.  Here you will find calm and tranquility while having easy access to day trips to the royal châteaux of the Loire Valley, golf, antique shopping and discovering the beauty of the countryside and the charm of small French villages.

Do visit the château on our site today for contact information and so much more about Château de la Caillotière ~ enjoy a dream vacation in France with your friends and family.

Photos are © copyrighted by G & C de Noblet.  All rights reserved.]

French Quiz 116

Where are we? 

Name the waterway and the city.

Quiz 116. © Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved

The first person who sends us the correct complete answer 
will receive our exclusive au Château Note Cards.

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 Winter 2013 newsletter.

[Photo © Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

Château de Tocqueville 
~  a part of Normandy history  ~

Château de Tocqueville tower.  Photo copyright S. Tocqueville.  All rights reserved.

If you are arriving in France by ferry from Britain, Château de Tocqueville is a convenient destination on the Cotentin Peninsula. It is equally as easy to reach by auto or train from Paris.  The château is the family home of the descendants of Alexis de Tocqueville, a world-famous political thinker, historian and author of the 19th century.  His most well-known work, Democracy in America, came after an extended visit to the United States, and it has remained important to this day.

The square Pavillon at the south end of the château, shown in the above photo, is rented as a self-catering accommodation by the week or mid-week for short breaks when available, while the château itself remains the family's home.  Beautifully decorated, the recently renovated Pavillon offers five en suite bedrooms, a modern eat-in kitchen, an elegant dining room and salons for gathering with your traveling companions.

Guest Room Pavillon de TocquevilleGuest Room Pavillon de Tocqueville
Two of the five spacious bedrooms in the Pavillon

Although B&B accommodations are not offered, the owners will be happy to arrange a chef who will come to the Pavillon to prepare meals for your group at a reasonable cost.  And, there are excellent restaurants in the immediate area of the château.  The tennis court has been recently refurbished, and guests can avail themselves of conveniences such as satellite TV, Internet, WiFi, a washing machine and a dishwasher.  Central geothermal heating is a plus in the cooler months.  There is daily maid service as well.

Do visit their pages on our site to read more about the Pavillon and for information about all the historic sites and attractions convenient to the château.  With the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2014, travelers will be descending on Normandy, so don't hesitate to make your reservations well in advance. Château de Tocqueville  will be the perfect home base for exploring the coast of Normandy, so visit their pages soon to read more and hold a place for your friends or family at the château.

[Photo © copyrighted by S. de Tocqueville.  All rights reserved.]

Featured Bed & Breakfast: 

Le Clos de la Garenne
~ in the Charente-Maritime of Atlantic France ~

Le Clos de la Garenne.  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

Enter through the elaborate gate onto the estate of Le Clos de la Garenne, a warm and welcoming bed and breakfast in the Charente-Maritime, convenient to La Rochelle and the lovely Atlantic Coast of France, or reserve the self-catering apartment that can be rented by the week.

The historic village of Puyravault has a 2000-year history since it was founded in Gallo-Roman times, and Le Clos de la Garenne is itself a 360-year old residence brought into modern times for its owners and the guests they host.  Two comfortable en suite bedrooms and a two-bedroom suite are offered in addition to the aforementioned apartment.  Spacious, comfortable and charmingly decorated, windows overlook the gardens in this peaceful little hamlet.

Salon at Le Clos de la Garenne. Photo copyright M/M François.  All rights reserved.A friendly welcome from owners Patrick and Brigitte François will make you feel right at home.  Breakfasts are served in the large but cozy kitchen, and a library and salon are there for relaxation or reading.  If you choose to have dinner at Le Clos de la Garenne, it will be enjoyed in the 17th century dining room with stone floors and a grand fireplace.

Day trips to the Romanesque town of Surgères or to Île de Ré and Île d'Oléron are easy drives, or you can enjoy golf or horseback riding nearby. Don't miss the owners' two donkeys who will come over to the fence to satisfy their curiosity about visitors to their home.

Take a moment to visit Le Clos de la Garenne on our web site soon to see more photos and to read about all it has to offer. For reservations or to check availability, please contact us.

[Photos copyright Cold Spring Press and M. et Mme François.  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.

Le Château d'Oléron village. Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.
The village of Le Château d'Oléron

Brightly colored restaurants, oyster farmer's huts converted to gift shops, awnings and table umbrellas create a rainbow first impression of sunny Île d'Oléron when you arrive in the village of Le Château d'Oléron. Approach by the three kilometer long free bridge, to this lovely island of beaches, oyster beds and charming villages. 

This destination is a pleasant drive from Le Clos de la Garenne featured above, and the entire island is worth a visit.  While in Le Château d'Oléron have lunch at the marina on the deck of a restaurant, and afterward take a pleasant stroll to the Citadelle built on the orders of Cardinal Richelieu between 1630 and 1704 to protect the southern end of the island.  Later, it was updated by Marshal Vauban and became an important defense on France's Atlantic coast.

le Phare de Chassiron, courtesy Saint-Denis d'Oléron web site.  All rights reserved.Citadelle Île d'Oléron.  Wikipedia.

Le Phare de Chassiron                                  Citadelle at Le Château d'Oléron

Drive to the northern tip of the island to the magnificent lighthouse, le Phare de Chassiron, in the town of Saint-Denis d'Oléron ~ surrounded by artfully designed gardens with walkways for visitors' enjoyment.  Climb the lighthouse for a view of the coast and tidal pools.  Île d'Oléron is France's largest island after Corsica, and a place that will remain in your fondest memories. 

[Photos:  Mouse over other photos for credits.  All Rights Reserved.]

Featured Rental Château: 

Château la Roque de Bas
~ in the Bordeaux Pomerol and St-Emilion wine region ~

Château la Roque de Bas.  Photo copyright Jane and Michael Brown.  All rights reserved.
Château la Roque de Bas

Gather your friends and family for a enjoyable stay at Château la Roque de Bas near Bordeaux.  This five-bedroom château is a weekly rental complete with tennis court, a saltwater swimming pool and bicycles to explore the countryside.  Surrounded by vineyards overlooking the River Dordogne, the château itself is elegant and refined with spacious en suite guest rooms and appointed in tasteful colors and fabrics.

A fully-equipped kitchen makes this self-catering property a pleasure.  Meals can be prepared using local produce and regional products, and guests are welcome to help themselves to fruits and vegetables from the owners' kitchen garden.  For those eager to learn the magic of French cuisine, a fine chef trained by Paul Bocuse is available for cooking lessons by advance reservation.  He will suggest wine pairings during the classes as well as for the meals he may be asked to prepare for your group. And, for those who want the ultimate relaxing holiday experience, a qualified masseuse will come to the château for massages and beauty treatments for all the guests. 

Spacious guest suite at the châteauModern fully-equipped kitchen
Spacious guest suite                                        Modern kitchen

Enjoy the luxurious comfort of Egyptian cotton sheets, Fragonard toiletries and myriad other thoughtful touches your hosts have provided to make your stay at Château la Roque de Bas absolutely perfect.  Please visit their pages on our site today for more information and photos, and contact us for your reservation.

[Photo is © copyrighted by Michael and Jane Brown. All rights reserved.]


France Cruise on the Seine in Paris - photo copyright France Cruises. All rights reserved.

Enjoy the waterways of France

Cruise aboard a luxury riverboat or barge through the famous rivers of France. 
Whether you love the lights of Paris or the quiet countryside, 
France Cruises offers tours through many regions in France. 
These cruises are short, affordable, and the expert travel specialists 
at France Cruises will handle all pre- and post-cruise desires for guests.

Be sure to mention  au Château  for a special discount!

News from Our Members . . .

Getting the news!

Château de L'Isle-Marie in Normandy has, regrettably, closed its doors to guests.  This beautiful château, once called one of the 50 Most Romantic Hideaways Worldwide by Travel & Leisure magazine, will be greatly missed by us and by those guests who have enjoyed their time there.

Château de Chorey in Burgundy is still taking bed and breakfast reservations for the remainder of September and October, and offers guests the opportunity to have tastings of regional wines.  The château owners sold their vineyards, but their wines are still available for guests to enjoy. The château will close in November and open next year as a weekly rental.  If you would like to reserve a few nights in a lovely Burgundy setting, send us an email.

Château Saint-Philippe.  Copyright George Ohanian and Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserve.

Château Saint-Philippe in the Savoie, offering dramatic alpine views and crisp mountain air, has something special for those who book through au Château  ~ a 15% discount until December 31st.  Don't miss this opportunity to stay in a stunning, historic château where you will be welcomed warmly by your host. 
                                                                                                                               Château Saint-Philippe

Don't forget, that the lovely Château de Prauthoy in Champagne country offers their guests chauffeured tours of wine country in one of their many luxury classic automobiles.   Enjoy a visit to their grotto and take advantage of the gourmet cuisine offered at dinner.  This is an experience you will not want to miss. Visit their pages on au Château for further information.

Château des Condé, an exclusive venue for weddings and corporate meetings, is changing its name to Château de Vallery after the name of the town in Burgundy's Yonne département where it is located.   Very soon the name change will appear on our pages. This beautiful château offers a total of 28 guest rooms, lavish banquet rooms and dedicated attention to detail to make every wedding unique and perfect.  We will be happy to check availability for you whether it is for 2014 or a year or two after. 

We have several members who produce wine and Champagne, and some of them suffered damage to their vineyards this spring and summer due to heavy cold rains and violent hail storms.  The bad weather in France's grape growing regions is causing vintners to face the poorest harvests in forty years.  We hope that you will include French wines in your purchases to support this important agricultural contribution to the French economy.

[Contact us at  for availability or reservations at any property
mentioned in this issue. Please be sure to mention the property name.]

Please remember that  au Château  gives every inquiry personal, prompt attention ~ and
we are here to answer your questions, unlike the automated online booking services.

Romance & Suspense in the Périgord!

The Dordogne Deception   by Sherry Joyce

Imagine that you are an aspiring author on an exciting holiday in know that there is a book is inside of you just dying to get out, but you have yet to experience that magic something to begin your novel.  Suddenly, here in the beautiful and mysterious Château de Rouffillac, a bolt of lightning, literally, gives you the inspiration for the perfect setting and the perfect story!

That's what happened to Sherry Joyce.  On a stormy night, while she was a guest at Rouffillac, lightning struck the château.  The Dordogne Deception was born ~ the story of an American divorcée who leaves her career and life behind to buy a château in France ~ Château Roufillay in the book ~ where she begins a new life as the châtelaine operating a luxury bed and breakfast.  She is soon swept off her feet by a charming Frenchman with a shady past who is a guest at her château, while also becoming entangled in an unsolved crime whose string of clues led a British detective to her doorstep at Roufillay.  Her once calm and ordinary life in America takes on twists and turns in France and becomes quite dangerous when she no longer knows who she can trust. 

The author does an extraordinary job of bringing readers into the unique atmosphere of the ancient château.  Early reviews are very positive with readers commenting on the well-written descriptions of the château, the countryside and how well the author built the characters and story line.  Many said they couldn't put it down!  Madame Isabelle Grassé, the actual owner of the château, is quite excited about the book and pleased that her château the centerpiece of this novel.

If you've stayed at Château de Rouffillac, a member of au Château for many years, this novel may hold a special meaning for you.  If you haven't been a guest there, you might want to change that and make a reservation. Send us an email for information and availability.

In the meantime, do get a copy of The Dordogne Deception, a French château-lover's perfect mystery!  Click on either of the links below to order in hardcover or paperback.

Sherry Joyce, a former VP of human resources in Silicon Valley, 
enjoyed years of creative and technical writing, from product marketing
to serving as editor-in-chief of high-tech company newsletters. 
She is a member of the Sacramento Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America.

BOOKS ABOUT FRANCE  and MORE AT AMAZON !  Click hereBuy your France books at Barnes and Noble

Click on either link to order your copy today!

Easy Recipe ~ Fingerling Potatoes with Cèpes and Shallots


We are once again drawing from a great recipe resource ~ Walnut Wine and Truffle Groves: Culinary Adventures in the Dordogne ~ for this issue's recipe.  We repeat our thanks to authors Kimberley Lovato and Laura Schmalhorst for allowing us to publish it. 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 Autumn 2010 issue of FRANCE On Your Own.  A special link to our web site is the extensive mention of Le Prieuré du Château de Biron, sold by owner Sally Evans (mentioned in the book) and now in the loving and capable hands of Elisabeth Vedier who has further improved upon this 12th century residence making it one of the most delightful places to stay in the Dordogne.

You will need 2 pounds (1kg) of fingerling potatoes, 4 tablespoons (60g) of unsalted butter, 4 shallots sliced, 8 ounces (250g) of porcini mushrooms brushed clean, stemmed and julienned, 1 cup (250ml) heavy whipping cream, coarse salt (we prefer French sea salt), cracked pepper and 1/4 cup (15g) of chopped parsley.

Fill a large pot 3/4 full of salted water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the potatoes and cook until just tender - about 10 minutes - and drain.  Transfer them to a bowl of ice water to cool.  When they are cool enough to handle, cut them lengthwise.

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat melt butter, add shallots and sauté until tender - only about 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and sauté until they are tender - about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes to the pan and sauté until heated through - about 3 or 4 minutes.  Finally, add the cream and simmer until it is bubbly and slightly thickened - about 8 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley and served immediately.  Serves 6.  Bon appétit! 

[Order your copy of Walnut Wine and Truffle Groves at the Amazon or Barnes & Noble links above.]

  We hope you have enjoyed au Château News.
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encourage them to subscribe.  It's FREE!

Answer to Quiz 115 - Where Are We?  from our Summer  issue

  Formerly the Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile in Albi,
it is now known as Albi Cathedral first built as a fortress in 1287.
Our winner with the first correct answer was a subscriber in Florida.
Thank you all for participating!

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