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Winter 2013

In this issue 

    Welcome  Château de Moulin le Comte 

    Dordogne Garden Tours and more in 2014 

   Coming soon: Château de Sommesnil & Château Bouffémont 

   Our Featured Rental:  Tournou le Haut in South Central France
  Our B&B Feature:  Les Vieux Murs in the bucolic Allier

   News & Updates from our Members

New!  Département Maps showing property locations!


 Meet Our Newest Member

~  a warm welcome awaits you in the Pas de Calais  ~

Chateau de Moulin le Comte


Whether you are arriving in France from the port of Calais, driving south from countries in the north, or taking the Eurostar from London to Lille, Château de Moulin le Comte is the perfect place to stay. 

Elegant dinner at the château

Five spacious en suite guest rooms, apéritifs before dinner which is available each evening, and the lovely surrounding countryside to enjoy, all combine to make this historic guest house the right destination.

River Lys flows through the estate

The charming town of Aire-sur-la-Lys is a short walk from the château, while day trips can include visits to Dunkerque and Lens where you can visit the recently-opened Lens-Louvre Museum.  On the grounds you will enjoy the delightful River Lys as it gently wends its way through the estate.

Please visit the château on our site today for contact information and to see and read so much more about Château de Moulin le Comte.  You will discover that it is the bed and breakfast you have been looking for near Calais, Boulogne, Dunkerque and Lille, with more to offer than simply a great location!  Visit them on our site, and then contact us at if you have questions or would like to make a reservation.

Photos are © copyrighted by Francis van der Elst.  All rights reserved.]

French Quiz 117

Where are we? 

Name this prominent politician and church figure and the town of the same name.

Quiz 117. © 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 Spring 2014 newsletter.

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

Coming Soon

~  Château de Sommesnil in Normandy  ~

Château de Sommesnil

An historic château in the Seine-Maritime département of Normandy and convenient to Paris, Château de Sommesnil, has been recently restored to a high standard.  It is offered as a weekly rental, and guests will enjoy the three salons, an elegant dining room that seats twenty, and nine en suite guest rooms.  Additional bedrooms are being added and should be ready for high season in 2014.  Initial construction was in the mid-1700s, but it has interesting history including in the 1940s when General Rommel occupied the château. 

The new owner offers all-inclusive tours that can begin when he retrieves guests at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris in air-conditioned coaches that seat 16 or 30 passengers.  Each tour is designed to suit the interests of the group and can include Château de Chantilly, Monet's gardens and the D-Day beaches. 

For questions or making early reservations at the château, please contact us at  And be sure to return soon to see Château de Sommesnil's pages on au Château.

~  Château Bouffémont near Paris  ~

Château Bouffémont

The extraordinary Château Bouffémont only thirty kilometers north of Paris has just opened in September to guests.  This astonishing nineteenth century landmark is fully staffed to welcome guests for weddings, seminars, family celebrations and gatherings, or any group event that you want tailored to your specific requirements.  If you dream of a romantic French wedding, convenient to Paris and guests arriving from outside of France, this château is an ideal venue.

Its ten suites, multiple salons, professional kitchen, and terraces overlooking the Montmorency Forest will mean that your every need, both practical and esthetic will be met.  No amenities have been overlooked, from concierge service and a butler to a private chef and chauffeur service. 

Flight courses at the nearby Les Ailerons Aviation Club or horseback riding at the Bouffémont Riding Club are only two of the many activities available to guests of Château Bouffémont.  Water sports, river beaches, hiking, mountain biking, boating, golf and tennis are also nearby.

Come back to our site soon to see the château's pages with stunning photos and detailed information.  Of course, you can book ahead if you would like by contacting us at

[Photo © copyrighted by Château de Sommesnil and Château Bouffémont.  All rights reserved.]

Featured Bed & Breakfast: 

Les Vieux Murs
~ in the peaceful Allier of  the Auvergne ~

Autumn at Les Vieux Murs

You will be immediately impressed when you proceed through the gates up the driveway to Les Vieux Murs ~  one minute you are in the village of Souvigny and the next you have emerged onto a beautiful estate with a stunning golden manoir to greet you. Les Vieux Murs (the old walls) is aptly named, and you will pass the remnants of those Medieval walls as you approach the main entrance.  Best of all will be the greeting you will receive from the delightful owners, Laurence and Michel Louyot.  They cannot be more accommodating, offering recommendations of local attractions, making reservations for dinner at some excellent nearby restaurants or just being there when you need them.  Their bed and breakfast is a model of what a B&B should be.

Breakfast in the gardenSpeaking of breakfast, it is superb - homemade custards and pastries, great coffee, yogurt, fresh fruit salad and so much more!  The lovely dining room is adorned with paintings by an earlier owner and French doors lead to the back garden.  In warmer weather, breakfast can be enjoyed in the garden as shown in this photo. 

Set in a 5-acre park, Les Vieux Murs was built in 1902 after Le Petit Trianon at Versailles.  The resemblance is amazing!  There are three double bedrooms and one twin, all en suite.  They are spacious, beautifully decorated and very comfortable with excellent beds and all amenities. Look for a special treat in your room when you arrive.  Pleasant days trips to see some of the local Romanesque churches are very Chambre Empirerewarding.  Visit nearby Moulins, capital of Bourbon from 1327, and see its Flamboyant Gothic Cathedral Notre-Dame de Moulins, the interesting Centre National du Costume de Scène et de la Scènographie (the only one of its kind in France) exhibiting costumes from the Comédie Française and the National Opera of Paris among others.  Or, stay at the manoir to enjoy the sparkling swimming pool!

And, of course, there is the village of Souvigny where Les Vieux Murs is located and its church that evolved from the year 916 and the Priory of Saints Peter and Paul.  Souvigny and the church were on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. 

Take a moment to visit Les Vieux Murs 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 at

[Photos copyright M. et Mme Louyot.  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.

Port de Plaisance de Paris-Arsenal.  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.
Port de Plaisance de Paris-Arsenal

Adjacent to Place de la Bastille in Paris' 4th arrondissement is the marina known as Arsenal.  Private boats moor here for a very reasonable monthly fee.  At the north end (not shown) one can see the Colonne de Juillet at the Place de la Bastille, while at the south end is the bridge, Pont Morland, seen in this photo.  Sharing the 4th with the marina are the Ile de la Cité and the Ile St-Louis, while not far to the east is the Opéra Bastille. 

At its north end, visitors will find restaurants, shopping and entertainment.  At the south end, the River Seine.  The marina's central location makes it very convenient for visitors arriving by boat to dock at the marina and have easy access to so many of Paris' attractions and transportation on land as both the Gare de Lyon, Gare d'Austerlitz and the charming Bercy are in the adjoining 12th arrondissement. 

[Photos:  Photo copyright Cold Spring Press..  All Rights Reserved.]

Featured Rental Château: 

Tournou le Haut

~  an exclusive rental in the south  ~

Tournou le Haut. Photo copyright John Childress.  All rights reserved.
Tournou le Haut

It was the eleventh century when a Cathar watch tower was constructed to oversee one of the secret routes to and from the Pyrénées.  Today it is an appealing and enjoyable weekly rental property.  But the intrigue isn't over!  It is also the setting of the novel Almost Perfect by John Childress, the owner of Tournou le Haut.  This is a wonderful year 'round destination ~ perfect in the spring, summer and autumn months for the temperate climate, and because of central heating and marvelous open fireplaces, it is cozy and comfortable in winter as well. 

Wine CellarMaster chambre
          Impressive Wine Cellar                                      Regal and unique Master Suite

When you arrive at Tournou le Haut you will be greeted by the delightful and friendly managers, Duncan and Alison.  They will show you the property which has six bedrooms (two are en suite), a fully-equipped kitchen, dining room that seats twelve, and family room with a computer and Internet access, television, DVD player and so much more.  Of course, WiFi is available throughout the castle. In addition, there is a Great Room with a music system and piano and, on the top floor, a library ~ the entire castle encourages relaxation and a fun family gathering.

Guests will enjoy the infinity swimming pool, beautiful landscaping, dining terraces and a spacious balcony off the family and dining rooms where meals can be taken while gazing over the surrounding vineyards. Cycling is possible in the area, and there are many activities to fill your time and an abundance of interesting places nearby to visit. (See News from our Members below for more.)

Pool, terrace and castleFamily room and dining room
              Pool and dining terrace                                      Spacious Family and Dining Rooms

It's time to head south for the sunshine, and Tournou le Haut is the perfect place to spend a week or more with your family and friends.  To read more and see additional photos, please visit their pages today.  And be sure to contact us at with your questions or to make a reservation.

[Photos © copyrighted by John Childress. All rights reserved.]


Paris Through the Ages Strolls banner

See hidden, historic and fascinating Paris with Arthur Gillette

Go beyond the tourist attractions and places found in the guide books.
Take advantage of Arthur's in-depth knowledge of the City of Light by experiencing
 one or more of his 17 fascinating Paris Through the Ages Strolls the next time you are in Paris.
From Smiling Architecture: Parisian Art Nouveau to the Naughty Marais
and from the Liberation of Paris to the "Grand Century" on the Île St-Louis,
there is a stroll for everyone and for every interest.  Visit the FRANCE On Your Own
Marketplace page, and scroll down to read a summary of each stroll.

To schedule your stroll and to obtain prices, contact Arthur Gillette by email
 at or phone him at 

Please be sure to mention  au Château!

News from Our Members . . .

Getting the news!

  • Timothy Corrigan, Los Angeles designer and owner of the Neoclassical Loire Valley Château du Grand-Lucé is pleased that his book, An Invitation to Chateau du Grand-Lucé: Decorating a Great French Country House, has been published.  The book relates the five-year restoration of the château and some of his decorating secrets. The appeal of the château is its comfortable look and feel, and Mr Corrigan tells how he blended California casual with classical ~ the result is outstanding.  The book is filled with beautiful photographs and the cover is the exquisite Grand Salon.  It is now available now at  Please also visit the château on our site.
  • Tournou le Haut's managers want everyone to know about the The Limoux Carnaval (Fécos), the longest carnival in the world, running from January 26, 2014 to the first weekend of April.  A tiny village near Limoux is selected each year to host the now famous Toques and Clochers wine festival and in 2014 the village is Toureilles.  Thousands of people will participate in wine tastings, a parade, and major festivities including the Sunday wine auction. Some 140 wines are available for tasting.  The proceeds from the auction go to the host village to restore their village church.  Of course, food is abundant.  For information about more activities in the region and renting Tournou le Haut, only six kilometers from Toureilles and not far from Carcassonne, contact
  • Domaine de Moulin Mer in the Finistère of Brittany has completed it wellness center (sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi/spa), and now has a qualified masseur at the disposal of its guests for Californian or Swedish massages.  And, for the Christmas season, they will be happy to organize a personalized Domaine de Moulin Mer gift box.
Spa at Domaine de Moulin Mer.  Photo copyrighted Stéphane Pécot.  All rights reserved.
  • Château Coulon Laurensac in Bordeaux has great plans for 2014.  First, Ronald and Margaret Rens, the owners of the château and certified wine experts, have scheduled three Bordeaux Gourmet Wine and Cooking Tours that will be from June 9 to June 14, June 30 to July 5, and September 22 to 27, 2014.  Sign up to cook with Margaret!  Ronald will also host Bordeaux Wine Tours from May 19 to 24 and September 1 to 6, 2014 (6 days and 5 nights).  Accommodations are at the château.  The Wine and Cooking Tours are €3995 and the Wine Tours are €4495, per person, double or twin occupancy, with one single room available.  For more information contact us at
  • For excellent Provençal wines and exquisite olive oil, you couldn't do better than pay Château Juvenal a visit.  Read what others have to say about their wines here.  Sales of their wines are now beginning in the USA and you can contact European Cellars at their web site ( to find out where to buy them.  They would make a lovely 'French' holiday gift.  But, even better would be to spend a few nights or longer at Château Juvenal, a charming bed and breakfast not far from Carpentras, Avignon, Orange, Vaison la Romain, the antiques markets of L'Ile sur la Sorgue and so many other cities and villages of Provence.  And, if you visit them, you can take home some of that luscious olive oil!
  • Domaine de Faures in the Dordogne just outside of the bastide town of Monpazier offers a variety of garden tours for their guests.  There are four openings remaining for the May 17-24 Garden Tour in 2014. This year they have added La Belle France to their portfolio for those who would like to learn more about the people, language and history of France.  Guests will be based at their beautiful manoir, and a week's tour will include conversational French with a professional French teacher and a cooking class with a French chef.  There will be visits to historic châteaux, bastide villages and markets.  This package is available to both independent travelers or small groups.  To join a tour or learn more visit their pages on au Château or contact us at
Biarritz sunset.  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.
  • We sadly bit adieu to Villa Vauréal in Biarritz. The lovely village home, only steps from the sea, provided us with a wonderful bed and breakfast experience, and we will long remember our time there.  The owners have sold the Villa and will live elsewhere in the city, and we wish them the very best.

                                                                                          Sunset in Biarritz

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.

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

Easy Recipe ~ Noix de Pecan à la Cannelle

Nuts in the Kitchen by Susan Herrmann LoomisOnce again,we are borrowing a recipe from wonderful On Rue Tatin chef Susan Herrmann Loomis in Normandy who never ceases to amaze with her recipes, enthusiasm, wonderful cooking classes and cookbooks!  This recipe for Cinnamon Pecans is perfect for the holidays!  Do click on the Amazon link below to buy her book(s).

You will need 1 large egg white, pinch fine sea salt, 3 cups (350g) pecans, 1 cup (140g) almonds (coarsely chopped), ¼ cup (30g) sesame seeds, 1/3 cup (65g) vanilla sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, Fleur de sel – optional.

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).  In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and the cinnamon. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg white with a pinch of salt just until it foams. Add the nuts and the sesame seeds, and stir to coat. Add the cinnamon sugar mixture and toss with the nuts so that they are thoroughly coated. Sprinkle with the fleur de sel, if you like. 

Turn the nuts out onto a jelly roll pan and place them on the center rack of the oven. Toast until they are golden and smell like heaven, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven and let them cool on the pan. They will cool into clumps. To serve, break up the clumps. These nuts will keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks. They can also be frozen.

Yields about 4 cups nuts

Bon apétit!


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Answer to Quiz 116 - Where Are We?  from our Autumn  issue

 Canal St Martin in Paris
We had many correct guesses, but our winner was
a reader and tour director from Orange, California.

Thank you all for participating!

Département maps courtesy of Wikipédia, France

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