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Summer 2014

In this issue 

    Enjoy a Spa Vacation at a French Château!

   Coming Soon:  Château de Courtomer in Normandy

   Our Featured Rental:   Château de la Poujade in the Périgord

    L'Apropos in Amazing Orange ~ Our Featured B&B 

  News & Updates from our members

   A pretty Château for Sale in the Vendée 

New! Département Maps showing property locations!


Indulge yourself at a Spa  in France . . .

. . .  from Brittany to Provence ~ from the Savoie to Bordeaux !

Choose from this fine selection on our web site.

Spa at Domaine de Moulin Mer
The spa at Domaine de Moulin Mer is brand new ~ created when the owners discovered that their clients came to them not only for the relaxing, western Brittany coast but to rejuvenate themselves and unwind from their everyday lives.  Offering the dry heat of a sauna (60 - 100° C), a hammam (Turkish steam bath) with a maximum temperature of 60° C + 100% humidity, all at a small supplement for those who book rooms at the Domaine, the spa will make every holiday in this exceptional part of France perfect. 

Professional facial at Château des Monthairons
Planning a visit to the Lorraine area of eastern France?  Don't miss the chance to stay at the magnificent Château des Monthairons on the peaceful River Meuse.  After visiting the historic regional sites, return to the château for a relaxing professional facial or massage in their spa.  You'll find a sauna, steam room, and Jacuzzi as well - complete with bathrobe and slippers - all for the small supplement of €20 per session for a guest of the château.  Finish with a gourmet dinner in their elegant restaurant - a perfect end to your busy day.

Juvenal Hammam

Step into the hammam at Château Juvenal in Provence and lose all your cares.  This is just one of the many ways to relax at this château's spa located in their newly converted dovecote.  Perhaps you'll find a massage, the hot tub or Jacuzzi equally as refreshing.  Take advantage of the sparkling swimming pool, borrow bicycles for rides in the lovely countryside (visit their vineyards up the road), or hike the country lanes.  Not far from Carpentras and its fabulous outdoor market, this château is the ideal Provençal getaway for your next visit to the south of France.

Châeau de la Roque Jacuzzi

Château de la Roque in Normandy has a spacious gym and spa which includes this inviting Jacuzzi.  The Turkish bath and exercise room with state of the art equipment, are just a few of the amenities available to guests.  Take advantage of the bicycles for exploring the Cotentin Peninsula and coastal villages, or stay at the château and enjoy a few games of tennis.  Offering single, double, triple and larger rooms, the château is able to accommodate all guests comfortably at any time of year.

The pool at Château du Breuil

The estate of Château du Breuil in the Loire Valley wine region near Cheverny is conducive to complete enjoyment and relaxation.  A fine restaurant, spacious and pretty en suite guest rooms, and this irresistible heated swimming pool make anyone's stay here memorable.  But, don't miss out on the spa, complete with several styles of massages with essential oils, hot stones, and back relaxation sessions.  Spa sessions are scheduled for two hours, while back relaxation is for fifteen minutes.  This little amount of time out of your travel schedule is well worth it.  You will leave the château feeling superbe!

Château des Allues potager

Château des Allues in the foothills of the Alpes in the Savoie has a new wellness center for its guests.  Complete with a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, massages can be arranged by appointment.  Visiting here is really good for your health!  Not only can you take walks in the crisp mountain air along winding country roads and mountain trails, but your host specializes in growing organic produce in his vast kitchen garden and then preparing it for his guests at dinnertime.  Look at the videos on his au Château web page to learn all about it.

The exercise room at La Borde

In the Yonne département of Burgundy is the ultra luxurious La Borde Maison d'Hôtes, where you can arrive by car or even by helicopter!
Condé Nast Johansens chose La Borde for its 2013 Most Luxurious Guest House Award.  Not only are the spacious en suite rooms magnificent and the classified Jardin Remarquable gardens captivating, but the spa is exceptional.  A sauna, hamman, shower, exercise room and Massothermie (all over massage) are available to guests, as well as a treadmill and weights.  Cycling is enjoyable in the area, and everyone will love the tennis court and swimming pool.

Spa at Château de Garrevaques
Farther south, in the Midi-Pyrénées, you will find the classic Château de Garrevaques where you can rent a five-bedroom apartment on the top floor of the château or individual guest rooms in the Pavillon.  Either way, you can avail yourself of the benefits of the Pavillon's spa, Les Soins de Colette, for professional massages in private rooms, hot stones, mud baths, hydro massage or steam away your cares in the hamman.  The château has a lovely swimming pool and tennis court for more active health pursuits.  This is a beautiful region of France made only better by a stay at this château.

Welness at la Roque de BasChâteau la Roque de Bas near Saint Emilion in  southwest France is a self-catering weekly rental with a fantastic swimming pool and fine tennis court.  In addition to those benefits, a professional French masseuse will come to the château to povider massages for guests. Enjoy visiting the region, go to vineyards for wine tastings, schedule a chef to come to the château to prepare meals or give cooking lessons - but do remember to get that massage. You won't regret it!


The spa at Château de la Resle

Burgundy is the home to Château de la Resle, a retreat resplendent in art and culture, and with a brand new spa offering guests high-quality exercise equipment, a sauna and steam room.  Also brand new this year is the heated swimming pool.  Reserve your room for several days at this château in the countryside, surrounded by woodlands and tranquility, while still convenient to charming villages and historic sites too numerous to mention.

We hope that you will stay at one or more of these inviting historic properties when next in France ~ a far more fulfilling experience than any hotel, we guarantee.  And, while there, take advantage of their spas, bicycles, tennis courts or swimming pools to get the most out of your visit.

[Photos are © copyrighted by château owners. All rights reserved.]

French Quiz 119

Where are we?

What is this monument and where is it?

Hints: It was (it is estimated) built around AD 20, has had more than one
restoration, is the oldest surviving example of its kind, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Quiz 119.  Photo copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

We are providing many hints because no one guessed our last Quiz!

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 Autumn 2014 newsletter.

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

Coming Soon. . .
. . . Château de Courtomer  in Normandy

Château de Courtomer
 Château de Courtomer

This elegant 18th century country manoir is located in Normandy's Orne département along an ancient Roman road.  It was built on the eve of the French Revolution on the site of an 11th century stronghold of the Barons of Courtomer who served the King of France.

Today, it is an exquisite property offering 15 en suite guest rooms, a modern kitchen and all 21st century conveniences, while maintaining the tradition and authenticity that comes with careful preservation of its aristocratic heritage and 18th century details and architecture.

The grounds include an 18th century glacière, an Orangerie, stables, a spring house and a working farm.  The château has a large dining hall, a more intimate smaller dining room, two beautifully appointed salons, a Catholic chapel and a Protestant temple (now undergoing restoration). Guests will be duly impressed by the magnificent grand staircase ~ the escalier d'honneur.  Three conference rooms, a business center and WiFi are available for guests as well.

The château does not offer bed and breakfast accommodations but is rented in its entirety on a weekly basis for gatherings of friends, family reunions and vacations, celebrations, and business meetings.  Only 160 kilometers from Paris, it is convenient for those arriving from near and far.

return to our site soon to see Château de Courtomer in great detail.  Perhaps, it will be your group's next destination in France.

[Photo Copyright owners of Château de Courtomer.  All rights reserved.]

Featured Rental Château:

Château de la Poujade

~  in the heart of the Dordogne ~

Château de la Poujade

Special Offer:  weeks of July 5  & July 12 are still available at €4000 per week!!

Rural peace and quiet while only a few minutes drive from all the wonderful sights and attractions of the Dordogne ~ that's the advantage of a stay at Château de la Poujade. This spacious 17th century chartreuse (charter house) is the largest in the region and a listed Historical Monument.

Château de la Poujade offers seven guest rooms for a maximum capacity of 15 adults or children plus a toddler under the age of 2.  The château, which is rented by the week, has a grand dining room, tranquil and relaxing salon, fully-equipped kitchen and is set in a beautiful parkland.  There is a small swimming pool, fitness room in a converted chapel, and table tennis in the Orangerie.

Château cuisineSpacious guest room

                                                          Rustic cuisine and an elegant bedrooms at Château de la Poujade                           

The Dordogne has so much to offer visitors including delightful historic villages, prehistoric sites, activities such as golf, river canoeing and kayaking, and equestrian pursuits.  Add to that the beauty of the region, and this is the ideal vacation destination.

The Dordogne département

find out more, visit Château de la Poujade on our site, and contact us with questions, or to make a reservation.

[Photos © copyrighted by Comte et Comtesse de Commarque.  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 Mans Stairs over the Tunnel.  Copyright Cold Sprintg Press 2012 to present.  All rights reserved.

Stairs between Cité Plantagenet and Place des Jacobins in Le Mans

Le Mans is best known for its racing circuit, especially the Le Mans 24-hour held each year in June  - the world's oldest endurance race that began in 1923.  This year's race will be June 14-15 on Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe.  Needless to say, most accommodations in the region have been fully booked for many months!

Visiting the city of Le Mans is always interesting, from the cobbled old town known as Cité Plantagenet (wear sturdy shoes to go walking here!) and the grand Cathédrale de Saint-Julien within the fortified Roman walls, to the remnants of the Roman baths (
Crypte Archéologique des Thermes Romains) and the Cistercian Abbaye de l'Epau, founded by the wife of Richard the Lionheart.

This photo shows 'The Tunnel', built in the 19th century, giving access to Cité Plantagenet, and stairs for pedestrians to go between the Cité Plantagenet and Place des Jacobins.  It has various names including Tunnel Wilbur Wright and Tunnel des Jacobins.  In reality it is a deep trench, but because of its high walls, it is not well lit ~ and thus it is called the Tunnel.

And, of course, we are particularly partial to any location graced by the beautiful River Sarthe which courses its way through Le Mans.

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

Featured Bed & Breakfast:

L'Apropos in Orange

~   steps from the Amphitheater  ~ 
L'Apropos gardens
The parc at L'Apropos

Originally constructed in 1860, L'A Propos, is a property that will seduce you with its natural elegance, fine décor and vast private gardens in the heart of historic Orange.  It is simple in its appearance from the street, don't let that simplicity fool you, for inside it is a sparkling and cheery B&B with spacious en suite guest rooms and suites, an inviting dining room, and all the amenities a guest could want.  To make it nearly perfect, you will find your hostess absolutely charming!

We were most impressed by the gardens ~ as they take you off into the countryside so you completely forget that you are in the heart of an ancient city.

Chambre LevantTerrace of Chambre Levant

                                                                            Chambre Levant and its spacious terrace

When you arrive you will be directed through the large gates allowing you to park your car safely off the road.  After a night in your lovely room, a hearty breakfast will help you start your day.  If you like, you can arrange to have dinner at L'Apropos in the evening ~ superb cuisine beautifully presented and long remembered. L'Apropos is convenient to all the important attractions in Orange ~ within walking distance, in fact ~ and a place to which you will vow to return.


take a moment to visit L'Apropos on our web site to see more photos and to find out what it and the historic city of Orange have to offer.  For reservations or to check availability, please contact us at

 [Photos Copyright L'Apropos.  All rights reserved.]


The coast at Nice. Photo by Kim Defforge.  All rights reserved.

Come share life on the French Riviera via "24/7 in France"

The book, "Solitary Desire - One Woman's Journey to France"  by Kim Defforge,
is an engaging & inspirational story  filled with love, sweat and tears
 to show how dreams can come true!

<>Read Kim's blog featuring current events, news, amusing stories,  articles about French cuisine, & savoir-faire!
Contact  Kim to buy her book or click here to buy it from

News from Our Members . . .

  • Château Coulon Laurensac in Bordeaux will no longer appear on our web site for accommodations at their château.  But, we will still be working with them to book participants Getting the news!for their wine tours.  Small groups can enjoy visits to wine producers who are rarely open to the public, dinners in fine restaurants, ground transportation and Ronald's wine expertise. We will be happy to provide the dates of upcoming tours, tour prices and make your reservations to stay at the château.  Simply contact us at
  • au Château is pleased to present over 25 châteaus whose owners will host weddings of various sizes.  Perhaps you've seen our display ad in Brides Magazine if you live in the UK.  The owners of these châteaus can often suggest wedding planners and will advise the bride and groom with regard to caterers, musicians, florists, photographers and celebrants.  See which of our members offer their châteaus as wedding venues by clicking on this page and looking for the bride and groom icon. 

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.]

Château for Sale

In the sunny Vendée, not far from Atlantic Beaches, there is a very pretty château on an acre of land comprised of 8 bedrooms, three bathrooms, a completely equipped kitchen, a utility room, two great salons (one with original Impressionist murals) and a library in the tower.

A sprawling French country garden has specimen trees, fruit trees, statuary and a heated pool with a security cover.  All of this is behind grand stone walls with a beautiful iron entrance gate.  The château is at the edge of a lovely little village and convenient to le Marais Poitevin, La Rochelle, the Ile-de-Ré, and the large town of Fontenay-le-Comte.

As the owners are now working in another region of France, they are motivated to sell quickly.  Please contact us for price information and other details at

Easy Recipe ~ Madeleines

The Madeleine was taken from the family recipe of a chambermaid in the court of King Stanislas, the Duke of Lorraine, when he requested a sweet little dessert for a gala dinner he was hosting.  Because they didn't have a proper name, the King named them after the chambermaid:  Madeleine of Commercy.

You will need a Madeleine mold, 4 eggs, 7 ounces of sugar, the peel of a lemon, 1 vanilla bean, 7 ounces of sifted flour, 1/2 ounce of powdered yeast, and 6-1/2 tablespoons of butter. Preheat the oven to 430°F (or 220°C).

Beat the eggs in a bowl, adding the sugar and lemon zest.  Stir gently over a pan of simmering water until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and continue stirring until the mixture has cooled off.

Add the flour very gradually along with the dried yeast and a little of the seeds of the vanilla bean, stirring all the while, mixing well.  Melt butter separately, and add it last.

Grease each Madeleine mold with butter, and fill the molds with the mixture.  Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.  Loosen the cakes from the mold immediately, and cool on a wire rack.

Bon apétit!

[Photo credit Recipe adapted from Champagne, Alsace and Lorraine chapter of
Culinaria France, originally published in 2004 by Könemann, Cologne, Germany, with our thanks.
We highly recommend this beautiful book which is printed in the EU with the ISBN 3-8331-1129-1]

  We hope you have enjoyed au Château News.
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Answer to Quiz 118 - Where Are We?  from our Spring  issue

 The restaurant at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris,
opened in 1900, and absolutely stunning.  We received a few guesses that
it was Versailles, but no correct answers were sent in.  We suggest that
  more people dine there when visiting the museum.
 The atmosphere and food are both delightful, and the prices are very reasonable.

Département maps courtesy of Wikipédia, France

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