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Winter 2015
In this issue . . .

   Our Newest Member:  Château de Chanzé in the Loire

    Bidding Adieu to 2 Extraordinary Properties

   Our Featured B&B:  Brittany's Château des Tesnières

   Our Featured Rental:  Château d'Agel  in Languedoc

   News and Offers from our members

and more!

This is the perfect time to begin plans for your visit to France in 2016!
We hope this newsletter gives you some ideas.

Highlighted links in this text will take you to the appropriate web sites.
Just click on any one of them.

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Our Newest Member:
Château de Chanzé
. . .  an authentic Medieval experience in the Loire

Château de Chanzé.  Photo copyrighted M. Stösser.  All rights reserved.
Château de Chanzé

Château de Chanzé is an 11th century Loire Valley castle with a fascinating history including a night spent here by France's beloved and first Bourbon King, Henri IV, in 1576.  Situated in the Côteaux de Layon wine producing region, it is part of historic Anjou, famous for, among other things, its rosé d'Anjou appellation. 

Chambre Montalais

is a self-catering rental château with five en suite bedrooms that will accommodate up to fifteen guests very comfortably, and there is capacity for twenty more guests in the adjoining self-catering gîtes and chambres d'hôtes on the estate.  

is near all the fine attractions of the Loire with easy access by train from Paris and ideal for a gathering of a group of friends or family for a holiday in this popular region of France.

A heated swimming pool, wellness room with spa and sauna, badminton court, and lovely walking paths make this the perfect getaway for a relaxing holiday in the French 'Valley of the Kings'.  The château borders the tranquil River Layon ~ sit or stroll along the river bank to wash away the stress of everyday life and soak up nature at its most peaceful.

Heated Swimming Pool at Château de Chanzé
Book your week at the château or, perhaps, 3 nights or more in one of the self-catering gîtes or a night or two in a chambre d'hôte, by contacting us by email at  Your hosts at Château de Chanzé are waiting to welcome you.

Map Maine-et-Loire.  Wikipedia

[Photos © M. Stösser and S. Townshend.  All Rights Reserved.]

French Quiz 125

Who Is This?

Hint:  This statue is in Paris' 16th arrondissement.

Quiz 125

Please provide the person's name.

The first reader to send us the correct answer will receive our exclusive
French Château Note Cards with our artist's original drawings. 

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 2016 newsletter.

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

Featured B&B:

Château des Tesnières


Château de Tesnières.  Copyright château owners.  All rights reserved.

  Château des Tesnières

A fairytale castle with all the comfort and amenities of the 21st century, set in a bucolic park with two ponds and lush forests. 

The château rooms are no less inspiring than the parklands.  Comfort and convenience can be found throughout this refined home where guests are treated royally by their hosts, John and Siebren Demandt Boon ~ and where they will feel at ease speaking English, French, German or Dutch. 

Chambre SudGuests can enjoy the comfortable library, a Louis XVI salon and a dining room, all with period fireplaces. In one of the two towers is a self-service bar for guests offering cool drinks, coffee or tea at any time of day.  In the other tower by the grand salon is an office area ~ a personal computer with Internet access is at the disposal of guests.   Spacious contemporary guest rooms and suites, all with their own private baths and showers, complete the picture.  And, there is an elevator to take you to your room.

Copious breakfasts are served in the lovely dining room, and excellent dinner cuisine can be enjoyed at fine nearby restaurants just minutes away ~ three rating Michelin stars!  Group events, including business seminars are held at the château,  and all equipment necessary for meetings can be provided.   Your hosts guarantee fine service and discretion to all guests of  Château des Tesnières  

This region of Brittany offers many activities, and the château is convenient to important sites including Le Mont Saint Michel, the gardens that make the Ille-et-Vilaine département of Brittany so appealing, and the little village of Torcé dating back to 1093 with its splendid fifteenth century Église St-Médard .  Golfers will enjoy the fine 18-hole par 71 golf course in Vitré, while others will find the town's equestrian center the place to be.  The Base Nautique de Haute-Vilaine offers a large selection of activities on the water including rowing and sailing. 


Ille et Vilaine département.  Wikipedia
sure to visit Château des Tesnières on our site for more details and photos.  You will not be disappointed with the accommodations, amenities and friendly hosts at the château.  Please contact us with questions, or to make a reservation.

[Photos © Château des Tesnières. 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.

Marina at Port Leucate

Port Leucate, Aude département, Languedoc-Roussillon

It is always enjoyable to look back at past visits to France through photos taken, because through those photos you are reminded of places and times that have been filed away in the far reaches of your memory.  Port Leucate on the Mediterranean coast of  Languedoc is one such place.  We rented a small apartment for several days and could walk to the marina where shops and restaurants lined the boardwalk.

This tidy little village is on the border with the Pyrénées-Orientales département, and it is only an hour and twenty minute drive south to Spain.  Much of the cuisine in this part of France is richly Catalan ~ relying heavily on garlic and olive oil ~ as is the dialect you will hear spoken.  A specialty is aligot made with potatoes and cheese and seasoned with garlic.  Tapas originated in the Catalan region of Spain and can often be found in Languedoc-Roussillon as well.

The wines of this region are much improved over those made decades ago, but they are still inexpensive and quite good.  The warm winters and hot, dry summers are perfect for grape growing, and travelers who come here will have many wineries to visit.  Corbières, an AOC red wine and 95% of the production in the region, is perhaps the best known appellation of the southern Languedoc-Roussillon.

The marina at Port Leucate is considered one of the largest in Europe with moorings for 1270 boats and a dry dock area with the capacity for 350.
Dawn from our balcony
Dawn over the marina from our apartment balcony

Map Aude département

highly recommend a visit to Languedoc-Roussillon for a variety of reasons, but spending some time in the peaceful town of Port Leucate should be included in that visit.
[Photos copyrighted Cold Spring Press.   All Rights Reserved.]

We must bid adieu . . .

  • The proprietors of Domaine le Vallon in Provence, Fred and Michele Vogt, have decided that they will no longer be accepting guests.  They have been members of au Château since 2004 and will be greatly missed.  We wish them the very best in their future endeavors.

  • We have just heard that Château de la Charmeraie in the Rhône region of France near Lyon has been sold to new owners.  The château joined our site in 2006, but it doesn't appear that the new owners will continue operating the chambres d'hôtes in the future.  Our stay there was so delightful as was the charming Brigitte Tregouët who so lovingly decorated all the rooms with talent and taste ~ other guests loved it as much as we did.  The Tregouëts will move on to new adventures, and we wish them well.


Château de Courtomer and its moat.  Coyright E Bonner.  All rights reserved.

Rent the elegant Château de Courtomer in the Orne
département of Normandy with easy access to Paris.
Rental rates will increase in 2016, but there is now a
Special Offer:  Book your week by January 1st at 2015 rates! 
And, the château is now going to host weddings
with one staff member totally dedicated to wedding planning and working
 with the future bride and groom to make this important event perfect.


Map Orne département.  Wikipedia.Click on the photo above to see the château and read more,
and contact us at for your reservations!

Featured Rental:
Château d'Agel  
~   in the Hérault of Languedoc ~
Château d'Agel.  Photo copyright M/Mme Ecal-Besse.  All rights reserved.

you always wanted to visit Carcassonne and the Canal du Midi, or perhaps interesting Narbonne and the Mediterranean beaches?  Are these places you have visited in the past and are anxious to return?  Well, why not make it a family event and rent Château d'Agel for a week as your home base?   It is one of the nicest getaways you will find in the region ~ complete with a swimming pool, spacious en suite guest rooms, a modern kitchen and grand dining room and salons.

Orangerie.  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.The owners are experienced at hosting weddings, seminars and thematic stays ~ any large celebrations ~ and they are happy to respond to any inquiries with regard to capacity, cost and services provided.

As indicated by the various styles of windows in the château, ranging from the small windows of the 12th century to the large and lovely windows of the Renaissance, the architecture of the château evolved over the past thousand years.  The Renaissance and 17th century brought changes to the castle such as replacing the Renaissance recesses of the façade by broad bays with small squares influenced by Trianon.   Not only were the buildings beautifully restored by the current owners, but the gardens were rejuvenated as well.  Today, visitors will meet the Ecal-Besse family whose decades of loving effort have brought this amazing Medieval property back to life with warmth and beauty, reminiscent somewhat of Tuscany ~ but definitely maintaining the intrigues of the middle ages while offering visitors the comforts of the twenty-first century.

Bed and breakfast
accommodations are also offered, except in July and August, so if you are a couple only able to stay two or three nights, you will still have the opportunity to experience this wonderful property.   Swimming pool at Château d'Agel.  Copyright M/Mme Ecal-Besse.  All rights reserved.Take advantage of the fine swimming pool during your stay as well.  This is Minervois wine country, and the Château is only 10 kilometers from the lovely town of Minerve, and just north of the Corbières wine region mentioned earlier. Vines were first introduced here by the Romans and it is rumored that Cicero and Pline were lovers of Minervois wines.  These are full-bodied reds for the most part that are elegant when young and become silky after two or three years of aging.  Dry whites and fruity rosés are also produced here.  Winery visits can be suggested and arranged by your hosts.

hope you will consider a short or long stay at Château d'Agel ~ we can personally recommend it for its charm, character and ideal location with hosts who are friendly and accommodating.

Map Hérault.  WikipediaBook soon!  We have already received a list of the weeks in 2016 that are no longer available at this very popular château, so don't miss your chance to get the week or nights that best fit your itinerary.  Contact us at for information, booking or questions, and please put AGEL in the subject line.

[Photos © copyrighted by M/Mme Ecal-Besse unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.]

News from Our Members . . .
& other travel information

                                   Getting the news!

Less that one week remains to get this special discount! 
Château de Courtomer is offering 2015 rates if you book a week or more at the château, but you must make your booking by January 1st! This was mentioned above, but we thought it was worth mentioning twice!  Contact us today at and indicate Courtomer in the subject line.  Don't miss this great opportunity!

Handicap access is available at La Borde Maison d'Hôtes in Burgundy, Le Clos de la Garenne in the Poitou-Charentes of western France, and Château Allure du Lac in the Pays de la Loire (wheelchair accessible).   For those who would just appreciate an elevator to upper floors when carrying their baggage, the following châteaus have elevators:  Picomtal, Tesnières, Allure du Lac, Tocqueville, Grand-Lucé, Foltière, Monthairons, Reignac and Breuil.

des Allues in the Savoie has great package offers:  their Gourmand is for two people, one night at the château, breakfast and dinner included and a surprise gift for €246. Or, choose Decouverte, one night for two with breakfast for €150.  And, you might be interested in Detente, two nights for two people with breakfast, dinner and a surprise gift for €396.  The en suite guest rooms are all spacious and comfortable, and the location is superb.  Contact us for more information or to make your reservation.

Be sure to visit our Special Offers page often to see
what properties are discounting their rates or
offering guests a special bonus for booking with them.

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
on our site or mentioned in this issue.
 Please be sure to put the property name in the subject line.]

Easy Recipe: Perfect Crêpes

To make the perfect crêpe you will need barely a cup of all purpose flour, a tablespoon of granulated sugar, just a pinch of salt and two eggs, 1-3/4 cups of milk, a 1/2 cup of heavy cream, a few drops of vanilla extract and an oiled crêpe pan (or a small pan with sloping sides).

Crêpes by Michel Roux.  All rights reserved.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk in the eggs.  Stir in a 1/3 cup of the milk and work into a smooth batter.  Gradually add the rest of the milk and the cream.  The batter should rest at room temperature for at least an hour.  Some suggest that you refrigerate crêpe batter over night for use the next day.

Stir the batter when you are ready to make the crêpes as you add the vanilla.  Brush oil on the crêpe pan and heat.  Using a ladle, add a little batter to the hot pan and swirl to distribute the batter evenly around the pan.  It should be thin, and you will cook it for about one minute.

When small bubbles appear on the surface, turn the crêpe over with a large, round spatula and cook another 40 seconds.  Remove to a plate and repeat for each subsequent crêpe.  You can stack the crêpes with either waxed paper or parchment in between until you are ready to fill them.

Bon appétit!

To correctly pronounce 'crêpe' it should rhyme with 'step', not 'cape'.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in the book Eggs, one of many written
 by renowned French chef, Michel Roux, who had three Michelin stars
 at The Waterside Inn near Windsor, England for 25 years!
 The book is filled with amazing recipes and beautiful photographs.
 M. Roux has lived in Switzerland since 2008 and has a home and vineyard on France's Côte d'Azur.

[Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006   Hardcover  ISBN 0-471-76913-4]


Order your copy of Eggs by clicking on the above banner.

  We hope you have enjoyed au Château News.
If you have,  please forward it to friends and 
encourage them to subscribe by email to  It's FREE!

Answer to Quiz 124 - Where Are We?  from our Autumn 2015 issue

The metal sculpture of Cardinal Richelieu
is in the park in Richelieu, France.

   Several correct answers were received, but the first
was from a reader in Atlanta, Georgia, who won our exclusive Note Cards.

Our thanks to everyone who participated.


Département maps courtesy of Wikipédia, France

Disclaimer: Cold Spring Press, au Château© and/or any persons associated with either organization do not take any responsibility for errors and/or omissions in any edition of au Château News© and no guarantees are given or implied with regard to the contents of any au Château News©.   The disclaimer on the au Château© web site at, applies in its entirety to all au Château News© editions.  Cold Spring Press and au Château©  take no responsibility for the contents of any web sites to which links are provided on our site or in any editions of au Château News.  Subscribers receive this newsletter because they have requested to be on our Opt-In mailing list.  To have your email address removed, simply send an email with 'Unsubscribe' in the Subject line to
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