In this issue . . .
Our Featured B&B: Château de St-Loup in Deux-Sèvres
Our Featured Rental: Château Rhodes in the Ariège
"Must See" Château Gardens!
News and Offers from our Members
Time is running out to book your château stay in 2016!
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Our Featured B&B:
Château de St-Loup
. . . a romantic escape in the southern Loire
Château de St-Loup
Château de St-Loup is in the Deux-Sèvres département of the Poitou-Charentes region, and it is 400 year-old treasure with much to offer 21st century visitors. Built in 1609 and 1626 in the shape of an 'H' to honor the then King Henri IV, France's first Bourbon king (1589-1610) the central pavillon was topped with a bell tower. Earlier, in Medieval times, the de Dercé family built a fortress on this land, and today all that remains of that fortress is the Keep ~ a fourteenth century tower with adjoining fifteenth century buildings ~ that had been remodeled in the Troubadour style in the nineteenth century. As you can see, the château is a stunning example of early French Baroque architecture.
The Keep can accommodate up to sixteen people in six rooms and suites, all with private en suite bathrooms, and the château's nine guest rooms can welcome another 18 people. Grand salons and a library with a piano are at the disposal of guests to make themselves right at home. The château is also available to host weddings and group events, as well as being available to rent in its entirety.
The Château and Keep are surrounded by a wide moat graced near the formal gardens by this charming pavillon. Beautiful French gardens are a highlight of the estate that guests enjoy as they take leisurely walks.
The guest rooms are very spacious and tastefully appointed in period French furniture in keeping with the age and architecture of the château. The Keep maintains its Medieval atmosphere with suitable décor and furnishings, yet both the Château and Keep offer every modern amenity and convenience for the comfort of the guests.
Be sure to book a few nights at
Château de St-Loup and take advantage of easy day trips to the
Atlantic Coast near La Rochelle, the Puy de Fou spectacle, the royal
châteaux of the Loire Valley, and so much more in this bucolic
region of France. Send an email to email@example.com with St-Loup in the subject line for
[Photos © Comte de Bartillat. All Rights Reserved.]
French Quiz 126
Where are we?
Hint: On the shores of the Côte
provide the name of this charming town.
French Château Note Cards with our artist's original drawings.
by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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 2016 newsletter.
Cold Spring Press. All Rights Reserved.]
Our Featured Rental:
. . . in the rugged Ariège of the Midi-Pyrénées
Guest room, guest bath and fenced swimming pool
Chateau Rhodes was built in 1795, replacing an earlier chateau believed to date from the 15th century, (the ruins of which can be found in the grounds) and which was destroyed during the French revolution. The Chateau was vastly extended around 1860, and the same family occupied it from the 18th century until approximately 1980. The current owners have beautifully restored the château since purchasing it in 2005.
Day trips to Carcassonne, Toulouse, and the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Albi, visits to nearby prehistoric caves, wine tastings, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding (5 minutes away), white water rafting, the thermal spa at Ax-les-Thermes. You can also take advantage of nearby biking trails, canoeing, kayaking and fishing, even an underground grotto plus many other attractions are very convenient, including Le Golf de L'Ariège golf course for serious golfing enthusiasts. Its proximity to the Pyrénées makes a stay here all the more interesting. It is only a two-hour drive on the N20 from the château to Andorra passing through Foix and Aix-les-Thermes.
Be sure to visit Château Rhodes on our site for more details and photos. You will not be disappointed with the accommodations, amenities and very pleasant and friendly hosts at the château. Please contact us with questions, or to make a reservation. Be sure to put Rhodes on the subject line.
[Photos © Château Rhodes. 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.
Stairway to the windmill, Lautrec,
The atmosphere of the delightful 17th century manoir, La Terrasse de Lautrec, situated on the Place du Monument, is cozy and comfortable. Each en suite guest room has large windows either overlooking the place or the grand gardens in the back with panoramic countryside views. Its charming owner searched France for the right location and home for her chambres d'hôtes, passing up over 40 before choosing La Terrasse. It is really that special!
The village itself is peaceful and calm, but don't let that fool you into thinking there is nothing to do or see! There is the fine 14th-16th century Collegial Church of Saint-Rémy within view of La Terrasse, and you will enjoy a visit to the working windmill (built in 1688) reached by the wide stone stairway shown in the photo above. There is a tiny museum worth your time that shows the origins of the village and the location (now gone) of a church said to be built by Charlemagne himself at the base of the wall below the village.
Lautrec's winding lanes meander past 16th century timberframe houses, little shops, cafés and a 14th center covered marketplace (Friday markets) with a well dating from 1338. Don't forget to stop in one specialty store to buy l'ail rose, the tender pink garlic that is unique to Lautrec.
Tourists haven't overrun Lautrec yet, and we hope they never will. Our visits there have been sublime, and we look forward to the next time. And, despite any rumors to the contrary, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, the artist, was not born in the village but in Albi. An ancestor of his was the Vicomte de Lautrec, so there was a family connection.
[Photos copyrighted Cold Spring Press. All Rights Reserved.]
We highly recommend a visit to the Tarn, perhaps to see the dramatic Viaduc de Millau, the 890 foot-high bridge spanning the River Tarn gorge. It is over 2.4 kilometers long and part of the A75-A71 autoroute axis from Paris to Béziers and Montpellier. Make Lautrec, due south of Albi and about 47 kilometers east of Toulouse, your home base in the region for an unforgettable vacation.
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Magical Château Gardens
There is a lot more to enjoy at French châteaus beyond their history, ambiance and romantic experience. They all have well-tended lawns, and most have wide expanses of meadows and woodlands. And then there are the gardens ~ many that will take your breath away and some that have won prestigious awards. We will introduce you to a few of them below. Click on the link to each château to see more photos of their gardens and accommodations.
The kitchen garden (potager) at Château des Allues in the beautiful Savoie region of eastern France has been the subject of many television programs in France. You will enjoy the video on their au Château web page. Amazing dinners are served at the château incorporating all the fine vegetables produced on the estate organically and with the environment in mind. The château's location is spectacular with panoramic mountain vistas. Don't miss this one!
Exquisite sculptured gardens of Château de la Ballue in Brittany will leave you in awe. 'Rooms' representing different themes will greet you as you wander through the immaculately-tended greenery. Madame Mathiot-Mathon hosts frequent musical programs in her gardens, and people come from far and wide to attend. Her gardens have received the Jardin Remarquable designation and have been presented the EU Ecolabel certification. You can see a video of the gardens on her au Château page. The château itself is a wonderful place to stay, so do consider a visit soon.
Yet another recipient of the Jardin Remarquable designation is La Borde Maison d'Hôtes in the rolling hills of Burgundy. Not only will you find the most incredibly friendly host and hostess, exquisite cuisine and spacious elegant accommodations, but you will delight in touring the many gardens on this 17-acre estate, that include a rose garden, arboretum with 50 different species of trees, an orchard, a French garden, and an organic vegetable garden. Put La Borde high on your 'must stay' list.
Not every garden is limited to flowers and evergreen bushes. Occasionally in France we come upon a giant Sequoia or two brought more than 5,000 miles from California in the United States. Château de Bournand is a lovely estate with beautiful roses and specimen plants, but the highlights are the Sequoia trees ~ over 225 years old ~ standing majestically behind the château. Be sure to visit the lime tree allée and Madame d'Hueppe's herb garden, or take a stroll to find a secluded seat in a shady spot under a tree or a comfortable bench along a pathway. The château, in the heart of the Loire, is a perfect getaway!
Many of the members of au Château have tranquil water features on their estates, such as this little pond at Château de La Caillotière, a rental château in the Pays de la Loire. There may be lakes for fishing or streams wending their way past a château. Château de Caillotière is a warm and welcoming place with a swimming pool, tennis court and horseback riding. You can also avail yourself of cooking lessons or arrange for a wine tasting for your group of family or friends. It is perfect for a dozen people and very convenient to Nantes and Angers. Make your reservation soon!
The verdant landscapes of Brittany are further enhanced by the English gardens found at the serene Manoir la Chaussée near Redon. Take the self-guided tours to see the variety of gardens while ducks swim past in ponds filled with water lilies. It is an enchanting property ~ not just the gardens but the timeless interior of the Manoir with origins in the 11th century. Don't miss the video on their au Château pages. You'll be tempted to book your stay very soon!
Visit them all on our web site. To book your stay at any of these lovely properties, simply contact us at email@example.com for information, booking or questions, and please don't forget to mention the château's name in the subject line.
More magical château gardens coming in our June newsletter!
[Photos © copyrighted by château owners unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.]
from Our Members . . .
In our last issue we featured Château d'Agel in Languedoc. The owner is now offering a special promotion during high season ~ the weeks of July 2-9, July 9-16, July 23-30 and August 6-13, normally €6660 for the week are now reduced to €6105 per week. If you rent the château for a week, you will enjoy all the history and charm of this magnificent 12th century château. It is perfect for a group of 15 people. Comfortable accommodations, satellite television, Internet access and a wonderful swimming pool are all at your disposal. This is the region of Minervois and Corbières wines, and the Canal du Midi and Carcassonne are close by for day trips. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate Agel in the subject line. Don't miss this great opportunity!
We must bid adieu to L'Apropos, in the historic district of Orange in Provence ~ it will no longer be welcoming guests. Only steps away from the Roman theatre, conveniently located down the road from the railway station, shops and restaurants, and with lovely comfortable air-conditioned en suite rooms, this loss will be felt by travelers from around the world ~ especially us. We will never forget our stay at L'Apropos and how much we enjoyed Orange. They recently took very good care of a dear friend, and for that they will always have our gratitude. Our very best in the future to the Mourier family.
Château Détilly in the Loire Valley can sleep from 12 to 27 people in the château and Coach House. Rented by the week, this beautiful property with a swimming pool and tennis court is the ideal destination for your family or a group of friends. The owner is now offering substantial discounts for those interested in shorter stays at the château. The following dates are still available:
Weeklong stays until May 24 and August 6-13; Shorter stays from May 31-June 2, June 6-9, June 13-17, June 20-25, August 20-22, August 29 - September 1, September 5-8, September 12-16, September 22-23, and September 26-30. Weeklong or shorter stays are available after September 30 for the normal rates.
Contact us today at email@example.com and indicate Détilly in the subject line to learn more!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.]
Recipe: Soufflé au Chocolat
This easy chocolate soufflé is the perfect ending to a French-inspired meal.
First, preheat your oven to 400 F. The ingredients you will need are 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of flour, 1 cup milk, a tablespoon of butter, 4 egg yolks, a tablespoon of vanilla, 6 ounces of dark chocolate (melted), 6 egg whites and confectioner's sugar for the top.
Butter a 2-quart soufflé dish and sprinkle it with granulated sugar, shaking away the excess. You can also use 6 smaller individual ramekins instead. Fit it with a non-stick parchment paper collar that extends above the rim by about 2 inches. Whisk together 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, the flour and 1/3 cup of milk in a bowl. Scald the remaining milk in a small saucepan, adding it to the bowl in a thin, slow stream while whisking the mixture until it becomes smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a saucepan, bring it to a simmer while whisking it for 3 minutes as it cooks. Once you remove the pan from the heat, beat in the butter and egg yolks, one yolk at a time. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and blend well.
Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining granulated sugar, and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Fold in one quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and then fold in the remaining egg whites gently but completely. Spoon everything into the prepared soufflé dish.
Put the soufflé dish (or dishes) into the oven on the middle rack, and reduce the temperature to 375°F, baking for 35 to 40 minutes or until soufflé has risen. Sift confectioner's sugar over the top and serve. Makes 6 servings.
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Answer to Quiz 125 - Who is this? from our Winter 2015 issue
The statue is George Washington, sculpted by American Daniel Chester French,
renowned for his numerous public monuments including Abraham Lincoln at
the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. This statue is located in
Place d'Iena in Paris' 16th arrondissement.
The first correct response was received from a reader in San Diego, California ~
she won a set of our exclusive Château Note Cards.
Our thanks to everyone who participated.