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Summer 2016
In this issue . . .

  We welcome our newest member:  Château d'Ambrus

   Our Featured B&B:  Le Pavillon de Galon

   Our Featured Rental:   Château Allure du Lac in the Loire

  "Must See" Château Gardens!

    News and Offers from our Members

  and  more!

Time is running out to book your château stay 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!
We are happy to welcome
Château d'Ambrus
. . .  a Medieval Gem in the land of the 3 Musketeers!

Château d'Ambrus.  Copyright F. d'Arthuys.  All rights reserved.

If you've never been to Gascony, you have a great pleasure awaiting you.  The cuisine is the first delight:  it is considered 'the pillar of French cuisine' which originates from the use of regional products and from the traditional use of cooking in goose and duck fat  ~ as distinguished from southern French cuisine of frying in oil or the cuisine of Normandy where dishes are simmered in butter.  The Gascons, despite their rich diet, have a very low incidence of coronary heart disease and enviable longevity. [**See our Health Note in the Recipe section of this newsletter.]

Gateway Château d'Ambrus.  Copyright F. d'Arthuys.  All rights reserved.
those who see themselves as wine aficionados are calling Gascony the 'new Bordeaux' because they are assessing the wines as 'younger, fresher, and cheaper'.  The region may not overtake Bordeaux as the world's finest wine producing region, but it is certainly making an impact.  This region of France is also the home of Armagnac, France's oldest brandy.

Amid all this culinary and viniculture discussion lies an important question:  where to stay in Gasgogne?  Well, we have the perfect place, a Medieval castle offering the ultimate in comfort and historic ambiance for those week-long getaways of family and friends:  Château d'Ambrus.

large salons and a spacious hall with a grand piano are perfect for large gatherings and receptions.  The owners are keenly aware that making their guests comfortable is of prime importance, so the renovation of the château was undertaken with that in mind.

Elegant Guest Room. Copyright F. d'Arthuys.  All rights reserved.Entrance Hall to Medieval castle. Copyright F. d'Arthuys. All rights reserved.

Château d'Ambrus has been recently and completely renovated by the d'Arthuys family and just began welcoming guests in June.  With 15 guest rooms, eight of which are en suite, the château will comfortably sleep up to 30 people.  Guests will enjoy the 20-hectare (50 acre) park, splendid swimming pool and tennis court.   Located in the département of the Lot-et-Garonne at the very edge of the Landaise Forest, the largest in Europe, the château gives easy access for day trips to Cahors in the Lot or the beaches of the Atlantic. 

Map Lot-et-Garonne.  Wikipedia
visit them on our web site today and make your reservations to experience history and château life in one of France's sunniest regions!  Send us an email at with your questions or to check availability.  Please mention Ambrus in the subject line.

[Photos © F. d'Arthuys.  All Rights Reserved.]

Our Featured Rental:
Château Allure du Lac
. . .  romance and luxury in  historic Anjou

Château Allure du Lac.  Copyright S. Stayne.  All rights reserved.
Château Allure du Lac

Château Allure du Lac  is a breathtaking, five-star château north of the River Loire in a tranquil country setting.  Your hosts are ready to personalize your stay ~ to meet all your  requirements for a large family gathering, a birthday celebration or that very special wedding.

Chambre d'ArgentThere are twelve en suite bedrooms including a two-story master suite in this superb château, and guests will feel pampered and spoiled by the luxurious fabrics, quality beds, crystal chandeliers, antique furnishings and an attentive staff. 
Guest rooms are richly decorated and luxurious and each with its own bathroom.  Nothing has been left to chance, so those staying at the château will be assured of all modern conveniences and comforts without sacrificing the ambiance of this historic château.

A 22-acre lake is the setting for this fine example of French architecture.  Enjoy boating or fishing on the lake, benefit from long, leisurely walks in over 100 acres of parkland, or take advantage of the refreshing swimming pool in warmer  weather.  Dining by the lake is very pleasant for lunch or perhaps for a relaxing afternoon tea.

Dining by the lakeCatering
for meals is arranged in advance, and in addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner, picnic lunches can be prepared as well.

Nearby, of course, are all the royal châteaux of the Loire Valley and the vineyards that produce the much-appreciated wines of the region, so interesting day trips are easily accessible.

Map Pays de la Loire.  Wikipedia

Contact the owner by email for answers to your questions, availability and to book your stay at Château Allure du Lac.  It could be one of your most memorable holidays!

[Photos © S.Stayne.  All Rights Reserved.]

French Quiz 127

Where are we?

Hint: The Roman-built castle dates from the 10th century.

Quiz 127

Please provide the name of this southern French town with the familiar landmark.

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 Autumn 2016 newsletter.

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

Our Featured B&B:

Le Pavillon de Galon

  . . . a very special getaway in sunny Provence

Le Pavillon de Galon.  Copyright Cold Spring Press. All rights reserved.

Welcome to Le Pavillon de Galon

A holiday in Provence can be hectic with all the tourists and traffic in the larger towns and cities.  However, you can find tranquility and the true Provence off the beaten path.  Le Pavillon de Galon in Curcuron is a perfect example.

Located on eleven acres of award-winning gardens with its own vineyards, olive groves, orchards, spring-fed pools and terraces, you will delight in the warmth and tranquility of this secluded guest house.  With the Luberon mountains as a backdrop, the vineyards and olive groves stretch as far as the eye can see.  In the opposite direction, the south-facing jardin ã la Française is a feast for the eyes.  If we weren't featuring Le Pavillon de Galon, it would certainly be included in our Magical Château Gardens below!

Galon Vineyards and Groves.  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.Galon Jardin à la Française.   Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

The two suites offered to guests are spacious and have views over the gardens, each with a modern, en suite bathroom.  You are assured of your privacy and comfort, and in the morning you can enjoy a delicious breakfast on the terrace. 

Breakfast on the terrace.   Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

Day trips to Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Marseille, the nearby villages of Lourmarin, Gordes, Bonnieux, Menerbes and others, as well as golf, tennis, horseback riding and other activities are very convenient.  Wine tastings at the famous vineyards of Châteauneuf du Pape and the Rhône are also near Le Pavillon de Galon.

Of course, you can also spend the day swimming or sitting by the lovely swimming pool on the estate.  Your time is your own, and you will find that Le Pavillon de Galon is the ideal destination for a rejuvenating vacation getaway.

Vaucluse département.  Wikipedia
Le Pavillon de Galon on our site for more details and photos.  You will not be disappointed with the accommodations, amenities and your friendly and helpful hosts. Please contact us with questions, or to make a reservation.  Be sure to put Galon on the subject line.

[Photos ©Cold Spring Press. 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.

Allée to River in Moncontour.  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

Alleyway down to the River Evron

Moncontour in Brittany is a member of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (The Most Beautiful Villages of France) a designation you will see is well deserved the moment you drive up the hill into town.

The above photo shows one of the ways down to L' Evron which originates just south of Moncontour and flows north to the Baie de Saint-Brieuc.  It is known for its abundant wild trout as well as other species of fish.  There is a fly route by the mill which requires catch and release fishing.

Signage in Moncontour.  Copyright Cold Spring Press. All rights reserved.

serene Medieval village has imposing ramparts from the 13th and 14th centuries which were intended to protect the nearby city of Lamballe, capital of the region at the time.  Moncontour was little known until the Industrial Revolution when its sailcloth production expanded as far as the Indies.  Due to the wealth generated, there are rich and beautiful houses and a fine church in the village.


Map Cotes d'Armor.  WikipediaWe highly recommend that you spend time in Brittany to enjoy its picturesque coastal towns and explore its wild and bucolic interior. A village such as Moncontour is just one of so many appealing and welcoming towns to discover along the way.  You will find, as we have, that there is something uniquely charming about Brittany

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


Domaine de Moulin Mer

Domaine de Moulin Mer

Escape to the clean, crisp air of seaside Brittany this summer with a few
 nights or longer at Domaine de Moulin Mer.  Easy access from the UK on the
 Plymouth-to-Roscoff ferry ~  at the B&B you will enjoy immaculate rooms,
sumptuous breakfasts and dinners and relaxing days
exploring the bay's sheltered coast.

Click on the banner to learn more!

[Photo copyright Stéphane Pécot.   All Rights Reserved.]

Must See
 Magical Château Gardens
Part Deux


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 more of them below.  Click on the link to each château to see more photos of their gardens and accommodations.

Jardin Perse, Château de la Foltiere.  Copyright A Jouno.  All rights reserved.Château de la Foltière, Le Parc Floral de Haute Bretagne, will amaze you with its 24 unique botanical gardens, all designed and created by their energetic owner, Alain Jouno.  In addition to staying in this welcoming bed and breakfast, you can spend many pleasant hours wandering from one stunning garden to another.  There are water features, sculpture gardens, and bursts of color everywhere.  The gardens were planted to provide something in bloom at almost every month of the year.  You will not soon forget your stay at Château de la Foltière in this little corner of Brittany near St-Malo, Le Mont Saint-Michel, the Channel Islands and more.

La Terrasse de Lautrec gardens.  Copyright D. Ducoudray.  All rights reserved.View from La Terrasse de Lautrec.  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.La Terrasse de Lautrec in the Tarn département of the Midi-Pyrénées can boast that its formal gardens were designed by Le Notre!  The lovely gardens and shady sitting area along the rampart walls create a delightful setting.  The views are beyond description ~ and most noteworthy is the fact that Charlemagne built a church at the base of these very ramparts! Don't miss this jewel in the tiny village of Lautrec.

Château de Picomtal and its gardens.  Copyright J. Perreux.  All rights reserved.In the rolling hills of Provence's Hautes-Alpes above Lake Serre-Ponçon, one of Europe's largest artificial lakes, is the grand Medieval Château de Picomtal.  In their gardens you will discover pools and fountains, a French garden with flower beds framed by boxwood hedges, cobblestone pathways, orchards and many relaxing places to wander.  The château's friendly American and French hosts will welcome you warmly to their elegant château where you will stay in tastefully decorated and comfortable rooms and enjoy a fine breakfast each morning.  Visit it on au Château soon and make plans to book a few nights here ~ and maybe participate in a cooking class!

Swan on Lake at Tocqueville.  Copyright Count de Tocqueville.  All rights reserved.Palm Trees at Tocqueville.  Copyright Count de Tocqueville.  All rights reserved.Near the tip of Normandy's Cotentin Peninsula is the historic and elegant Pavillon of Château de Tocqueville, a luxurious property for guests to rent by the week.  The mild microclimate promises many a pleasant holiday, and guests can wander the fourteen-acre estate the enjoy the English gardens designed by Alexis de Tocqueville's British wife in the 19th century.  The large pond is home to several swans and is bordered by a large expanse of lawns and shrubbery.  It is truly an exceptional vacation destination, convenient to so many of the historic Normandy sites ~ and with quite a history of its own!

Château du Grand-Lucé.  Copyright T. Corrigan.  All rights reserved.Finally in this issue, we take you to the Loire and Château du Grand-Lucé.  This magnificent château is available for weekly rentals and special events such as weddings and family gatherings.  You can even land  by helicopter!  And, as shown in this photo, the gardens of Grand-Lucé an important feature of this 74-acre estate which also includes a lake, meadows and woodlands.  This château is near the royal châteaux of the Loire Valley, vineyards of the Loire and many other interesting attractions.  Make your reservations soon!

Visit them all on our web site.  To book your stay at any of these lovely properties, simply contact us at for information, booking or questions, and please don't forget to mention the château's name in the subject line.

[Photos © copyrighted by château owners unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.]

News from Our Members . . .
& other travel information

                                Getting the news!
Château Détilly in the Loire Valley can sleep from 12 to 27 people in the château and Coach House.  A cancellation has made the week of July 2-9 available, and the owner is offering the entire estate for €6000 (usually €14,300!), or the Château only for €5000 or the Coach House only for €2000.  Don't miss this amazing opportunity!

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 may still be available:

Weeklong and short stays: 20-25, August 20-22, September 6-8, 12-16 and 26-30.  Weeklong or shorter stays are available after September 30 for the normal rates.  Contact for more information or reservations.

Château Robert, in southwest France's forested Landes region, has some last minute summer availability:  The last week of July and the first two weeks of August can be booked at a 15% discount from the regular price of 11,000 per week.  You pay only €9350 for this magnificent 8-bedroom (all en suite) château that will comfortably sleep up to 15 guests.  Don't wait too long as these high-season weeks will soon be gone!  Contact for more information or reservations.

The beautiful Château de la Ballue, whose gardens were shown in our last issue, has been awarded the Trophée du Tourisme 2016 by the Comité Départemental du Tourism Haute Bretagne Ille-et-Vilaine in the category Chambres d'Hôtes.  This was awarded in cooperation with the Offices de Tourisme, Pays Touristique, Chambres des Commerce et d'Industrie, Syndicats professionals (Hôtellerie restauration, Hôtellerie de plein air et de loisirs) and  l’Association des Gîtes de France du département.  Château de la Ballue, which has been a valued member of au Château since November of 2000 ~ one of our original members ~ has already been recognized for the following distinctions:

 Monument Historique

Don't miss the opportunity to stay at this elegant and amazing château.  And, remember that they regularly present classical musical programs, spa visits, and group tours of their gardens.  Visit the château soon on our site.

Did you know?  A recent survey of the French was taken to find out where the happiest people lived.  The top five regions, based upon employment opportunities, income, research and development, GDP, education, infrastructure, crime rate and life span were (1) Ile de France, (2) Rhone-Alpes, (3) Pays de la Loire , (4) Alsace and (5) Midi-Pyrénées.

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  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:  Aïoli

Garlic-infused mayonnaise is a great accompaniment to broiled or grilled fish or spooned into fish soup.  It can be flavored with various ingredients such as nuts, mint, basil, chopped red bell pepper, etc., if you so choose.

You will need 1 tablespoon of finely minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of coarse salt (we prefer French sea salt), 2 egg yolks at room temperature, a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (or more to taste), 2 cups of aíoli.  Wikipediamild-flavored olive oil and freshly ground pepper.

Grind the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle until you have a fine purée.  Set aside.  Place the egg yolks and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse once to combine.  With the food processor on, gradually add the olive oil a few drops at a time until the sauce becomes like mayonnaise.  Once it is thicker, a steady stream of olive oil can be added.  If it should become too thick, add a few drops of cold water.

Finally, beat in the garlic purée and season to taste with salt and pepper.  It can be made up to 6 hours before serving if covered and put in the refrigerator.   Yield: about 2 cups of aïoli. 

Bon appétit!

** Health note:  With regard to the consumption of duck and goose fat and low coronary artery disease:  Duck and goose fat are low in saturated fats and very high in unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and can clog up arteries while unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and go through the system much easier.

  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 126 - Where are we?  from our Spring 2016 issue

We were in lovely Saint-Jean de Luz in France's Pyrénées-Atlantiques.

   The first correct response was received from a reader Denver, Colorado ~
and we sent our congratulations along with the Château 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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