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Autumn 2016
In this issue . . .

  Coming SoonMoulin de Fresquet

   Our Featured B&B:  Château de Moulin le Comte

   Our Featured Rental:   Château Robert

  News & Offers from our Members

and More!

It's time to plan your château stay in 2017!
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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Coming Soon:
Moulin de Fresquet in the Lot

Moulin de Fresquet.  Copyright Gérard Ramelot.  All rights reserved.

We recently had the pleasure of two nights at the 14th century Moulin de Fresquet, a superb bed and breakfast near Gramat in the département of the Lot.  Located between the valleys of the River Lot and the River Dordogne, it is an ideal getaway destination and very easy to find. 

The charming owners, Gérard and Claude Ramelot, (he is the author of a very well-received book about the mill) made our all-too-brief stay very special.  First, our accommodations were perfect.  We had a warm and cozy sitting room with Louis XVI furnishings, a 19th century tapestry on the golden stone wall, a desk beneath a magnificent stained glass window, and a comfortable sofa.  The bathroom had a walk-in shower and double basins, and
the bedroom had a very comfortable queen-size bed, another grand tapestry, and fine antique furnishings.  The exquisite detail, quality of workmanship and materials used are beyond compare.
Suite Bernadotte Salon.  Copyright G. Ramelot.  All rights reserved.

icing on the cake was the private terrace just outside our front door.  Each suite has its own private terrace, so all the guests can enjoy an afternoon drink or, as we did, the fine balmy weather while admiring the Moulin's gardens.  The millstream still runs beneath the house.

Breakfast each morning was very generous, and we enjoyed sharing the table with other guests.  Of course, breakfast is included in the room rate.

Gramat is only 5 minutes away by car, but it is also a pleasant walk into the town.  There you will find all services and an abundance of restaurants and shops.  Spend your days visiting Rocamadour, the Gouffre de Padirac, Sarlat, Carennac, Martel, Collonges-la-Rouge or any of the many delightful little villages dotting the Lot.  The atmosphere is rural and tranquil in this region of France, and the people are authentic and friendly.

Map of the Lot département.  Wikipedia

for Moulin de Fresquet on our site in the coming weeks.  There will be more photos and information about this special place.  Perhaps you will be tempted to see it for yourself! If you are interested in booking now, just contact us at

[Photos © G. Ramelot.  All Rights Reserved.]

Our Featured B&B:
Château de Moulin le Comte
. . .  country charm in the Pas-de-Calais

Moulin le Comte

Château de Moulin le Comte

Château de Moulin le Comte  is a fine château in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France, convenient to the ferry ports of Calais and Dunkerque as well as the Eurostar from London to Lille.  This elegant  nineteenth century mansion, constructed in 1850, was renovated only recently in 2012. The new owners were especially careful to preserve the style and character of the building which is much appreciated by its guests.

five guest rooms are en suite with shower rooms and a separate WC, and four of the five are on the first floor up a lovely winding stairway.  One guest room is on the ground floor which is convenient for those who wish to avoid stairs.   The bathrooms are equipped with hair dryers, fine towels, bathrobes and River Lys at Château de Moulin le Comte.  Copyright M. Van de Elst.  All rights reserved.quality bath products.  Bedrooms are superbly comfortable and all the beds have new top quality Sealy mattresses.  Each has a flat screen television as well as coffee and tea making facilities.

Enjoy 25 acres of lawns and gardens surrounding this 19th century château. A tranquil stay, while having easy access to all the area attractions, is yours.   What could be more delightful than spending time along the River Lys as it winds its way through the castle gardens?  It is 126 miles long and was the site of two battles in WWI and one in WWII ~  today it is nothing but peaceful and pleasant.

is offered at the ch
âteau with 48 hours advance notice, and breakfast is included in the room rates.

Nearby, in addition to the historic cities of Lille and Dunkerque, is the Forêt de Nieppe and the city of Lens where you can visit the newly-opened Lens-Louvre Museum.  The
château is a one-hour drive to beaches.

Map Pas-de-Calais

Contact us by email  for answers to your questions, availability or to book your stay at Château de Moulin le Comte.  We are sure you will enjoy your accommodations and the warm hospitality of the friendly and helpful owners.

[Photos © M. Van Der Elst.  All Rights Reserved.]

French Quiz 128

Where are we?

Hint:   Located in French Basque country in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques,
it is known for its thermal baths and a saline spring..

Quiz 128

Please provide the name of this southwestern French town.

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 Winter 2016 newsletter.

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

Our Featured Rental:

Château  Robert
 . . . a special place for that special gathering!

Château Robert.   Copyright Michel Van de Hoeven.  All rights reserved.

Château Robert in Aquitaine

A week at Château Robert with your family or friends or a wedding celebration or other important event, will be all the more enjoyable and memorable because of this very special place.

As a full-service property, your requirements for meals, catering and parties are easily arranged with your amiable and helpful hosts, Michel and Trudy Van de Hoeven.  Years in the hospitality industry and their experience traveling the world have made them uniquely qualified to ensure that your stay with them will be perfect in every way.
New Cuisine at Château Robert.  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.
Eight en suite guest rooms are offered at the château, but weddings of up to 150 guests are possible with additional accommodations available nearby.  There is a tennis court and sparkling swimming pool for the enjoyment of guests, and professionally-taught cooking classes in their amazing new kitchen and wine tasting afternoons can be arranged. 

Located on a 35-acre estate in the Landes of southwestern France ~  Europe's largest forest is right next door ~  you will have easy access to Biarritz, Atlantic beaches, the Basque and B
éarn regions, and, of course, vineyards producing the up-and-coming wines of Gascony.

Don't miss the opportunity to spend your long French holiday at
Château Robert.  Our recent visit has inspired us to tell everyone about this wonderful rental property ~ it's a place where great memories will be made.

Map of the Landes.  Wikipedia

Please visit Chateau Robert on our site for 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 Robert on the subject line.

[Photos ©M Van de Hoeven and 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.

Marcilhac in the Lot.  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

Lovely Marcilhac-sur-Célé

Marcilhac-sur-Célé, in the Lot département and along part of the historic pilgrimage route of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle,  is a enchanting little town on the banks of the River Célé surrounded by dramatic limestone cliffs and built around its massive Abbey.  Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Marcilhac, built between the 9th and 12th centuries by Benedictine monks, once controlled the sanctuary at nearby Rocamadour. 

The ruins of  Marcilhac abbey and the surviving tower.  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.Saint-Pierre Abbaye was destroyed several times during its long history, finally succumbing in the French Revolution.  But its immense Romanesque ruins are nonetheless impressive and worth a visit.  A Gothic church is part of the Abbaye, and we discovered the 15th century frescoes and ornate stained glass windows that make this small church quite beautiful and unique.

Frescoes in St-Pierrre Church. Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

When you are next in the Lot, be sure to visit Marcilhac in the Célé valley .  It is a thousand years of history that, today, has found supporters from around the world who are volunteering and donating to restore the abbey church.  The parish priest, Father Guillaume Soury-Lavergne, thanks them all on the Abbey web site.
Map of the Lot département.  Wikipedia
[Photos copyrighted Cold Spring Press.   All Rights Reserved.]


Château de Saint-Martory.  Photo copyright J-F Delort.  All rights reserved.
Château de Saint-Martory

In the Midi-Pyrénées region of south central France, you will find the elegant
Château de Saint-Martory offering 10 guest rooms, a swimming pool and hot-air
balloon rides if you are so inclined.  Located on the banks of the River Garonne, steps
from a delightful village, the
Château and its Farmhouse accommodations are
perfect for a week-long getaway, a very special lavish wedding or perhaps
a gathering of friends and family to mark a special occasion. 

Click on the photo to learn more!

[Photo copyright J-F Delort.   All Rights Reserved.]

News from Our Members . . .
& other travel information

                                Getting the news!
Are you interested in owning property in France?  Perhaps, a bed and breakfast or weekly rental property?  Well, we have several in our portfolio, so just contact us and tell us what you are looking for and your budget.  At this time, there are three châteaus, a priory, a country house near Carcassonne, and a small château with new cottage gîtes not far from the Spanish border.  They are in a wide range of prices, and we would be happy to provide details. Please contact us with your questions at

Many of our members are open all year 'round, so think about a winter visit to France when airfares are a bargain and most owners offer low- or off-season rates.  Several properties on our site are near the Pyrénées or French Alpes, so for you skiers, a winter vacation may be just what you will enjoy most.  Visit our site, find a place or two of interest to you, and check their pages to see if they are open off season.  Then contact us for your reservations. 

Château de Challain.  Copyright C. Nicholson.  All rights reserved.

Château de Challain, in the Pays de la Loire, is a wedding destination for couples around the world.  But, they are also happy to welcome family groups celebrating a special occasion, a group of friends who want a week in France in a luxury château, or corporate retreats with meeting facilities.  With a capacity for 50 guests, Château de Challain is perfect for every occasion

And, if you book through au Château, you will get a 10% discount off the total rental rate.

Contact us today at and specify Challain.

newly renovated Musée Rodin in Paris is again open for visitors.  Always a pleasure ~ see the collection of the artist's work, the work of Camille Claudel, a sample of his studio, and, of course, the wonderful gardens.  It is one of the easiest Paris museums to visit, and you should expect to spend about two hours there.  It is located at 79 rue de Varenne, in the 7th arrondissement.   The museum is open every day except Monday from 10 AM to 5:45 PM.  It is closed January 1, May 1 and December 25, and closes early on December 24 and 31.


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: Provençal Vegetable Casserole

This easy recipe can be served simply with a crusty baguette.  It can also be enjoyed by vegetarians and vegans!

You will need 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 large onions sliced thinly, 3 red bell peppers seeded and thinly sliced, 2 medium eggplants peeled and diagonally sliced, 3 medium zucchinis peeled and thinly sliced diagonally, 3 thinly sliced medium tomatoes, 6 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons chopped basil and Eggplant.  Photo courtesy of www.vegan-magazine.com1/2 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on moderate heat and cook onions until soft.  Add the peppers, and reduce the heat to low, cooking until vegetables are soft ~  about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400°F.

Layer a 9x13-inch ovenproof baking dish with 3/4 of the onion mixture.  Follow with a layer of the eggplant slices, then layer on half the zucchini and the remaining onion mixture.  The next layer is the remaining eggplant, then the remaining zucchini and finally the tomato slices.  In a small bowl, mix together the rest of the olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper and sprinkle over the top. 

Bake for an hour and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Pour off any excess olive oil.  Cut into serving pieces and serve hot.  Serves six.

Bon appétit!

[Photo credit:]

  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 127 - Where are we?  from our Summer 2016 issue

The town is Foix in the Ariège département of the Midi-Pyrénées,
and the photo showed the 10th century Castle de Foix

   The first correct response was received from one of our long-time
readers and Francophile friend in Lafayette, Louisiana.  We sent her our
 congratulations along with the Château Note Cards.

Our thanks to everyone who participated.


Département maps courtesy of Wikipédia, France

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