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Winter 2017
In this issue . . .

  Two New Members have joined au Château

   Our Featured B&B:  Château de Rère in the Loir-et-Cher

   Our Featured Rental:   Château de Saint-Maclou in Normandy

  News & Offers from our Members

and More!

Don't wait too long 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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We welcome
Moulin de Fresquet in the Lot

Fresquet Terrace.  Copyright Gérard Ramelot.  All rights reserved.

If you are looking for friendly hosts, superb accommodations, copious breakfasts and a lovely estate with a stream and rolling lawns for relaxing moments, then Moulin de Fresquet is the place for you.  Located in the green and peaceful département of the Lot, Moulin de Fresquet is in the northern Lot just south of the border with the Dordogne, and it offers easy access to so many interesting and enjoyable attractions.

The precariously-perched town of Rocamadour is a must for anyone visiting this area, but be sure to spend some time at the Gouffre de Padirac, a network of caves that can be explored with a guide by boat, the historic Medieval villages of Martel and Carennac or the very special red sandstone commune of Collonges-la-Rouge ~ the very first of France's Plus Beaux Villages.

Enjoy accommodations that are warm and cozy, furnished in antiques, tapestries and really comfortable beds.  Modern bathrooms with walk-in showers and quality toiletries make your stay very special.
The suites have spacious sitting rooms, and every guest room comes with its own private terrace and bistro table for some enjoyable moments in the fresh air.

Breakfasts can be taken in the lovely dining room or on the large terrace with a view of the gardens and stream ~ the stream that brings water to Rocamadour many kilometers away.
Suite Fenelon.  Copyright G. Ramelot.  All rights reserved.

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.  The atmosphere is rural and tranquil in this region of France, and the people are authentic and friendly.

Map of the Lot département.  Wikipedia

Be sure to reserve your room
at Moulin de Fresquet soon. You will be very happy you did.  Just contact us at

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

Our Featured B&B:
Château de Rère near Orléans
. . .  historic & welcoming 

Château de Rère, Loir-et-Cher

Château de Rère

Château de Rère is a stately château in the Loir-et-Cher département of the Centre region of France, an easy drive from Paris and Orléans, and surrounded by forests and country roads.  The nearest large town is Vierzon, and the nearby towns of Salbris and La Fertë-Imbault are both very convenient with nice restaurants for lunch or dinner.
Guest room at Château de Rère.  Photo A. d'Orléans.  All rights reserved.
The château has been in the same family for 22 generations and is one of the oldest family homes in France.  The Counts of Orléans have a long association with America dating back to their service in the American Revolution.  You will know immediately upon meeting it's owner, Albéric d'Orléans, that he loves and appreciates every inch of the château and estate.

Four guest rooms and suites all have en suite bathrooms and views overlooking the park and moat.  The area is very tranquil so your time here will be relaxing and pleasant.  A pavillon is another building which offers two suites for families with children and a self-catering gîte with a kitchen and 2 large bedrooms.  In front of the Pavillon is a very large swimming pool for all to enjoy.

The parkland is vast and includes the Petite Rère river that flows by the front of the château near the forest and an imposing moat surrounding the château. Round corner towers at the front and two ancient watch towers on either side of the bridge crossing the moat complete the picture. 

Wedding at Château de Rère.  Copyright A. d'Orléans.  All rights reserved.
Château de Rère
is the place to savor French château life, surrounded by history in this lovely region of France. We can personally recommend it, as we were very pleased with our time at the château.  Visit the château on our site to see photos and read all about it.  Think about having Château de Rère as your very special wedding venue, a short distance from the city of Orléans ~ so convenient for all your guests.

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

Map Loir-et-Cher

[Photos © A. d'Orléans.  All Rights Reserved.]

French Quiz 129

Where are we?

Hint:   Open since 1901 and a Monument Historique since the
early 1970s, travelers may know it well.

Quiz 129

Please provide the name and location of this magnificent restaurant.

The first reader to send us the correct answer will receive our exclusive
2017 France Calendar with 13 of 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 2017 newsletter.

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

Our Featured Rental:

Château  de Saint Maclou . . .
a delightful Normandy destination! 

Château de Saint-Maclou   Copyright Robin and Nicola Gage.  All rights reserved.

Château de Saint-Maclou

This is a most elegant château in Upper Normandy with the coveted designation of Monument Historique.  It has become a popular destination for small weddings.

Château de Saint-Maclou, available as either a weekly rental or a bed and breakfast accommodation, offers four double or twin rooms, all with en suite bathrooms, for a perfect vacation getaway.  Small groups of eight can rent it by the week and a 5th bedroom is possible. 

Only minutes away from picturesque and remarkable Honfleur and the appealing beach resort of Deauville on the Channel coast, the location is ideal.  Reached either by a scenic drive from Paris or an hour and 45
Chambre with Canopy bed.  Photo copyright Robin and Nicola Gage.  All rights reserved.minute train trip to charming Lisieux, guests will find it convenient while still in the heart of the Normandy countryside.  A special feature of the château, and in keeping with 21st century attention to protecting the environment, is that it has geothermal central heating.

Bed and breakfast guests will enjoy copious French breakfasts in the elegant dining room or beautiful old kitchen.  For self-catering weekly guests, a modern and completely equipped kitchen is at your disposal for preparing meals.  Clothes washers and dryers are available as well as the convenience of two refrigerators, two freezers and two dishwashers!  Local markets will entice you to shop for local produce and other goods as you become part of the local community.

Guest rooms are spacious and well appointed with good beds and large windows giving guests views over the estate.  And, the history of the château is quite dramatic with much intrigue, involvement of Prussia's Frederick the Great, Russian Empress Catherine the Great, and an owner who lost his life during the Terror.  Eventually, his daughter inherited the estate which was purchased in the 19th century by the inventor of chrome.  Today, it is a peaceful, inviting example of French château life at its best.

 Salon at Château de Saint-Maclou.  Copyright Robin and Nicola Gage.  All rights reserved.
Don't miss the opportunity to spend your long French holiday at Château de Saint-Maclou.  Enchanting Normandy is always a rewarding destination, and your holiday here will be filled with happy times and cherished memories.

Map of the Eure.  Wikipedia

Please visit Château de Saint-Maclou on our site for more information 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 Maclou on the subject line.

[Photos ©Robin and Nicola Gage. 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.

Salbris' Park  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

Salbris and the River Sauldre

The Sologne is a forested region in the Centre-Val de Loire between the Loire River and one of its tributaries, the River Cher.  It is here that you will find Château de Rère, described above, and the village of Salbris.

Eglise Saint-Georges, Salbris.  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

is a simple town with the River Sauldre, an affluent of the River Cher, as it's main attraction, in addition to the beautiful Eglise de Saint-Georges, around which the village grew gradually since Medieval times.  The church walls date from the 12th century, the nave is from the 14th century and the choir from the 16th century ~ presenting several architectural periods.  It's original bell tower was destroyed by a ferocious wind, so it was replaced in the 20th century.

The interior has a fine marble altar, a beautiful Pieta, a pulpit carved by Pieter Braecke one of the initiators of Art Nouveau in 1900, and an amazing stained glass window that offers tribute to World War II.  The building is a designated Monument Historique.

Plan to spend some time in this region of France ~ not just drive through on your way to another destination.  The Sologne is heavily forested and includes the Loiret, Loir-et-Cher and the Cher départements. The principal city, Orléans, is worth a visit ~ spend some time at the Joan of Arc Centre or visit her home ~ and perhaps share in the festivities celebrating the city's heroine held throughout the year.  
Map of the Loir-et-Cher.  Wikipedia
[Photos copyrighted Cold Spring Press.   All Rights Reserved.]

Welcome to our Newest Member
Château Forge du Roy . . .
in the remarkable Dordogne

Château Forge du Roy   Copyright M/M Cowham.  All rights reserved.

Château Forge du Roy is truly an exceptional property in the popular Dordogne département of southwestern France.  An ancient iron forge in the time of King Louis XIV and once the source of cannons for Napoleon's army, the complete renovation of The Forge created what today is a sumptuous and elegant getaway for groups of friends or family. 

Chambre Poppy, Château Forge du Roy.  Copyright M/M Cowham.  All rights reserved.The interior is elegant and luxurious with beautiful and comfortable en suite bedrooms, a renovated barn as luxurious as the château, and each with its own kitchen for those who want a self-catering experience in France.  Nearby outdoor markets provide fresh local produce so that you can create your own wonderful meals.  See their pages on our site for a schedule of local market days.

There is a lake for fishing, completely stocked with trout and carp, two boats (or fish from the bridge!), and the lovely River Manaurie gently flowing through the estate.  Dine indoors or outdoors under the pergola where you can also enjoy the firepit at night under the stars.

Château Forge du Roy is located conveniently close to every main attraction and historic village in the Dordogne, including Sarlat, Domme, Beynac-et-Cazenac,  Les Eysies, and the prehistoric caves of Lascaux ~ especially the newest replica cave recently opened in 2016. 

Map showing the Dordogne. Wikipedia.

Please visit the château on our site today, and contact us soon for your week or two at this very special getaway.  Be sure to mention Forge in your email.  Click on photos to see more.

[Photos copyrighted by M/M Cowham.  All rights reserved.]


Le Clos de la Garenne.  Photo copyright M/M François  All rights reserved.
Le Clos de la Garenne

In France's Charente-Maritime département is the village of Puyravault and the cozy and welcoming Le Clos de la Garenne.   Brigitte and Patrick FRANÇOIS invite you to the bed and breakfast in their pretty residence or in the Cottage.  You can also rent the apartment Tournesol or their newly renovated and beautifully contemporary gîte.  The Cottage, Apartment and Gîte all have disabled access.

is everything, and Puyravault is but a short drive from the exceptional town of Surgères
offering visitors the opportunity to visit the Renaissance Gate, the 12th century Château de Surgères, and the Eglise de Surgères whose construction began in the 11th century.

A drive to the coast will take you to La Rochelle ~ a city with a thousand-year history ~ where you can stroll the Old Town and visit the Old Port with its distinctive and well-known twin towers.  The city of Rochefort, home base of the replica L'Hermione (the Marquis de Lafayette's ship), and the islands of Île de Ré and Île d'Oleron are all nearby as well, making a stay at Le Close de la Garenne a perfect home base for interesting day trips.

Map Charente Maritime

your reservation today with an email to

Click on the photo to learn more!

[Photo copyright M/M François.   All Rights Reserved.]

News from Our Members . . .
& other travel information

                                Getting the news!
Château d'Agel in the Hérault département of the region now called Occitanie (formerly Languedoc) is an appealing weekly rental property with Medieval charm and a refreshing swimming pool.  At this writing they still have July 8 to 29 available and Madame Ecal-Besse is willing to negotiate the price for anyone interested in booking between those dates.

This is a marvelous Medieval château from the 12th century, which today is a comfortable getaway in the popular Minervois wine region.  They also host small weddings. Charming and friendly hosts are waiting to welcome you, so contact us with questions or to reserve your week.  And please specify Agel.

FOR SALE:  Also in this region of France is a lovely property that has been a member of au Château for the past 9 years.  The owners are now interested in selling Castell Rose, a lovely B&B, along with three air conditioned, almost-new gîtes that are rented by the week.  The property is 2.5 hectares (6 acres) with spectacular views of the Pyrénées, less than an hour to Spain and about 2 hours to Andorra.  The beach at St-Cyprien Plage is also under an hour.

If you would like to know more, including the asking price, please contact us and put Rose in the subject line.  We will be happy to help you.  Click on the photo below to see more.

View of the Pyrénées from Castell Rose.  Copyright M/M Waldvogel.  All rights reserved.
View of Pyrénées from Castel Rose
[Photo copyrighted M/M Waldvogel.  All rights reserved.]

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 a corporate retreat with meeting facilities.  With a sleeping 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.

you are next in Burgundy, a wonderful place to stay is La Borde Maison d'Hôtes luxury  bed and breakfast offering beautiful, spacious en suite guest rooms, great meals and a very warm welcome from your hosts Rik and Marieke. 

La Borde Pool.  Copyright R.Klomp.  All rights reserved.If you want exclusive use of the property, a wide range of activities are organized including prestige half day wine tasting with the former sommelier of the Elysée, lunch and/or dinner at the domaine or restaurant of your choice, wine tour and tasting in Chablis (half day), chocolate workshop and much more.  The privatization of the domaine is for up to 15 people for family gatherings or business meetings.  There is a fully-equipped conference room (air conditioned) with welcome coffee, break and lunch.

Visit La Borde on our site today to see photos and read more.  This award-winning property (with award-winning gardens) will become a return destination year after year!
Contact us today at and specify La Borde.

We sadly bid adieu to three of our members this season.  First, La Terrasse de Lautrec, a delightful village manoir in Lautrec with amazing French gardens and a view over the Tarn countryside.  The owners have sold it, and the new owner will no longer offer guest accommodations.  We had the pleasure of staying there on two occasions and enjoyed the history and uniqueness of this very special place. 

Le Prieuré in Biron is for sale and is no longer accepting guests.  Do contact us if you are interested in purchasing this wonderful, fully-restored bed and breakfast in a hamlet that is home to the Château de Biron, a museum open to the public.  Le Prieuré welcomed us on several occasions, and we will miss the opportunity to stay there again.  Perhaps the new owners will re-open it to guests.  If you are interested in the prospect of becoming its next proprietor, please contact us.

We also must say good-bye to Château de Gauville in Normandy.  The American owners have decided to no longer to offer it as a weekly rental and only use it for themselves, their family and friends.  Of course, we wish them the best.


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: Salmon with Tarragon Cream & Mushrooms

This delicious recipe is simple and quite French. 

You will need four salmon fillets, 1/4 cup unsalted butter, 1/4 pound of fresh thinly sliced mushrooms, 1-1/2 to 2 cups of dry vermouth, 1 cup of heavy cream 2 tablespoons of fresh tarragon finely chopped, and salt and pepper to taste.

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat, and add the mushrooms and cook until  tender.  Transfer all to a shallow bowl.  Pour about one inch of vermouth into the sauté pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and add the salmon fillets.  Cover and poach the fish for about 8 minutes or until opaque throughout when tested with a fork. Transfer the fillets to a platter and cover to keep them warm.

Williams-Sonoma Fish Cookbook.
With high heat reduce the juices in the sauté pan until they thicken slightly, perhaps for 6 to 7 minutes.  Lower to medium heat and gently stir in mushrooms, cream and tarragon and cook for 2 minutes to reduce the juices further.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Plate the salmon and distribute the mushroom sauce over and serve immediately.  This recipe will serve four, and a green vegetable such as asparagus is a nice complement.

Bon appétit!

[Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library FISH cookbook.
Cover photo does not represent this recipe.]

  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 128 - Where are we?  from our Autumn 2016 issue

The village is Salies de Béarn in Basque country.

The first correct response was received from one of our long-time
subscribers, an American expat living in the Dordogne of southwest France.
  We sent her 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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