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Autumn 2017
In this issue . . .

   Our Featured B&B:  Château de Picomtal in Provence's Hautes-Alpes

   Welcome Villa Belle Couronne, near Nantes

   Our Featured Rental:   Château de Courtomer in Normandy

  European Garden Award for Château de la Ballue

  News & Offers from our Members

and More!

Don't wait too long to plan your château stay . . .
Book now for 2018 & get ahead of the crowds.

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 Featured B&B:
Château de Picomtal
in the Hautes-Alpes of Provence  ~  with forever views!

Jardin at Château de Picomtal

Château de Picomtal

Château de Picomtal is an absolutely delightful place to stay with welcoming owners who will proudly share their château with you.  From the very special gardens to the view over Lake Serre-Ponçon and the mountains beyond, you will appreciate the fresh alpine air and endless beauty that surrounds you.

Views at Picomtal
This château has a fascinating history being an historic Medieval castle dating back more than a thousand years.  Many owners over the centuries added to the château, updated and made it their own.  It was in 1998 when it was purchased by Jacques Peureux and Sharon Halperin who spent the next four years renovating it to accommodate conferences, seminars, concerts and, of course, guests in their lovely chambres d'hôtes.  Perhaps you will be fortunate enough to see the video of the tower renovation ~ a truly impressive undertaking by these two dedicated owners.

An Annexe has an apartment perfect for up to four people, is self-catering and rented by the day or by the week.  The Château is open to guests from April to October each year.  It is easily accessible by car from Marseille, Grenoble, Lyon and Turin airports or Gap, Aix-en-Provence, Embrun and Valence rail stations.

Chambre Boniface.

Lovely and spacious guest accommodations await you at Château de Picomtal, and there is a handy elevator to the bedroom floor.  Period furniture, rich carpets and luxurious fabrics have been used to provide a warm and comfortable ambiance in each en suite guest room.

Although dinner is not offered at the château, many restaurant choices are nearby.  Cooking classes are held 5 times a year, and dinner is enjoyed by the students following the classes.

Make your next stay in France one where you have a view of the Alpes! 

Map of the Hautes-Alpes département.  Wikipedia

For reservations or more information about Château de Picomtal,
contact us at

[Photos © S. Halperin & J. Peureux.  All Rights Reserved.]

Welcome to Our Newest Member ~
Villa Belle Couronne
on the banks of the River Loire

Villa Belle Couronne.  Copyright M/M Liebreks   All rights reserved.
Villa Belle Couronne

We are very pleased to introduce you to Villa Belle Couronne in the Western Loire, the most recent bed and breakfast to join our au Château family. As we mentioned in our last newsletter, the owners are old friends of our web site as they are the former proprietors of Château de Cheman, also in the Loire region.  Last autumn they became the proud owners of this stunning property designed in the Belle Epoque style.

Chambre Belle Etoile

There are two bright and sunny guest rooms with
spectacular views of the Loire, vineyards and nearby villages.  Each room has a modern en suite bathroom with double washbasins, shower and bath tub.  The Villa is located in the heart of the village of Le Cellier, and secure private parking is provided. 

The enclosed park offers guests a swimming pool and many places for strolls or just sitting to relax under age-old specimen trees.  Breakfast can be enjoyed in the Villa or on the terrace in the garden.

The pool and park.

Map of the Loire-Atlantique.  Wikipedia.

Villa Belle Couronne on our site today to learn all about this fine bed and breakfast only 24 kilometers (30 minutes) by car to Nantes which will soon have a brand new international airport.  We look forward to assisting you with your reservations.  Contact us at

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

French Quiz 131

Where are we?

Hint:  the 5th arrondissement

Quiz 131 -Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

Please provide the location in Paris of this depiction of Joan of Arc.

The first reader to send us the correct answer
 will receive our exclusive Château Note Cards.

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 newsletter.

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

Our Featured Rental:

Château de Courtomer
in Normandy

Château de Courtomer.  E. Bonner.  All rights reserved.
Château de Courtomer

Château de Courtomer is on a vast estate with beautiful parklands in the Orne département of Normandy, only a two and a half hour drive from Paris ~ along an ancient Roman road that leads north to the English Channel.  Self-catering weekly rentals as well as facilities for large group gatherings, seminars, meetings and, of course, weddings are offered at the château.  Personalized services, an on-site chef, area tours, hot-air balloon rides, wine tastings and more can be arranged by the proprietors to cater to your every need.

Courtomer is a magnificent château and country home offering guests fifteen en suite bedrooms  ~ all of which can be offered with queen-size beds ~ a grand entrance foyer and sweeping staircase, an elegant dining hall, a smaller more intimate dining room for ten, a fine modern kitchen, two comfortable salons for relaxation, a library with fireplace, an 18th century gentlemen's smoking room, a Catholic chapel in the château and a Protestant temple undergoing restoration on the grounds.  The elegant and spacious Orangerie is perfect for wedding meals.

The Orangerie
The Orangerie

Guests will experience true French château life at Château de Courtomer.  They will appreciate that it has been decorated in appropriate period antiques and furnishings in keeping with its 18th century architecture, aristocratic heritage and important family history. Those planning family reunions, gatherings of friends, and celebrations such as anniversaries and weddings will find Château de Courtomer the perfect venue in beautiful Normandy.

Guest room.  Guest room at Château de Courtomer.

Map of Orne département.  Wikipedia.

Château de Courtomer on our site to see more photos and read about all it has to offer.  Contact us for answers to your questions or to make a reservation.

[Photos ©E. Bonner. 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.

Nans Sous Ste-Anne.  Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

Nans- Sous-Ste-Anne

The town of Nans-Sous-Sainte-Anne is a tiny, pleasant commune in the Doubs département located in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region of eastern France.

is about 27 miles south of the city of Besançon on a plateau of the Jura mountains.  The area around Nans is known for outstanding geological features including the Source du Lison (see photo below) and the Grotte Sarrazine.  Artist Gustave Courbet painted in this area, one of his favorite locations, and his painting of the Grotte de Sarrazine hangs in Los Angeles California's Getty Museum.

Source du Lison, Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne

We had the good fortune to spend a few nights at the bed and breakfast l'Ombre du Château, just a short walk from the village.  There are new owners there now, but we are certain they offer the same warm welcome and comfort as the former proprietors.

If you have never spent time in the Doubs, we do recommend you give it a try.  The beautiful and rugged landscape  is inviting for those who love the outdoors, and we found it very pleasant and uniquely different from other regions of France.

Map of Doubs. Wikipedia

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

Château de la Ballue's gardens
win 2nd place at the
European Garden Awards  2017/2018

Our very own member, Château de la Ballue, in Brittany shared the 2nd place award at the Berlin presentation of the European Garden awards with the entry from the Netherlands.  The following is the presentation speech on September 15, 2017:

"Château de la Ballue and its gardens can be considered as a balcony above a green river valley not far away from Le Mont Saint-Michel.  The garden interacts with the landscape forming a perfect unity.

Classical gardens at Château de la Ballue."The garden is influenced by mannerism.  Two very different gardens are arranged side by side on an area covering two hectares.  The division between them is marked by a long wisteria-covered arcade which runs between two rows of yews clipped into columns.

La Ballue comprises

-  a contemporary interpretation of topiary modeled in the 16th-century Italian practice of arte topiara and thus placed in the tradition of Baroque garden design.

-  a maze-like structure of mysterious avenues and passages created as a stimulus for the eyes and ears

-  an intimate garden with interrupted views which is crossed by a diagonal axis

-  a sequence of 12 asymmetrically arranged garden 'rooms' which repeatedly surprise visitors

"After the Second World War the gardens were abandoned.  Restored by Claude Arthaud in 1973, the gardens fell into neglect for a second time.  Then the gardens were rediscovered and restored in 1996.  The new owners introduced a new rhythm of the garden rooms, played with the uncontrolled growing vegetation, and expanded the existing play of the changing perspectives by a play of light and shadow.  Additional green rooms were created and supplemented with new historical and cultural references.  The vision was to create a harmony of colors, a symphony of green, blue and white.  Added to this were the lateral perspectives.  Through their interventions, they gave the garden
Gardens at Château de la Ballue.ensemble a mysterious and poetic atmosphere.

"The jury acknowledges the multiple efforts to create and to revive the gardens of La Ballue.  A garden that gets stronger and better every time.  Today, you can feel the knowledge, professionalism and enthusiasm of the new owners who opened house and gardens to visitors, for the guests of the small hotel and for many high standard cultural events.  The garden is like a demanding child, but it is good to watch how it matures."

For those of you planning a visit to Brittany (La Ballue is near the River Couesnon which is the accepted dividing line between Brittany and Normandy), a few nights or longer at this wonderful bed and breakfast should be part of your itinerary.  Not only can you wander the 'rooms' of this spectacular garden and admire the meticulous care given to the sculptured shrubbery but, as a guest of Madame Mathon, you will experience the tranquil and refined ambiance of this beautiful château.

Contact us at for information and reservations.

[Photos copyrighted M. Mathon.  All Rights Reserved.]

News from Our Members . . .
& other travel information

                                Getting the news!


The exquisite Château Forge du Roy in the bucolic Dordogne département is offering a 10% discount for all 2018 bookings that are made and confirmed by December 31, 2017 ~ a €950 savings from the High Season price.  Don't miss this opportunity to rent one of the most luxurious properties in this part of France, complete with swimming pool and cabana, firepit and gazebo, boules, gym, sauna and massages, secure parking, laundry facilities, fishing and boating on the lake and so much more.  Maximum capacity is 20 guests.

Your hosts can arrange wine tastings and hot air balloon rides and advise about attractions in the region.  With ten lavish guest rooms, all en suite, this is the perfect getaway for family and friends or as a venue for a wedding or photo shoot. 

This is a fine self-catering property, convenient to so many of the popular regional attractions.  Visit it on our site and click on the video link to take a virtual tour of the château and the estate.  Contact us with questions or to reserve your week.  And please specify Forge du Roy.

Château Rhodes 
in the Ariège département of the Occitanie region, is now for sale.  You can still visit its pages on our site to see photos of both the interior and exterior and read about what it has to offer. The château, on 20 acres of parkland and with 11 guest rooms (9 of which are en suite), is being offered at €1,450,000 with the furnishings.  Please contact us with your inquiries.

Also for sale is Château de Chanzé in the Loire, a fine historic château with an additional four gîtes on the property. Read all about this ideally-located château on our site.   It is available to guests from May through the end of 2018.  For selling price and other details, please
contact us.  Or contact us to book your reservation for next year.


SOLD!!  Château du Grand Lucé in the Sarthe of the Pays de la Loire and Château de Longsard in Burgundy's Beaujolais country have been sold.  Their new owners may decide to join our site in the future, but for now we will really miss them!
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:  Chocolate Sabayon

We have adapted this recipe from Eggs, a must-have cookbook by three-star Michelin chef Michel Roux.  His career includes 21+ years at the Waterside Inn in Windsor, England, many culinary honors, an Honorary Doctorate in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in 2002 and the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur in 2004.  He is also the food and wine consultant for Celebrity Cruises.

Michel Roux.  Courtesy Wiley PublishingYou will need only four ingredients: 3/4 cup of superfine sugar, 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, and the finely grated zest of one orange.

Begin by putting the sugar in a small pot with 2/3 cup of water and dissolve over low heat.  Then, bring to boil and immediately turn off the heat.  Leave the sugar syrup to cool completely.

Fill a pan (large enough to hold a round-bottom bowl) 2/3 full of warm water and heat gently. Put the bowl into the pan.  Pour the cooled sugar syrup into the bowl and whisk in the egg yolks.  Continue whisking the mixture over the heat for about 8 to 10 minutes until the sabayon is a light ribbon consistency.

When the sabayon reaches 149°F (65°C) it is ready.  Turn off the heat and continue whisking until the sabayon has a very thick ribbon consistency and a fluffy, shiny texture.

After removing the bowl from the pan, sprinkle in the cocoa a little at a time, whisking delicately until it has dissolved.  Stir in the grated orange zest gently.

Spoon the sabayon into dishes and serve immediately. 

Serves 6.   Bon appétit! 

Eggs cover

Order your copy of Eggs for some of the most delicious
 recipes by this world-famous Michelin chef. 


Click on the Amazon banner above for easy ordering.

  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 130 - Where are we?  from our Winter 2017 issue

The Flame of Liberty was given to the City of Paris
in 1987 by the
International Herald Tribune (USA) in commemoration of the 100th anniversary
 of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor ~ and is a full size replica of the Statue of Liberty's torch.
It has since become a tribute to Princess Diana who died August 31, 1987, in the nearby Pont d'Alma tunnel.

The first correct response was received from a subscriber
in San Diego, California, who received our Château Note Cards.

Our thanks to everyone who participated.


Département maps courtesy of Wikipédia, France

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