France is a country steeped in history, where fairytale castles are almost a dime a dozen. Sure, you could take a gander at them from the outside, but when nothing will do but the finest setting, you can also indulge your royal fantasies and spend the night. From the extravagant to the affordable, there are chateaux stays to suit all tastes and budgets. We say oui to that.
Chateau La Cheneviere - Normandy
A 5-star hotel, this chateau is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection and thus as small as it is chic. Set near the beaches in Normandy, it was recently chosen as one of the top 25 most luxurious establishments in France by Condé Nast Traveler. With a 30-acre park and heated pool, you'll also find a tennis court and a pop-up lunch spot, Le Petit Jardin, as well as the smart Le Botaniste for dinner. What's more, they even have their own beehives for fresh honey!
Chateau Les Carrasses - Languedoc
This 19th century castle resides amongst the Languedoc's vineyards and was recently restored with 28 beautifully appointed suites, apartments and villas. It's got it all: panoramic views, private gardens and infinity pools. There's a brasserie, wine bar, tennis courts, the Orangerie courtyard (rumored to have been designed by Gustave Eiffel himself - of Eiffel Tower fame) and a great kid's club during the holidays. What more could you want?
Chateau de Mazan - Provence In the little village of Mazan, a skip away from Mont Ventoux and Avignon, this 18th century chateau, which looks more like a mansion, is the perfect address for eccentrics. Built during the early regency in 1720, it's best known as the one-time home of Marquis de Sade, a well-known aristocrat and political revolutionary. When it comes to decor, some might find the life size mannequins and mermaids unusual, but the quirky and fun touches are what add character. The rooms have all the standard perks you'd expect, including free WIFI, romantic four-poster beds and lovely tommette terracotta floors. Outside the pool is a real gem, while the affordable French bistro is just the spot to waste away an afternoon.
Chateau de Gilly - Burgundy
Although it's located between Dijon and Beaune, there's a bit of King's Landing feel to Chateau de Gilly. Once home to Cistercian Monks, it dates all the way back to the 14th century, and one can feel the history seeping through the thick stone walls. You'll love the original moat, gothic vaulted ceilings and thrones in the dining room, as well as the heated pool and pretty gardens. Inside, the giant fireplaces, heavy oak furniture, chintz and red velvet add to the slightly surreal ambiance. It's definitely somewhere to step back in time.
Chateau d'Audrieu - Normandy
This is another trip down memory lane, this time between Caen and Bayeux in Normandy. Dating back to the 18th century, this historical monument still manages to feel like a family home, albeit an awfully grand one. There's plenty to do from exploring the gardens to venturing out to the WW2 landing beaches, or discovering the famous Bayeux tapestry before indulging in the local food produce. You won't want to miss a day-trip to Mont St Michel, one of France's most popular landmarks. Back at the chateau, you are guaranteed great service and food, thanks to the Relais & Châteaux seal of approval.
Chateau de Fleurville - Burgundy
A low-key, less showy chateau, this family-run hotel is a magnet for foodies. Dinner is served by the owner himself via candlelight with a menu put together by one-time Michelin starred chef Sebastien Di Noto. Highlights include Charolais beef with chanterelles mushrooms, truffle mash and a confit pear with praline chocolate crunch that is simply to die for. The room decor is modern, a contrast with the walls, and the fantastic breakfast is served al fresco on the terrace as long as the sun shines.
Chateau de Faucon - Champagne
This is another one that goes a long way back! Some parts of this chateau date back to the year 1000, but thankfully the 4-star rooms are brand-new and quite stylish. Stay in the main castle building if you prefer a traditional escape, or go contemporary cool in the old stables where there’s almost a hint of safari in the décor. Beautiful bathrooms and gourmet food all add to the luxurious feeling, not to mention the riding yard and mini golf course to keep you busy.
Chateau de Curzay - Pays de la Loire
This chateau hotel is the perfect base to explore the
Poitiers area and its famous "swamps," which are not swamps in the traditional sense, but rather romantic and overflowing with verdant greenery. Row down the Vonne river to picnic by the water under the age old cedar trees or visit the old medieval town. Perfect for a ‘tete
a tete’ this place is all about long, lazy dinners, pampering and spending
quality time in idyllic surroundings.
Chateau St Pierre de Serjac - Languedoc
After an extensive two-year, €25m renovation, the Château St Pierre de Serjac is spearheading Languedoc’s renaissance. First restored in 1886, it’s been transformed into a glamorous eight room hotel within the castle with another 36 stylish properties spread across the 200-acre grounds. With uninterrupted views of the
rolling vines, olive groves and woodland, and first-class facilities like the heated infinity pool, Cinq Mondes spa, clay tennis court, and kid's club, it’s the
perfect place to kick back and relax. Oenophiles will need to visit the winery
which has been fully modernized with the first vintages of the new era bottled in 2016!
Trianon Palace Waldorf Astoria - Versailles
The very definition of glam, this 1907 palace is just a stone’s throw away from actual Versailles. With sparkling chandeliers, contemporary décor and a two Michelin star Gordon Ramsay restaurant on the premises, it’s got everything you could wish for and then some. Cutting edge camouflage carpets, in-room Nespresso machines, and the huge Guerlain Spa will have you embracing the royal lifestyle in no time.
Chateau de la Redorte - Languedoc
In the rolling vineyards of France’s Languedoc region, near Carcassonne, this elegant chateau blends authenticity and luxury. Hole up in one of the 25 chic suites, indulge in the fresh, local cuisine of the region or explore the wine tunnel that connects the estate to an actual olive grove! Need to relax? Hit the Vineyard Spa with its 25-meter plunge pool and Mediterranean gardens. Can you spot the wine theme?