Each of us has a bucket list with experiences that they want and staying in a chateau in France has been long been on mine. While living in Paris, my husband and I took a weekend road trip to Normandy and I knew that this was my chance to stay in a chateau in France (also the clock was ticking). Keep reading for my experience of staying at a chateau in France as well as others’ experiences staying at French chateaux, and other beautiful chateaus in France that you’ll want to visit!
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My experience staying in a chateau in Normandy, France
Something that I always wanted to do was to stay in a chateau in France (after watching Beauty and the Beast too many times!). While taking a trip to Normandy, I ended up seeing reading about Parc Naturel Régional des Boucles de la Seine, a park where France is attempting to preserve the traditional environments and agrarian way of life. Within the park, you’ll find numerous chateaux and when I was mapping out our journey, I realized that it would be possible to stay at a chateau instead at a conventional hotel in Rouen for less than $70 USD (55 euros).
After seeing “le Verbosc” on Airbnb, I ended up booking this family-owned chateau dating back to the 17th century run by Michel, a French nobleman who runs the chateau together with helpers. The mention of breakfast with Michel and his adorable cats was enough to convince me to book this chateau. Although there are certainly more chateau in the area, I loved the idea of a more personal touch to make my first chateau stay truly special.
After a charming day in picturesque Honfleur in fall, we drove through the winding roads of the Parc Naturel Régional des Boucles de la Seine. Between the trees changing color and the fog that obscured the many historic buildings that we passed, I was glad that we chose this region. Le Verbosc is hidden up a road that was surrounded by red and orange leaves and upon arrival, the door was open for us. As we chose to visit out of season, we were the only guests.
Immediately, we met Michel and his helper who briefly gave us a tour of the house and offered us our pick of rooms. I ended up selecting the yellow room as I linked the additional tables/chairs as we intended to open the cider that we had purchased earlier in the day. However, it was a tough decision. 😉 It’s clear that Le Verbosc is both Michel’s home as well as a guesthouse, so you’ll find thoughtful touches and antiques all throughout the house.
Afterwards, we asked for advice on where to eat dinner nearby. Michel’s good friend runs a half-timbered guesthouse in a former coaching inn (Auberge Du Val At Cesne). Michel called to make us a reservation and our meal was spectacular. (Some chateaux have an in-house chef, so check ahead.) Auberge Du Val At Cesne focuses on using local ingredients to create traditional dishes from the region. The food was incredible and incredibly reasonable considering the quality and portions.
We slept very well on the comfortable bed and I rose around sunrise to explore the grounds. Michel’s adorable cats followed me around the house and soon, Michel offered us breakfast (at 8am as I requested). Our breakfast included jams that Michel himself made, toast, eggs, and fruit. (My husband’s favorite room of all was the kitchen, which had a large fireplace). Michel is incredibly charming and his helper, an Argentinian girl, were a delight to talk to and insisted upon showing us more of the property, which includes a small apple orchard.
I was especially amused by Michel’s pets, which included two mischievous cats. One of them spent most of breakfast purring on my lap while the other snuck a bite of my husband’s breakfast. (There’s also a friendly dog!) Michel also gave us detailed advice on where to go in Normandy, which helped us to determine our Normandy road trip.
There’s a small family chapel on the property, which was created with stones from a demolished church in town. As someone who has never been invited into someone’s private chapel, I was delighted at the idea of seeing the interior. I was apparently the first guest, ever, to ask about the chapel. The interior was much of what I expected although I took a lot of delight in seeing the cats using this opportunity to break in.
Other chateaux in France to consider…
Chateau Feely by Margarita from the Crowded Planet
Chateau de Lucy – Picardy by Katy from Untold Morsels
Chateau de Courtebotte by Laura from the Traveling Stomach
Located in the Bordeaux wine region this gorgeous chateau is the perfect base to explore the surrounding vineyards. Lovingly refurbished the chateau is the perfect blend of modern amenities in a traditional building complete with large downstairs areas in which to unwind complete with board games and a billiards room. Each of the rooms has its own style with the Patio suite being perfect for couples with a large feature bath and lovely outdoor terrace overlooking the Dordogne River, the perfect spot to enjoy a bottle of wine and some of Isabelle’s freshly baked treats.
Guests are very well taken care of by Isabelle, host and owner, who is always on hand to offer recommendations and assist with booking wine tours and restaurant reservations. If you’re lucky enough to be staying when Isabelle cooks this is something not to be missed with all courses paired with delightful wines from just down the road! On the subject of food, the breakfast at Chateau de Courtebotte is one not to skip with just-out-the-oven pastries and the widest range of homemade jams I’ve ever seen, a great way to line your stomach before a day of wine tasting around Bordeaux.
Château de Briottiéres
This 18th century French chateau in the middle of Loire valley is what dreams are made of. This family home has all the original furniture, so unlike many other chateau that have modernized, Château de Briottiéres gives you the authentic experience. Included in this? dinner at a candlelit table straight out of your wildest dreams.
Château de la Bourdaisière
Château de la Bourdaisiére is a stunning 15th chateau, also in Loire Valley, has spacious grounds to roam. While on the grounds, you can eat one of the tomatoes grown on the grounds. This chateau has been semi-modernized, however it still retains its charm and each room has its own unique theme.
Demeure de la Vignole
This chateau is too unique and quirky leave off a list of chateaux to stay in! This 17th century chateau, not far from Nantes, has a secret: prehistoric caves underneath the grounds with a swimming pool inside. Guests can even stay in rooms that are carved into the rock. Even if you’re not interested in caves, Demeure de la Vignole is located on a vineyard.
Have you stayed in a chateau in France? Tell me about your experience!