domaine-des-etangs

Like a tableau rendered by Monet, the French countryside with its manicured gardens and centuries-old chateaus, is ripped straight out of a fairy-tale. Eschew your standard hotel stay in favour of one of these utterly romantic properties and spend a weekend impeccably catered to on one of these storied estates.

Château de Saint Paterne Normandy

Nestled in the gastronomic greenlands of the Normandy border, Château de Saint Paterne is a luxe yet lived-in family affair. With stone walls and classic interiors, the hotel comes with a impressive history; King Henri IV once slept here and you too can kip in his bedroom. For those seeking more modern amenities, the chateau’s most modern room – the amber-coloured “chambre des mystères” – will be better suited. There’s a heated outdoor pool and each evening owner (and self-taught chef) Charles-Henry de Valbray prepares an opulent dinner, served at 8PM on the dot. Dress to match Charles-Henry and his wife Ségolène: bohemian chic.

Château St Pierre de Serjac

This beautifully restored 19th-century manor has a working winery and is one of the best stays around, equipped with a heated outdoor infinity pool, modern French restaurant and Cinq Mondes spa. Surrounded by vineyards, it offers the opportunity to discover Languedoc grapes through a tasting session and tour of the estate’s winery. If you’re looking for a bit more privacy, book into one of the manor’s 36 self-catering cottages – with cobbled walls they look like they’ve been plucked straight out of Hansel and Gretel.

Domaine des Etangs Massignac

The former holiday estate of the late Didier Primat (one of France’s wealthiest businessmen), Domaine des Etangs is as suave  as you might expect. Expanding over 1000 hectares of forests, grassland and ponds, the property features seven suites and bedrooms in the main house as well as four suites in a separate building. The main draw is the 11th-century chateau with interiors curated by Isabelle Stanislas; a continuous dialogue runs between old and new, boldness and simplicity, with antiques and bespoke creations interspersed with unique objects and original artwork. Work up an appetite on the impressive elevated tennis court before heading to the Michelin-starred restaurant for dinner.

Château de la Resle Chablis

This Dutch-owned boutique hotel with modern interiors and surrounded by expansive vineyards is charming as they come. Rooms comprise of criss-crossing wooden beams, velvet chairs and open bathrooms, while a lack of room service coaxes guests into assembling their own wine and cheese plate for an in-room picnic. The surrounding area is famous for wine – particularly pinot noir and chardonnay – so it’s worth taking a tour of the vineyards at Chablis and the underground cellars at Saint-Bris-les-Vineux. The Château de la Resle also houses a gallery’s worth of hyper-modern Dutch paintings, sculptures and objets d’art. After taking a self-guided tour, laze by the pool or in the spa’s hammam.

Château de Saint Paterne

Château St Pierre de Serjac

Château Ventoux

Domaine des Etangs

Château de la Resle

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