7 French châteaux in which you can stay
Would you believe that France is home to more than 40,000 castles? Granted, under the sobriquet castles you’ll find everything from sturdy and fortified forts, royal hunting lodges, grand country mansions, fancy palaces, as well as a few ruins, but in most cases they are all magnificent and so French.
When traveling through France, you can barely get around without stumbling upon a castle, and visiting some of the royal palaces is pretty much on everyone’s itinerary. I mean, you wouldn’t go to Paris without visiting Versailles, and you wouldn’t go through the Loire without jumping into one or two of the lovely chateaux there, right?
But what makes traveling through France even better is when you can spend the night in a pretty chateau and enjoy a royal bed. Fortunately, many of these 40,000+ chateaux in France have been turned into stunning hotels, and they have seen renewed interest since the British TV series Escape to the Château has made people all over the world dream of owning one or at the very least of staying in a real French castle once in their life.
While the Chateau de la Motte Husson is only available for weddings, there are many more beautiful places you can book in France.
I’ve picked some of my favorites, scattered across the country, from luxury stay to wineries, hardy forts to beautiful options at a more affordable budget. I am sure you will find one that fits your dream of the perfect French chateau.
1. Airelles Château De Versailles The Grand Control, Versailles
Les Airelles Château de Versailles The Grand Controlled is the hotel castle that completes all the hotel châteaux. Totally luxurious and with a corresponding price, this hotel is located within the grounds of the Palace of Versailles and was the most anticipated hotel opening in recent history. The hotel transformed Le Grand Contrôle, dating from 1681, and was originally the home of a government official under Sun King Louis XIV. Later it became the chic offices of the French Ministry of Finance where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, and finally into a palace where visitors feel like royalty for the duration of their stay.
Remember, with rooms starting at around $ 2,000 per night, all the way up to $ 13,000 for the opulent Necker Suite, you might just have to be royal to afford it. But staying on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, even for a single night, and dining in the Michelin-starred hotel restaurant would certainly add glamor to any special occasion.
Pro tip: You are already within the walls of the Palace of Versailles, each room reservation is therefore accompanied by a visit to the château, breakfast, afternoon tea, and even the use of boats on the Grand Canal in the castle gardens, as well as the use of golf carts. It’s good then, isn’t it?
2. Domaine Les Crayères, Reims
In the heart of Reims, capital of Champagne, and surrounded by 17 hectares of green park, is a magnificent transformed castle luxurious hotel. Intimate, with only 20 rooms, the building is imposing, especially its central staircase. Rooms range from lavish and floral to simple elegance, but all with plush curtains and beautifully designed wallpaper, plush comfortable armchairs, and garden views. Two superb in-house restaurants will make you want to not leave at all, but remember, it’s Reims, and the champagne house of Pommery is right next door.
Pro tip: When in Reims… drink champagne. Head to one of my all-time favorite places to sit and sip champagne, Café du Palais.
3. Château Saint-Martin & Spa, Vence
Standing on a hill in the middle of Provence, Chateau Saint-Martin is a haven of peace and quiet. You will hear birds singing, crickets chirping and frogs croaking, but otherwise, silence. The view from the restaurant terrace is simply so breathtaking that you won’t be able to tear yourself away from it. But not everything depends on the location and the views. It is also a magnificent old castle which began its life as a Templar castle in 1150. It has since been updated, and the rooms are magnificent, the lobby magnificent, and even the old historic nooks and crannies have been renovated. revamped with some modern ornaments while keeping it original. And did I mention the restaurant terrace? Just go for lunch, continue drinking a fine regional rosé all afternoon until dinner time, while taking in the changing light through these views.
Pro tip: The spa is in the name, so don’t miss it. This is a spa in La Prairie that offers facials with white caviar, or even more regional treatments, with lavender and honey.
4. Château De La Treyne, Lacave
In the heart of the Dordogne, in the south-west of France, perched on a rocky outcrop on the edge of the meanders of the Dordogne, the Chateau de la Treyne is a medieval castle as picturesque as they come. Bordered by the river on one side, a forest suitable for walking on the other, a French-style garden, adorned and dotted with large urns and small hedges, a rose garden and a swimming pool. The rooms are generous, with wooden window seats, beautifully designed wallpaper and curtains, all old medieval charm but with modern amenities. Some rooms even come with a comfortable four-poster bed.
Pro tip: The neighboring town is not called Lacave for nothing. The Dordogne is riddled with caves, but the Caves of Lacave are among the best, and so vast that there is a metro to take you.
5. Château Hotel & Spa Grand Barrail, Saint-Emilion
Saint-Emilion is known for its cute little town, but most of all for its superb wine and fun harvest festival. Staying in Saint-Emilion and its surroundings means looking at the vineyards, drinking wine, trying to find out if the cellar is sending cases of wine abroad and staying in castles. This chateau was built in 1903 with towers and turrets as part of a vineyard. Now a superb hotel with all amenities, it contains an outdoor swimming pool with cabanas, spa and Turkish hammam, as well as a breathtaking restaurant. Enclosed in beautiful leaded glass windows, arched and tinted, resembling one of those grand Victorian palm groves, the restaurant is truly the place to be. resistance coin, a masterpiece.
Pro tip: The Saint-Emilion market, open every Wednesday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., is not only in a pretty setting but also has a superb small stand offering fresh oysters accompanied by a chilled local white wine. Don’t miss it.
6. Chateau Le Mas De Montet, Petit-Bersac
On the banks of the Dronne river in the Dordogne, about an hour from Périgueux, this perfect picture Chateau is a hot spot for outdoor activities. Perfect for bird watching, with nightingales, Siberian cranes and birds of prey in residence at certain times of the year, the vast grounds can be explored by bicycle or on horseback. There are good fishing in the river (ask at reception where to obtain a permit) and an outdoor swimming pool, as well as many hiking trails in the forest. When you are inside, however, you can feel like royalty again, as the castle is comfortably decorated, and some of the 10 bedrooms have four poster beds which will be perfect after a day of activities, and this stay will not blow up the budget either.
7. Château De Fonscolombe, Le Puy-Sainte-Reparade
A few kilometers north of beautiful Aix-en-Provence is a Chateau you will want to own. More of a large country house, the building has a large driveway, a soft yellow hue, blue windows with shutters, a double staircase to the front door, beautiful grounds offering a mix of flowering gardens and tall trees with comfy reading chairs underneath, an area to play boules, or as it is known locally, petanque, a swimming pool, a restaurant, a neighboring vineyard, picnics ready and yes, wonderful rooms.
Pro tip: It’s a place of relaxation, so perhaps come after exploring Aix-en-Provence, just to relax for a few days.
If luxury castles in France are too expensive, there are other options: