French breaks and holidays basking in the summer sunshine may seem a rather distant fantasy at the moment, but whilst we welcome the darker autumnal evenings and colder climates here in lockdown, we’re dreaming of our top luxury castles and chateaux that lie waiting over the channel.
If immersing yourself in fine art is your idea of a perfect stay, you may want to consider a visit to the gorgeous Domaine Des Etangs in Massignac. Step through the doors and find rare pieces by Picasso and Matisse. Relax and unwind in the stunning spa facilities, stroll around the expansive grounds comprising of lakes, quaint farms and beautiful wildlife to your heart’s content. Once you’ve basked in this idyllic French atmosphere, it’s time for dinner. Head on over to the Michelin star Dyades restaurant which offers the most exquisite dishes to suit even the most refined palettes.
Combining contemporary French style with a modern bed, and the opulence of times gone by with ornate furniture, your stay in the main house is the perfect luxury getaway for both families and couples. There are also numerous farmhouse cottages and outbuildings within the grounds that are available to rent too.
Although overnight stays aren’t an option here, Château d`Amboise is well worth investing some time into. Stroll through the immaculate grounds and into this architectural masterpiece, and you’ll discover medieval tapestries, antique armour and of course, signature French period furniture. This Chateau is very much fit for royalty, housing French kings from the 15th to the 19th century, including Charles VIII.
Enjoy the sunshine and gentle breeze of the stunning Loire Valley, look out over to a beautifully calm river from this strategic hilltop location, or visit the preserved tomb of none other than Leonardo Da Vinci. It’s believed up to 75% of the original chateau survives today, so you’re sure to experience a true taste of French history here.
Château de Chambord
It would be wrong to emit perhaps one of France’s most famous castles from our top 5, Château de Chambord. Building started in 1519 at the request of Francois I, who was known for his admiration of French arts. The Cosson river gently meanders throughout the grounds, which adds to its obvious charm.
Found on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, your visit starts with extensive browsing of some luxurious French history that’s begging to be explored. Wander through the formal gardens, following the footsteps of royals in times gone by, followed by a walk through the chateau itself. As you take in the enormous rooms and stunning French décor, it is easy to picture royalty enjoying frequent leisure time here, stretching out in the luxurious emperor beds, hosting banquets in the lavish dining rooms, all of which are of course draped in stunning French opulence.
Much like Château d`Amboise, overnight stays are unfortunately out of the question, however the house and grounds give you more than enough reason to pay a visit and spend a day.
La Chartreuse De Cos D’Estournel
For a truly authentic taste of French luxury, why not book a stay at La Chartreuse De Cos D’Estournel? Conveniently located on the hillside of one of Bordeux’s leading wine estates, this building is the epitome of French style. Owner Michel Reybier brought in assistance from French architect, interior designer and garden designer, Jacques Garcia to style this property, which shows with stunning French furniture throughout.
Your stay is of course tailored to your exact preferences, and Michel Reybier and family are on hand to ensure you make the most of your stay. His team of course mention that you have full use of his excellent chef for the duration of your stay, whilst the wine, largely thanks to the in-house expertise and state of the art wine-making facilities here, is a thing of legend. Sit back with a glass or two after a day of exploring the house and beautiful grounds in one of France’s most cherished regions.
Palace of Versailles
Back on the tourist trail, and rounding off our top 5, is Palace of Versailles, or Château de Versailles. Much like Château de Chambord, this is one of France’s most iconic buildings, you’ll find that this unique architectural masterpiece is dripping in over the top decadence inside and out. Strolling the vast hallways, you’ll note that its history is rich and immensely intertwined with French royalty, which ensures its packed with rooms (2,300, roughly), that encompass French style - many of which are ready to be explored by the public.
Don’t miss the hall of mirrors, which is made up of an incredible 350 French mirrors, the grand Trianon – an architectural masterpiece of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and of course the immaculate grounds and fountains.
If you’re looking to create that opulent chateau feel in your bedroom, then you simply can’t go wrong with an emperor size bed. Make it the focal point of the room with pared back accompanying furniture or go all out Versailles-style and style with luxurious bedding, an ornate armoire and a statement chandelier. Many of our loyal FBC shoppers have even designed their bedroom around our emperor size beds, having staircases fitted after the bed has been built and put into position! Nothing quite says centre piece quite so literally.