Picture this: a stunning fairy tale French Chateau, perhaps with a roaring fire, a grand four poster bed and certainly a glass or two of champagne and just you and your beloved. Sheer, unashamed, romantic bliss. All this and more can be yours this Valentine’s Day with a chateau retreat for two. Here we select our Top 5 romantic chateaus for you and your love:
1) The Honeymoon Gatehouse at Chateau D’Arnac, Dordogne (pictured above & below)
The golden stone castle, with its Rapunzel-style towers, is steeped in history, mainly dating from the 15th century with further architectural additions added over the centuries. The chateau lies within 30 acres of private secure grounds with a stunning, small private lake. The Honeymoon Gatehouse is a hidden, bijou gem; a stunning cottage spread across 3 floors with a charming sitting room, 2 luxurious bedrooms and a well-equipped kitchen. The interior is a beautiful mix of antique, designer wallpapers, fabrics and furniture with a natural, rustic charm; the final effect is romantic, but with a modern, slightly funky twist too. The Chateau is situated in the Dordogne region of the South of France, the nearest airport is Brive la Gaillarde, during the summer months Ryanair flies direct from London Stansted with flights taking an hour and 40 minutes. It is then a 25-minute drive to the Chateau. The airport at Limoges is only 90 minutes away which is well served with flights from London all year around.
2) Château les Oliviers de Salettes, Charols, Rhône-Alpes
Once part of a larger chateau, this property is now a large three-storey house with a turret at each end. The renovation produced 16 beautiful bedrooms whose décor treads that careful balance between being rustic yet formal; grand enough for their surroundings yet with a modern, playful finish. The fantastic thing about a romantic stay here is you have little reason to leave; delicious fine dining is served on the terraces, there are five hectares of landscaped parkland, a boules pitch, an infinity pool and a wellness centre (located in an ancient wine cellar). Guests can take their pick of activities too from cookery lessons, wine tastings and electric-bike rentals to tree climbing, paragliding, canoeing and horse riding. Avignon is the nearest airport, in the summer City Jet fly direct from London City Airport and the chateau is then just over an hour’s drive away.
3) Château de Perreux, near Tours, Loire Valley
This romantic chateau with its two little towers is perched high on a hill giving magnificent views over water meadows to the Loire. There are 11 rooms in this boutique hotel, the décor is simple and classy, with period fittings and finishes. There is an elegant 60-foot swimming pool that is accessed via a rocky tunnel and a Michelin starred chef who cooks for residents only. The nearest airport is Tours Val de Loire and Ryanair flies here direct from London Stansted in an hour and 20 minutes, the chateau is then just 30 minutes’ drive from the airport.
4) Château des Briottières, Champigné, Loire Valley
This grand 18th-century chateau is family-run and tucked deep in the Loire countryside. The formal, traditional décor is perfectly fitting here; a fabulous red velvet sitting room and a stunning marble staircase are among the showpieces. There are 10 luxurious bedrooms, so although very romantic, you are not exactly on your own but this property does have the advantage that you will be totally spoilt by the owners and won’t have to lift a finger yourselves. There are private tennis courts, a swimming pool and 50 hectares of beautiful parklands surrounding a lake. British Airways fly from London City to Angers Loire airport which takes about an hour and then the chateau is only 30 minutes away, however you can drive from London in just over 7 hours including the time spent on the Channel Tunnel.
5) Demeure de la Vignole, near Saumur, Loire Valley
This is a 4-star Chateau but had to be included for total unusual and memorable experience of staying here! Few other places can you be surrounded by luxury, yet also sleep in an ancient-hand carved cave. Several of the rooms here are set right into the rock, so your chandelier is fitted directly to the limestone. There’s even a secret pool hidden in a rocky cave – very romantic. The nearest airport is Tours Val de Loire and Ryanair flies here direct from London Stansted in an hour and 20 minutes, the chateau is then just under an hour’s drive from the airport.
I would struggle to picture a more romantic, chic venue than staying in a chateau and being in one of the world’s most romantic countries too just makes it all the more special. Earn some major brownie points this Valentine’s Day by booking a break in one of these beautiful chateaus.
Read my other top five best articles to discover the best beaches and luxury hotels around the world.
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