We were recently invited to dinner by a chateau-owner, or châtelain, who has a château about 35 minutes from Paris. Madame Châtelaine, who spends most of her time in the US, singlehandedly oversaw the entire renovation of the château, from the carefully aged tiles in the bathrooms to the antique furniture that graces each uniquely decorated room.
So it wasn’t surprising that Madame Châtelaine would be able to host a gourmet dinner for 10! And it wasn’t just the food that was remarkable – Fête in France’s dinner companions were: two blonde Eastern-Europeans/former professional tennis players; an endearing English businessman and his wife, who had the most wonderful continental European accent; a very elegant older couple who traveled the world and who were great patrons of opera and ballet; a charming French businessman from Versailles.
Despite the evident gap in age, means, and social status (alas, we do not count Lenny Kravitz or Sharon Stone among our “besties”) we had such a great time! Actually, this is one of the occasions where the word “marvelous” would do it more justice: we had such a marvelous time!
So we’re crossing our fingers that we’ll have the chance to get back to the château, whether it’s for another dinner or even better, for a wedding we’ve booked!
We were recently lucky enough to visit a truly fabulous château (and trust us, we see a lot of fabulous places!). So what sets it apart you ask? Let us count the ways…
1) located only 35 minutes from Paris so you’re there before you have time to make it through your favorite ipod playlist
2) A grand entrance to greet you with a large gate and cobblestoned drive
3) Beautiful grounds with a lake, forest and elegant French gardens designed by no other than the master of the art – Le Nôtre
4) Chapel for a wedding ceremony of up to 100 guests
5) A reception room ideal for 60-70 guests
6) Guest accommodation site for up to 30 people in rooms decorated with French antiques and modern bathrooms (the best of the past and present!)
7) Period costumes on hand…gentlemen, start powdering your wigs and ladies, start channeling your inner Marie Antoinette.
Interested? More information and pricing upon request.
Visiting a new chateau can be a lot of fun – we get to escape from Paris for a while, enjoy the countryside and hopefully find a great new venue to propose to our clients.
We were put in contact with a chateau owner who is keen to do more weddings at his chateau in France. We, being keen to develop relationships directly with chateaus, decided to take a trip down to check out the situation. The chateau was located in the Ardèche, a department nestled between Burgundy and Provence, part of the Rhône-Alps region. The caretakers were a nice English couple who had been long-time residents of Zimbabwe – with weather a far cry from the grey-misty-coldness of French winters.
The chateau was built in the mid 1800’s and is named after the mountain that overshadows the chateau grounds. An intriguing historical anecdote is that it apparently was into this mountain that a plane carrying JFK’s sister and her lover crashed in 1948. The chateau can sleep quite a few people and has a large outdoor terrace that could accommodate an elegant outdoor reception.
Wanting to capitalize on our time away from the office, we enjoyed some well-earned glasses of Saint-Emilion and researched other possible venues we could visit on our drive back up to Paris. Thankfully there was no shortage of candidates and we decided to contact a chateau our wine merchant friend Charles had recommended to us. The chateau owner had recently inherited the estate and was happy to have us come visit.
This chateau, located between Beaune and Dole, had the symmetric elegant lines of the 17-18th century style. Despite the snowy weather and general dishevelment inside because of the renovation work, we could tell that it would be a great venue. The work is scheduled to be done for the chateau’s re-opening in May, are dates are still available for Summer/Fall 2010!