Happy Thursday! Today I'm talking about another stop from the road-trip across northern France I did with my friend Caitlin this summer. Just three hours southwest of Paris, you'll find yourself in the Loire Valley: a gorgeous region of France that's known for its extravagant Châteaus and outstanding wines. While castles and palaces are certainly scattered all over Europe, many will argue that no place is as renowned for them as here (largely because of the fertility of its land, its strategic location, and its complex history). Given it's prestigious history and beautiful scenery, Caitlin and I knew we had to stop through as we mapped out our trip.
There are SO many places you can stay in this area- the options are overwhelming. Given the long list of other destinations we were visiting, we didn’t get to spend nearly as much time as we would have liked to here and had to prioritize what we saw. While the heart of Loire Valley is incredible, it's also teetering on the border of feeling a bit far from other destinations you may want to include on the same road trip like we did (i.e. Paris, Normandy or Mont St Michel). To avoid spending more time in the car and keep as close to our other stops as possible, we narrowed our search to the northern border of the region.
We wanted to stay somewhere that feels like an idyllic retreat away from the chaos without compromising luxury. But more than anything, we wanted a true, authentic French château experience. After doing a bit of research, we came across Château Des Briottières, a private family owned and operated (for over seven generations) château situated in Anjou, which is between three rivers: the Mayenne, the Sarthe and the Loire. It's close to a wide range of wine growers, not to mention botanical gardens, abbeys, remarkable churches, and charming little villages to explore.
From the moment you walk into the châteaux you'll hear classical music in the background and feel as if you've somehow slipped back in time to the Napolean area (or that you're on set for a romantic film.) The place is truly magical and quintessentially French.
The property is multi-faceted, containing several different places you can stay on site. The family home, which is the main building, has 10 large bedrooms- each one different from the next. No matter which one you stay in, you can guarantee there will be beautiful antiques, luxurious textiles and large windows.
But the bedrooms certainly aren’t the only beautiful areas of the Château. We sat down in the Salon Vert with François, the owner, for some champagne prior to dinner to learn more about the history of the captivating mansion. Neighboring Salon Vert is the Grand Saloon and Billiard Room, two equally stunning rooms where you can admire the Napoleon era antiques. François walked us through each room to tell us more about the rich history. This was one of my favorite parts of our stay because I loved learning about the family and how each detail of the property has its own story.
Dinner that evening and breakfast the following morning were incredibly memorable occasions. Both take place in the 18th century dining room and the menus are inspired by their own family recipes. All the ingredients are incredibly fresh and locally sourced (and I still dream of the fresh, warm, buttery crossaints served at breakfast).
Another building on property is a house called The Fruitier, which was built in 1850 to accommodate 6 additional bedrooms. This building offers a bit more of a contemporary atmosphere than the main house and is perfect for families or groups of friends to rent out. There is also a quaint log cabin that can sleep up to 4 for guests if you’re hoping to have a more cozy, simplistic stay.
On site you can also enjoy the beautiful pool or tennis court, borrow bikes, walk through the 50 hectare park, stroll through the gardens or simply sit and enjoy a glass of wine from a variety of scenic views.
I absolutely fell in love with this place and I definitely plan to return someday. The tranquil environment made worries from the outside world seem to dissipate while we were there. But my favorite bit was how we instantly felt like part of the family. I love connecting with people around the world while traveling and being in a position where you really get to know someone from an entirely different culture than you, and we certainly experienced that here. I highly recommend tagging this onto a trip you plan to Paris or Normandy-- it's super close and offers an unforgettable experience that's truly unique!
Questions about Château Des Briottières (or France in general) that I didn't answer? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great Labor Day weekend and stay tuned for a life update I'm excited to share next week.