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France Bucket List #4 Stay in a French Château!
Is sleeping on a French château on your France bucket list??
Last October I had the chance of sleeping in a real French castle-hotel, Château de Villiers-Le-Mahieu. I was there on a seminar with my co-workers and we had to work a little bit, but working in a French château surrounded by a beautiful park is definitely another thing!
Château de Villiers-Le-Mahieu is a 4-star hotel château near Paris, at only 40 km west of the capital. Château de Villiers-Le-Mahieu is the perfect stay for a romantic getaway with your partner, or just for a tranquil break from the hustle and bustle of the city. This French château hotel is also popular among companies, who use it for receptions, meetings or seminars.
From Medieval Fortress to Luxury Castle Hotel in France
What is a Château? In France, a château is a large country house and estate, usually built for lords, or nobility. In France, we use the word château for rural residences and palais (palace) for urban residences.
Château de Villiers was built during the XIII century as a fortress, so we are talking about a château hotel more than eight hundred years old! The moats that surround the château are original from that first 13th-century castle. The medieval moated castle had a plan typical of high medieval castles in Western Europe. It was an approximately square structure with a total of nine round towers: four towers at the corners, and on three fronts, one tower more in between. The entrance side, instead, had a double-towered portal and it was accessible through a bridge.
Over the centuries, its different owners restored it and renovated it following the architectural trends of their time. In 1642 the Marquis of Attily built the present Renaissance-style structure on the remains of the original and under his stewardship it gained the status of a château.
It was the Count Charles de Rohan Chabot, in 1965, who undertook extensive restoration works and resulted in the Château that we see today. The Château changed hands again recently and the new owners did a great job, turning this lovely château in a unique 4-star castle accommodation.
Since 1964, le Château de Villiers-Le-Mahieu is listed as a historical monument by the French Ministry of Culture.
Château de Villiers-Le-Mahieu: the Estate
Hotel Château de Villiers is located in a unique setting in the Paris countryside. The estate consists of the main building (the Château) plus 3 other pavilions (la Fresnaye, the Spa, and la Bellangerie) surrounded by 21 Ha of a beautiful park-forest. Guests have free bikes at their disposal to go from one pavilion to another one or just to ride around the park for fun. Biking around the Château was one of my favorite activities in this estate and despite I was there for the seminar I used any possible excuse (oh, I forgot my glasses in the room) to take a short ride!
Le Château is the historical part of the castle hotel and the beating heart of the estate. On the first floor, there are 26 rooms, each decorated with its own style, while on the ground floor there is the reception, the access to the main terrace and some rooms used for different purposes. When we arrived at the castle, the weather was not great so we appreciated the drinks by the impressive fireplace with a crackling fire in the billiard room.
La Fresnaye is a 2-floor pavilion decorated in colonial style. It has rooms, a lounge bar, and a restaurant. From the restaurant, guests have access to a beautiful outdoor terrace, which must be a great place for a drink on sunny days. My room was located at la Fresnaye, on the first floor, and it was spacious, comfortable and with a contemporary design.
La Bellangerie is another charming annex with modern décor. The two-floor building has 9 rooms on the first floor and two reception rooms on the ground floor. La Bellangerie is the perfect choice for private, more intimate events.
Between la Bellangerie and La Fresnaye there is the Nuxe Spa, exclusively for guests of the Château. In the Nuxe Spa guests can enjoy the modern gym, the sauna and the beautiful indoor swimming pool, all bathed in natural light and with infinite views over the forest. Some treatments like massages are available under request.
Apart from the indoor facilities, guests can enjoy a wide choice of outdoor activities like the open-air heated swimming pool (from May to September), a golf practice range (the Golf National is only a few km from the Château), 2 tennis courts, ping pong, or pétanque. It is also possible to sail around the moat on a little boat! I also loved how they have arranged intimate terraces, patios or just small corners in the middle of the forest.
Rooms are an important part of any stay in a castle. All the rooms in Château de Villiers are spacious and with the bathroom ensuite. Depending on where are you staying (Château, Fresnaye or Bellangerie) the room has a different style and decoration but they are all very charming. My room was at la Fresnaye and I was very happy with its comfy bed and all the beauty products by Fragonard, one of my favorite French brands. The room had nice views over the park, with a cozy armchair placed by the window, and it was a great feeling to sleep surrounded by so much green.
One of my colleagues showed me her room, which was located in one of the turrets in the Château, with views over the moat, and it was also a charming place to sleep. All the rooms come with a TV, safe, welcome tea + coffee platter, hairdryer, WI-fi, telephone, and iPhone docking station. If you have the budget, go for the “royale rooms”, in the heart of the castle.
If you want to get the most of your château hotel in France, you cannot miss the gourmet meals proposed by the château. In Château de Villiers the restaurant is located at la Fresnaye but if the weather is nice, you also have the option to eat in one of the sunny terraces.
The dishes were light but sophisticated, with fresh and seasonal products and an excellent choice of wines. Because we were a big group in a seminar, we had a buffet menu but of course, you can also eat “à la carte”, with meat dishes, fish dishes, and also vegetarian dishes. Between the different workshops and meetings, the owners pampered us with cakes, viennoiseries, healthy juices, and hot beverages. Believe it or not, the cake here below is all about fruits, the “biscuit” is made of watermelon!
Don’t miss their top breakfast (7 am to 110:30 am, with anything you can imagine sweet or salty. The hot crêpes with Nutella or your favorite ham were awesome and a great way to kick off my day in the castle.
How to reach Château de Villiers-Le-Mahieu from Paris
This cute small town near Paris is located 52 km west of the capital. The best way to reach Villiers-le-Mahieu is by car, it is only a 43 min drive. If you don’t have your own car but still you don’t want to renounce to your chateau holidays in France, Welcome proposes private transportation from Paris Airports or from Paris city to Villiers-Le-Mahieu. Your French accent is not good? No problem! Welcome’s English-speaking, professional drivers will pick you up where you choose and will take you to your château accommodation in style and at the best available price.
I had such an incredible time in Château de Villiers-le Mahieu, this is definitely one of the best chateau hotels in France and I can wholeheartedly recommend this French château hotel for a romantic getaway, a romantic special occasion like Valentines Day, or an anniversary. Also, you can choose the castle hotel as a base for visiting the Paris countryside or just for a couple of days of relaxing. If you’d like to find out more or to book your room at the château, it’s just here below
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