15 Jan Best deal to stay at French Chateau
For less than $200 a night, staying at these dreamlike castles in France is not a dream. Partnering with Booking.com, today I’m sharing my experiences staying at these beautiful French chateaus in Loire Valley, tips on where you should base to get the most of the region and where you should book these one of a kind accommodations online. I will also share a $40 off (USD $30) discount code on Booking.com for your next stay anywhere in the world! Make sure you check it out.
Loire Valley is best known for the famous chateaus like Chateau de Chambord and Chateau de Chenonceau. The region offers rich landscape, abundant wineries and beautiful countryside scenery with easy commute from Paris, hence it is such a popular destination for tourists to do day trips from Paris. Most tourists would choose to take TGV train from Gare Montparnasse to Tours or St Pierre de Crops, the ride will take a little over an hour. I suggest to get off at St Pierre de Crops where you can pick up rental cars conveniently at the station. The ticket also costs a lot less if you choose this station instead of Tours city centre.
The main chateaus are scattered throughout the region so I decided to base in 2 different chateaus to get a more diverse experience.
Château des Arpentis
We have spent the first 2 nights in Chateau des Arpentis, a stunning castle built in 12th century with impeccable lake view and surroundings. I read that King of France actually visited here back in the 17th century.
It locates close to Amboise which is a lovely historical town situates in the middle of the region, makes it easy to commute to all main attractions nearby. In my opinion, Amboise is the most central area to base in Loire Valley, it takes around 20 mins drive to Chenonceau, 1 hour to Chambord and 30 mins to Tours.
Although the Chateau is huge but the living room and breakfast area are well designed to make you feel cozy. We have stayed in their charming bedroom which is supposed to be the smallest one, it’s still very spacious and comfortable. I feel like the property itself is almost an attraction for us to explore, especially the hallway with the antlers collection and the traditional French kitchen. My favourite part of the property is the medieval style living room with a beautifully decorated wood burning fireplace. I wish the staff would turn it on for us during our stay but we couldn’t spot anyone around to help us doing so. It’s great that we almost had the whole castle to ourselves but sometimes we were confused about where to find amenities or when we needed suggestion about the surrounding area, the front desk area was always empty that we couldn’t easily reach out and ask. Also given the property is huge, the staff didn’t give us a tour or give us additional information about the castle.
We had the continental breakfast on the first day. It includes coffee, juice, a basket of pastries, some cold cut meats, yogurt and fresh fruits. For 12€ per person, it’s good but a bit too simple for our preference. We don’t have option to customize the egg as there’s no restaurant facility. So we only had breakfast on first day and looked for something else the next day in Amboise.
We really love the stunning property with the lush grounds. It’s one of the most beautiful accommodations we have ever stayed with such reasonable room rate (around CAD $200 USD $150 per night in December 2018), just hope that the owners can pay more attention to details and run this property more like a hotel than B&B.
Overall I’ll rate this Chateau des Arpentis 8/10.
- Prime location for sightseeing
- Stunning building and beautiful grounds
- Spacious rooms
- Pool and utility room facilities
- Lack of restaurant facility
- Amenities like wine glasses and kettle missing in room
- Thin blanket and pillows
Domaine de la Tortinière
Next we went further east and stayed at Domaine de la Tortiniere in Montbazon. The location is perfect for those who come straight from Paris for a short stay or don’t bother rent a car. It’s only 20mins away from the train station that you can take an Uber to the hotel. Comparing to Chateau de Arpentis, this building is much smaller in scale and some rooms are actually located in the coach house but not in the main building. If you would like to stay within the main building, you can simply add a note on the booking and they will respond you very quickly to accommodate your request. Although it’s relatively small, but we know it’s a luxury hotel once we checked in. Just look at this chic lounge area! The interiors has been updated with contemporary finishes but still able to keep the traditional elements. There were also plenty of friendly staff around, all very helpful to give us great information about the history of region, amenities of the hotel and suggestions about where we could explore.
We were brought to our upgraded suite for the next 3 nights, I just couldn’t be more happy when the door opened. The living area was very spacious with a separate bedroom tucked at the corner, tastefully decorated with pastel coloured wallpaper. Brilliant was the first description I had in mind. I also love the big windows that brought in so much natural light and the view overlooking the Indre river was simply soothing. There’s also a bottle of welcome drink made local ingredients placed right on the fireplace mantel, I think it’s such a lovely touch and made such a warm welcome.
We also had dinner at the chateau restaurant and it simply didn’t disappoint. We both had the 3 course menu for around 56€ and the food was amazing! Everything was fresh and well executed. The menu is not big but quite flexible that we could choose an appetizer, a main course, cheese course or dessert from the a la carte menu, so we both can try different things. The Langoustine, Escargots and Pigeon were absolutely flavourful and delicious. Veal was slightly overcooked but overall it’s still quite good. I like that the chef didn’t over complicate the dishes, the flavours and textures were well balanced. The highlight of the night was the dessert Grand Marnier souffle, by far the best souffle I ever had. The Grand Marnier was already baked in the batter so it didn’t serve with extra sauce, still I could clearly taste the flavour from the liqueur. The texture was perfect as if I was eating cloud with a hint of citrus. It’s so good that we decided to come back the next day just for dessert! Overall the food quality was solid and well worth the value. I highly recommend that you book a dinner at the chateau restaurant.
On the other hand, we also had continental buffet breakfast which I think you don’t necessarily need to pay extra unless the package already included. I understand breakfast in a hotel is often priced high, but for 22€ per person I would expect a little more. The selection was decent and everything was made fresh, but in my opinion it’s slightly overpriced for what we paid, especially when we had very similar hotel breakfasts in Paris which costs only 1/2. Interestingly if you want to sleep in and have breakfast in bed, a full continental breakfast is only 3 euros more (25€) to serve in room which I think it’s somewhat reasonable in a luxury hotel.
Overall our stay at Domaine de la Tortiniere was fabulous, it actually went beyond our high expectation! The property itself, staff and service are just top notch. I forgot to mention the bed was so comfortable that I had much better sleep in this hotel than the previous one. The charm double room rate starts at CAD $150 (USD $115) before discount (book here) and you get to enjoy all the amenities and restaurant facilities in a luxury boutique property, I think it’s such a great value!
Overall I’ll rate Domaine de la Tortiniere 9.5/10
- Beautiful building with updated interiors
- Great restaurant facility
- Easy travel from Paris
- Top notch service
- Not all rooms are in the main building
We found and booked both hotels on Booking.com before they approached me to write this review. I was really happy to partner with them as I have been using the site to book hotels for many years. It just saves me so much time to narrow down to the right accommodations that suit my travel preferences. Not only it listed all accommodations (hotels & apartments) with reviews by great filters available, their cancellation and change policy is also excellent and usually no need to prepay anything upfront, even for these unique chateaus above. Since I’m a loyal customer, my status has been upgraded to Genius member (frequent traveller), that gives me perks like late check out and 10% off on eligible accommodations. So when they told me about this opportunity to feature my hotel picks, I feel this is a perfect match and I can tell you all my honest opinions about it.
Disclaimer: Thank you Booking.com for sponsoring our stay. Although the post is sponsored, I got to pick hotels for review and select activities to do on our own. The view and opinions expressed on this blog post are purely my own authentic experience at the properties.