When it comes to wanderlust, what could be more epic or luxurious than staying in your own château in France. Fit for a king and queen, these historical landmark castles, manor houses, and estates once home to French nobility, date back centuries and promise a truly regal experience, in some of France’s most idyllic countryside, vineyard, and riviera settings.
Saint James Paris
In the City of Light’s chic, artsy, 16th arrondissement this 19th-century neoclassical residence, built on the original site of Paris’ first airfield, is the only chateau-style hotel in Paris. Lavishly redesigned by renowned Parisian interior designer, Bambi Sloan, the bourgeois Saint James Paris is set on expansive grounds with a private garden and is home to a Maison Guerlain spa, Turkish Hamam, The Terrace, an elevated French restaurant, and The Library Bar. Although a stay at this 49 room estate and chateau evokes the sense you’re a million miles away, it’s in fact an easy stroll to The Champs Elysées, L’Arc de Triomphe, Palais des Congrès, Museum of Modern Art, Louis Vuitton Foundation, and the high-end boutiques that line Avenue Victor Hugo.
Michel Trama, Puymirol, Lot-Et-Garonne
Meanwhile in a quaint village in the south of France, prepare to be stunned by the deep sense of history, baroque architecture, and style, the valley of sunflowers and wheat fields, and gastronomy that awaits at this 13th-century country house. The original residence of the Count of Toulouse, the 10 room Michel Trama boutique hotel and estate (some with terraces) has a charming, cozy old-world vibe with preserved wooden beams, original fireplaces, spectacular chandeliers, ancient statues, antique rugs, velvet armchairs, and lavish 18th-century furniture. Owned since 1978 by award-winning chef Michel Trama, the jewel in the crown is the onsite 2-star Michelin restaurant, helmed by Trama who offers an immersive experience into the culinary delights of the top chefs in France. Be sure to indulge in his signature classics like Perigord black truffles, Petrossian caviar, Blue Brittain lobster, Valrhona chocolate, the secrets of which he will gladly share when you sign up for one of his cooking classes.
Château De Bagnols Hotel and Spa Bagnols
Built over several centuries, in the heart of the Beaujolais region, Château de Bagnols, a honey-hued boutique chateaux-hotel complete with moat and drawbridge is a place you’d be happy to have someone lock you up in and throw away the key). Standing stoically amid the beautiful vineyards, there are 21 luxury rooms and suites all decorated in 17th-century frescoed grandeur. Spend your days lazing by the pool, sampling the gastronomy and fruits of the famed wine region at the Michelin star Salle des Gardes restaurant or retreat to the Royal Relaxing spa, to indulge in a hot stone massage or the Hamam; a detox ritual, where you’re heated, scrubbed, wrapped in algae mud and pampering in rejuvenating body oil.
Tiara Yaktsa Théoule-Sur-Mer (Above the Cornishe D’or)
Overlooking the sparkling blue Mediterranean sea and designed with north African influences, you may think you’re in Marrakech and not in a secluded oasis nestled between St Tropez and Cannes at Tiara Yaktsa. This gem on the magnificent French Riviera has perfectly manicured Mediterranean gardens, an infinity pool, dazzling panorama views, and rooms adorned in fine silk, fabrics, and artworks that will leave you dreaming of Arabian nights. At the helm of L’Or Bleu, the hotel’s coveted restaurant is Executive Chef, Guillaume Anor, transplanted from the famed Eden Roc Hotel located in Cap d’Antibes nearby, so an unforgettable gastronomy experience is assured. A short stroll from the hotel you’ll also find Tiara Spa at Tiara Miramar Beach Hotel where you luxuriate in Sothys exclusive signature body products or soak up the sun on a private beach.
Château Cordeillan-Bages Pauillac
Wine aficionados will be in heaven at this 17th century chartreuse (charterhouse) in The Medoc region, within strolling distance to the village of Bages, where wine, history, and culture collide. Exuding timeless French calm, the 28 room Château Cordeillan-Bages has terraces surrounding pine trees and verbena shrubs, a 25-meter heated outdoor pool, residences lounges, library, fitness room, and sauna. Home to a head-spinning collection of over 1500 fine wines, the cellar’s adjacent tasting room connects out to a garden terrace where you can dine while overlooking the vineyards and the turrets where their famed wine is produced. Fun fact: you can arrange to land in the vineyards of Château Cordeillan-Bages by helicopter if that’s how you like to roll.
Château De La Treyne Lacave
Located on the Dordogne River surrounded by 300 acres of private forest, gardens, and trails, Château De La Treyne is a 14th-century castle that inspires a sense of childlike wonder with its ancient stone stairwells, grandiose chandeliers, ornate fireplaces, and a glorious outdoor dining terrace. Enjoy stunning views of the Dordogne from your four-poster bed at this historical masterpiece, while you dream of the soft-boiled oeuf a la coque that awaits you for breakfast. Later, immerse yourself in your surroundings with water-skiing, paragliding, and kayaking on the river, laze by the pool with a vino or book a hot air balloon ride to marvel a the French countryside. Come evening enjoy a candlelit dinner in the Louis XIII dining room and Michelin starred cuisine by Chef Stéphane Andrieux.
Château De Courtomer, Normandy
Inspired by the Palace of Versailles, palatial style and grandeur are naturally yours to enjoy at Château de Courtomer, set on 350-acres in the romantic green hills and valleys of Normandy in western France, just two hours’ drive from Paris. Once the seat of a powerful family of Norman noblemen from the 11th, the château, which has a charming Orangerie on the grounds, caught the eye of American Elizabeth Bonner, a lover of French art and architecture who bought the 18th-century château (listed on the French National Registry) in 2005 and restored it to its former glory. Like something out of a fairy tale, the château has a grand dining room, sitting room, cozy library with historical gilt spined tomes, and majestic staircase that leads to the 25 Marie Antoinette-esque guest rooms all with private ensuites, plush curtains, and regal touches.
Le Petit Nice Marseille
This intimate seaside luxury hotel and restaurant on the banks of the Mediterranean in Marseille blends the calm and tranquility of Provence-Alps with the oceanfront beauty and glamour of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in France. Owned by French chef Gerald Passedat, the one-hundred-year-old Le Petit Nice honors the past while transporting you firmly into the present through its minimalistic modern design style, the work of architect Rudy Ricciotti, and world-class dining. The bright breezy seaside restaurant specializes in fresh-caught ‘sea to table’, offering 65 varieties of Mediterranean fish and bouillabaisse, an extraordinary range even for a legendary port town. Sea views also abound, from the terrace, the saltwater pool, and all of the 16 spacious guest rooms.
Château De La Chévre D’or Eze
In the Medieval cliffside village of Eze (first populated around 2000 BC), lies Château de la Chevres D’or another Mediterranean treasure that’s so close to Nice it was initially part of the Principality of Monaco. Offering panoramic views of the Côte d’Azur and surrounding hillside this historic chateau-hotel is also a nature-lovers paradise with lush gardens sculptures, fountains, and waterfalls and perfumed with the scents of jasmine, bougainvillea, and rose. Chevre D’or (which incidentally means the golden goat), has four restaurants so you can choose your culinary adventure from French gourmet and fresh ocean-inspired Mediterranean, as well as an outdoor jacuzzi and saltwater pool where you can indulge in an Indian massage. Unless you prefer the thrill of a heli-tour to Cannes, St. Tropez, and Portofino, Italy.
Château D’Audrieu Calvados, Normandy
Château D’Audrieu dates back to the 11th century and William the Conqueror, when it was the residence of Lord Percy, believed to be William’s personal chef. Just over two hours from Paris in the Normandy countryside (near the beaches of the D-D landings) the chateau, listed as a Historical Monument, stands majestically inside a magnificent 50-acre park surrounded by 12 acres of landscaped flower gardens and with alleyways of tri-centennial English trees. When you’ve stopped to smell the roses, indulge at the onsite spa with signature Sothys treatments, and then enjoy dinner at Le Seran restaurant run by veteran chef Olivier Barbarin, who uses fresh seasonal products from his zip code-sized garden.