It’s hard to believe, but in France, head-turning châteaux are everywhere you look. Historically manor homes of lords and other nobility, they can be found all throughout the French countryside, and many have been converted into gorgeous places to escape for a weekend (or more!). Read on for five of our favorite French châteaux to follow on Instagram.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE MAGAZINE
The French Table
Jane Webster of The French Table is a curator of “chateau life immersion.” Located in the heart of Normandy, her Château Life Residency program offers the unique opportunity of one to six month stays to fully experience authentic French château living at length. On her gorgeous grounds, you can relax, learn French, paint, write, take a cooking class, shop the local markets, do ballet, golf, visit nearby gardens, museums and restaurants and much, much more. You’ll have full access to all parts of the grand château, including the kitchen and laundry room, and there is a petit-dejeuner each morning, a tea time every afternoon and an aperitif in the evenings. What more could you want?
Restore The Château
When Julie Berry came across a run-down chateau in Cognac, southwest France, it was love at first sight. After making the purchase — which she refers to as an “educated risk” — she began the journey of restoring, designing and transforming it into a luxury venue. The renovations were (and still are) extensive — the central roof was removed to allow access to the towers, a triple stack chimney was pulled out through four floors, a cellar was dug out and the magnificent spiral staircase at the heart of the home was extended. They also created luxury spaces that didn’t previously exist, such as a cinema room, a “tasting library,” a pool changing room and a wine cellar. Julie and her family currently reside there and hope to open the property to guests very soon. Be sure to hit “follow” to track their progress!
Chateau de Bourneau
What fairytales are made of! You may have seen this Renaissance-style French château (which features turrets and an actual moat!) on the popular television series “ESCAPE TO THE CHÂTEAU: DIY.”
Anglo-Franco couple Erin and Jean-Baptiste always had a respect and love for old homes and French heritage, so it was a dream when they found a truly breathtaking château for sale nestled in a private park in the charming Vendéen countryside. The couple immediately set about transforming the original outhouses into four large holiday cottages — each with its own private garden and swimming pool — which together can sleep up to 44. A popular wedding venue, the château also offers retreats for floristry, artistry and more.
(You can also follow the château’s “behind the scenes” at @theintrepidchatelaine!)
In 2019, British-born Anna — who has a background in luxury fashion — and her husband, Philipp — an Italian filmmaker — traded their life in Paris for a charming 18th-century French château in Gonneville-sur-Honfleur. The couple and their two young daughters quickly turned the property into the luxury bed & breakfast it is today, creating a beautiful, calming destination where both new and repeat guests are treated like old friends. There are three grand rooms — “The Green Room,” “The Pink Room” and the “The Blue Room” — which are decorated respectively as such. The family is currently in the process of opening the doors to the guest house, which they call “Le Fleur.” The property is close to some of Normandy’s most famous sites (such as the D-Day landing beaches), and all stays start you off right with a delicious, homemade and locally-sourced breakfast. You can follow their made-to-measure renovation on Instagram, @le_fleur_honfleur.
The French Manoir
The French Manoir is an elegant, “petite” French château nestled in the picturesque village of Chevaigné-du-Maine in the countryside of Pays de la Loire. It was also the cover star of My French Country Home Magazine‘s March/April 20 issue (purchase the digital version to read the full feature!). The beautiful home, which was lovingly restored by Julie Huh, comfortably accommodates six and features a living room, a library, a kitchen, a laundry room, a dining room and a garden to use as you please. Experience authentic château living for yourself! The property is available to rent for vacations and photoshoots, and you can even host your own small event or workshop there. Follow Julie on Instagram for a look inside her own château life.