The Bottom Line
Live like royalty at this château which has been converted into a very upmarket hotel. The rooms are beautifully decorated, and the 150-acre grounds are ideal for walking. The restaurant has excellent, memorable cuisine.
- Luxurious accommodation
- Great dining
- Lovely grounds for walking
- A unique experience
- Perfect honeymoon accommodation
- Not in a city
- Not near public transportation
- A car or taxi is really needed
- It has had some bad reviews since being bought in 2015
Guide Review - Château d'Esclimont Review
A stay at the Château d'Esclimont is exactly like taking a step back in time to the days royalty romped around the Loire Valley. The hotel, about an hour from Paris, offers a luxurious oasis and is a favourite with Parisians. It was originally built in 1543 then changed hands many times, landing up with François de la Rochefoucauld in 1807 whose motto, carved at the entrance, pretty well sums it up: “C’est mon plaisir” (“This is my pleasure”). It remained in the same family until 1981.
On a small country road, you sweep past the gates into a grand avenue leading up to the château. It might be a cliche, but this is fairy tale stuff. The lovely warm stone building has enough turrets and towers, Renaissance windows and sculptures to seduce the most cynical, all reflected in the calm waters of the lake. Oh, and there's a moat as well.
It's set in 150 acres of parkland with lakes and forests to wander through both during the day and when the sun has set and the château is lit up.
Rooms are divided into different categories: Classic, Traditional, Superior and Deluxe plus Junior and Exclusive Suites. If you can, pick the best. They are located in four different places: the Tour des Gardes, the Pavillon des Trophées, the Trianon and the Château with views onto the gardens and the courtyards. Rooms are traditionally decorated with antique furniture but with all the modern touches.
La Rochefoucauld restaurant serves classic French food with a modern twist and the chef likes to incorporate some exotic touches. You must book and it is quite formal, so you have to dress accordingly.
Starter at 28 euros range from foie gras to sea scallops with beetroot and passion fruit; main dishes from 32 to 42 euros might include fillet and leg of venison with cranberries, red cabbage and chocolate sauce, and lobster with leeks, potatoes and a green tea touch. Go for the classic ile flottante with caramel and a vanilla foam or mango tart with milky sauce and coconut ice cream.
For a more intimate dinner, try the Tour Cordoue lounge, with its deep red furnishings and view.
There are three lounges looking out to the park for afternoon tea or early evening cocktails.
There are two tennis courts in the grounds as well as a heated swimming pool. You can take bicycles and explore the woods and try canoeing. There's a golf course nearby.
The château is 50 km southwest of Paris. If you're driving from central Paris take the A10/A11 towards Chartres; the journey time is around 50 minutes. From Charles de Gaulle airport (north east of Paris), the journey time is around 1 hour 20 minutes.
What to see nearby
Chartres with its superb cathedral boasting some of the most beautiful stained glass in Europe, is a short drive away.
If you're coming from Paris, you might stop at Versailles, one of the great palaces of Europe. One of France's most impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it now has a very chic and upmarket shopping area called the Cour des Senteurs with names like Diptyque and Guerlain.
From here, it's a short hope down to Orleans and the Loire Valley with its impressive châteaux that border the river. If you're a garden lover, there are plenty of green delights in this part of the Loire Valley to visit.
Tel.: 00 33 (0)2 37 31 15 15
Prices: from 160 euros per room per night to around 590 euros
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