If you’ve ever looked into renting a property in Dordogne, France, you’ve probably seen the term “chateau” crop up again and again. But what is a chateau and why is it considered the crème de la crème of French property?
What is a Chateau?
When translated to English, a chateau is often associated with a castle. Which can be true, some chateaus are very similar to castles. However, more often than not, chateaus are more similar to a large manor or country house. These chateaus are usually linked to noble heritage, with the prestigious families building these beautiful houses hundreds of years ago, usually picking highly opulent designs and architecture.
In Dordogne, it’s thought there is around 1001 of these castles and chateaus. Of course, many of these are nothing but ruins now, but there are still plenty of the houses open to the public. In fact, you can even rent your own chateau! And fear not, these chateaus won’t break the bank. You can get excellent deals on the likes of Airbnb or HomeAway renting a chateau for as little as one night.
Here are six of the best available:
If luxury is what you’re after, then you’ll get little more luxurious than the spectacular La Maison des Sarrasins, a clifftop chateau overlooking the Dordogne valley. Built in the 18th century, this chateau has 7 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms as well as extra rooms in the guest house, meaning it sleeps around 20 people overall. Recently renovated, the house is filled modern amenities, featured within the charming period décor, as well as 27m heated pool. Animals are allowed at an extra cost and the rental even comes with your own housekeeper.
This designer furnished 17th century chateau was voted one of the Guardian’s top 50 villas to visit back in 2015, and it’s little wonder why. Incredibly luxurious, your rental will give you access to the full house with your own housekeeper and satellite TV for a rainy day. The house is situated just 30 minutes away from local Michelin-starred restaurants or you can even arrange catering within the house for an extra cost.
3: Maison Grise
If you’re looking for your own chateau, but on a smaller scale, then Masion Grise could be your perfect rental. This four-bedroomed ‘petite chateau’, is just a short distance from well-loved tourist attractions such as Beynac and Castelnaud, and the medieval village of Sarlat as well as being close to two large rivers, which are perfect for canoeing. Or you can stay at home enjoying the rental’s pool and tennis facilities. The house itself is very eye-catching and with its own tower, you’ll feel like you’re staying in your own little castle!
The Château de Pile can either be rented by the room or you can rent the entire house, making it perfect for those who want to experience a chateau stay but without the price of a full house rental. This 19th century build has five double rooms, WiFi throughout, a games room and terrace. The house itself is a short distance from the medieval town of Eymet, which has lots of markets, pubs and restaurants to enjoy. It’s also just 25 minutes away from Bergerac.
Built in 1904, this renovated manor has five en-suite bedrooms with accommodation for 10 people; there is also Wi-Fi throughout. To the front of the manor is a large pool, specific children’s pool and jacuzzi, while to the rear there is a beautiful orchard including apple, pear and walnut trees. Situated close to the Black Perigold, you’ll be able to explore the region’s most famous castles including Beynac, Losse and Castelnaud.
This private 4-bedroom manor house is a slice of luxury chateau life situated in a small French hamlet. With four bedrooms all with traditional décor, this 16th century manor sleeps up to eight people and is animal friendly for those who like to holiday with their dogs. The house has a minimum stay of six nights and is just a short drive away from other villages making it quiet but not too remote. Local activities include cross country biking, caves and canoeing.