10 affordable (and beautiful) French chateau stays

·8-min read
 (Chateau de Mazan )
(Chateau de Mazan )

It goes without saying that France’s bucolic countryside is best viewed from the 18th-century shuttered windows of a grand chateau.

These elegant piles can whisper tales of lavish parties and sun-king splendour, be surrounded by acres of vineyards and rolling parkland, or embrace the bohemian spirit, with chipped shutters and ivy-smothered statues.

Whether cruising up their long, tree-lined drives for a fabled foodie experience or simply channelling Louis XIV in a flamboyant four-poster, a weekend in a French chateaux is the best way to peer into France’s noble soul. And thankfully, room rates are often not as sweeping as the Renaissance ceilings – some may pleasantly surprise you.

Here are 10 affordable French chateaux stays to book for a summer sojourn.

 (Chateau de Mazan)
(Chateau de Mazan)

Chateau de Mazan

This perfectly symmetrical, blue-windowed beauty evokes the southern, light-flooded style of chateau and lifestyle Christian Dior grew up in. The pomp and family-portrait pageantry usually dressing a Marquis’ ancestral home are distinctly absent at Chateau de Mazan. Instead, a tasteful story of soft grandeur unfolds through light-filled corridors, white-washed rooms with creamy curtains and past trickling fountains. Modern, neutral-hued furniture is scattered across terracotta tiles and glasses of rosé in the walled gardens, cocooned from the surrounding village of Mazan, twinkle in the Provencal sunlight. Menus and cycling routes are abiding reminders of the wine country location, while any overspill from this pastel chateau is mopped up in the equally fresh and charming La Maison townhouse just opposite.

Rooms from £137; chateaudemazan.com/en

 (Chateau St Victor La Coste)
(Chateau St Victor La Coste)

Chateau St Victor La Coste, Cote du Rhone

On the edge of an unspoilt, time-warp village and surrounded by Cote du Rhone vines and dense woodland, Chateau St Victor La Coste is the antithesis of Cote d’Azur glamour. Its weathered, stone walls and blue-painted windows peer out over a sun-dappled courtyard dominated by a crumbling column-framed pool. The scent of hortensia and jasmine hangs in the warm air and birds sing diligently into long afternoons. Three cottages alongside the chateau are tastefully dressed in a mix of linen, velvet curtains and mustard walls for aesthetes to relish. Stencilled by Muntin windows, that fabled South of France sunlight dances in squares on terracotta stone and lures guests out for cool morning strolls into the village.

Cottages from £150; chateau-st-victor-la-coste.com/the-cottages

 (Chateau de la Cote)
(Chateau de la Cote)

Chateau de la Cote, Perigord

In the very heart of the ‘Perigord Vert’, deep in the Dordogne, three-star Hotel Châtaeu de la Cote has been gently enticed into modernity while preserving its fifteenth century character. Its towers and turrets appear to have sprung from a Brothers Grimm, along with its views of rolling woodland and lovely landscaped gardens. Traditional, floral wallpapered rooms, a few with original beams, some with chandeliers, paint a homely, bourgeois scene – more refined rural escape than jewel-box chateau. The swimming pool appears lost in soft green countryside, 19-acres of parkland calls for long afternoon strolls and hot air balloons are even available upon request.

Doubles from £73; chateau-hotel-dordogne.com

 (Chateau de la Bourlie)
(Chateau de la Bourlie)

Chateau de la Bourlie, Perigord Noir

Cyril de Commarque and Ortensia Visconti transformed this Perigord Noir ancestral pile into a modern art-lover’s labyrinth with off-beat elegance at its core. The chateau’s fortified exterior still harks back to pre-revolutionary France, where smooth round turrets and pointed roofs crowned spectacular parkland, but inside the rooms have been thrust into the 21st century with bold, maximalist strides. Visconti’s family heirlooms back onto blue and neon walls, brutalist green sun loungers line up neatly alongside the pool and a vaulted, 14th century room hosts a lacquered futuristic turquoise bed. Visitors can snooze under Les Bories’ grand canopy bed, or club together for Le Pressoir, a calmer, more bohemian, white-washed old walnut oil mill. Those on a tighter budget can still immerse themselves in this trippy, chateau splendour then bed down in canvas tents with thick duvets for £80, before sauntering to the local town, Urval, for warm croissants at sunrise.

Doubles in Les Bories from £170; chateaudelabourlie.com

 (Chateau de la Balue)
(Chateau de la Balue)

Chateau de la Balue, Saint Malo

Somewhere between the fairytale walled city of Saint Malo in Brittany and Mont Saint Michel, and Brittany and Normandy lies a splendid bastion of 17th century France. Wrapped in gardens of fantastical topiary which frame the rolling hills and forests in the distance, Château de la Balue epitomises flamboyant French elegance, with a guest book to rival most royal palaces. Breakfasts are a silver sprawl of pastries, artisanal jams, farm cheeses and crepes along white table cloths and rooms hark back to an age of unfettered excess, of heavy curtains, busy wallpaper and sumptuous bed canopies. The pool is more suggestive of the South of France than Normandy in style – its glassy, azure water reflecting the majestic cedar trees flanking it – while wood-panelled rooms with elaborate cornicing and marble fireplaces are a princely setting for digestifs.

Doubles from: £220; la-ballue.com

 (Chateau Le Mas de Montet)
(Chateau Le Mas de Montet)

Chateau Le Mas de Montet, Dordogne

Deep in the heart of the Dordogne, Chateau Le Mas de Montet rises from a green flush of lawns and linden trees; its steep, sloping grey roofs and spiralled turrets typical of the region’s architecture. Gargoyles fix their menacing gaze on the large pool, which lies alongside the chateau’s faded, ivy-clad walls and can easily engulf an afternoon. Inside, interiors seize on a narrative of bygone splendour, with sweeping ceilings, Rococo furniture and ancestral portraits. While ten rooms continue this theme, a sense of home comfort is keenly felt amongst the four-poster beds, dramatic floral curtains and crisp Egyptian cotton sheets. Breakfast here is a farm-to-fork affair of delicious cheeses, fresh pastries and seasonal fruits, while lunch and supper are best enjoyed in the nearby hamlet of Petit-Bersac.

Doubles from £109; lemasdemontet.com

 (Chateau les Oliviers de Salettes)
(Chateau les Oliviers de Salettes)

Chateau les Oliviers de Salettes, Drôme Provençale

Owners Robin and Dominique spent three years salvaging this blush-pink roofed jewel from decay, swapping its dusty French fancy for a pared down, stylish ode to its previous life. Long curtains framing sweeping windows are calming and subdued, a vaulted cellar greets serious foodies in the restaurant and uncluttered attic rooms retain their original beam character. The chateau’s spectacular panoramic views from rooms and the pool stretch across parkland and the surrounding Drome Provence region until the Alps rise like a majestic haze in the distance. Those averse to languid afternoons will relish the dizzying list of activities available here, from cookery lessons and wine tasting to riding and paragliding, while the budget-conscious will be grateful for the menu-du-midi lunch offer.

Doubles from £123; chateau-lesoliviers.com

 (Romain Ricard)
(Romain Ricard)

Château Troplong Mondot, Bordeaux

One for the eco-conscious wine lovers and bon viveurs, Château Troplong Mondot is ensconced in meticulously groomed vines, as befitting its Saint Emilion location. The Premier Cru Classé estate may have been producing wine since the 19th century, but its sustainable practices are truly pioneering. These eco-efforts spill into the kitchen at Les Belles Perdrix, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant which recently snatched a Green Star for sustainable practice. Having sampled the wine, visitors can hole up in The Keys of Troplong Mondot, the estate’s handsome country house-turned-boutique hotel which peers over pretty Saint Emilion from its hilltop setting. While it may not be as affordable as other chateau stays on this list, it’s one of the only Premier Cru Classé estates that has figured out how to balance guests with privacy – in other words, you’d usually pay spicy rates for this level of access (the picnics, the wine sampling, the electric bike adventures), or not be invited at all.

Doubles from £210; troplong-mondot.com

 (Chateau Les Carrasses)
(Chateau Les Carrasses)

Chateau Les Carrasses, Languedoc-Roussillon

Lording over the acres of vineyards combing the surrounding Languedoc-Roussillon countryside, Chateau Les Carrasses is a turreted beauty spun by owner Karl O’Hanlon into a fresh, light-filled stay. A calming neutral palette of curtains, bed throws and furniture unfurls in the main chateau rooms and the cottages, one in step with the area’s sun-dappled courtyards and buttermilk stone. This clever blend of rustic self-catered cottages and restrained chateau rooms also ensures ample space and privacy, while activities speak to the energetic (canoeing, tennis and mountain biking), or the more leisurely tribes (cooking-classes, yoga and spa treatments). Guests read books in the shade of olive trees or cool off the midday heat in the pool, enrobed in lush greenery and lavender. While wine-tasting escapades abound in this region, the chateau’s affordable brasserie lunch and supper menus are delicious enough to keep guests in the grounds.

Doubles from £139; lescarrasses.com

 (Chateau de Villette)
(Chateau de Villette)

Chateau de Villette, Poil

It’s easy to see why Chateau de Villette was nicknamed Le petit Versailles. Just 40-minutes from Paris, this imposing chateau crowns 185 acres of landscaped gardens and lakes brimming with swans, ducks and fountains, and was a great source of inspiration for Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown (and later its filming location). This vast estate has opened the doors and shutters of its various ‘petit’ chateau, manor houses and gites for guests wanting a slice of rural bliss the French nobility deemed their birthright. Room decor ranges from anter-clad walls, toile du jouy bedspreads and draped four-posters to more rustic, farmhouse-style exposed beams and cosy salons. And where hunting was once the activity du jour, B&B and cottage guests now lounge alongside lavender-framed pools or lean into heated games of tennis.

Doubles limited to two nights, from £401; chateaudevillette.eu

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting