How to stay in a French castle without breaking bank

There are few things more indulgent then staying in a French Castle. You may think it’s out of your budget, especially if you’re a single girl like myself, but oh how you would be wrong!

Nestled about an hours drive from Paris is the most ridiculously grand Château d’Esclimont that allows you to live like royalty without having to dig too deep into your cocktail fund. It cost Lucy and I around $140 each for a night.

The former homely abode of the La Roouchefoucauld family is decked out with a bell tower, 150-acres of gardens, a fine dining restaurant, beautifully decorated bedrooms with fresh flowers, balconies decked in beautiful vines, and yes… a moat. I kid you not. A moat.

Honestly, when you first drive down the long and manicured driveway through, what appears to be a forest, you may have a tiny orgasm.

Due to the lack-of-boyfriend scenario. I chose, to instead go with a girlfriend in the similar situation. i.e. another singleton.

We chose to live carelessly and hire a car in Paris so we could drive through the countryside. Now a word of warning.. Navigating out of Paris in a car with the steering wheel on the opposite side to Australian cars might sound adventurous… in theory… but it is literally petrifying.

However, if you are prepared to risk life and limb, I really can’t recommend it enough. Once you get out of Paris and onto the beautiful highway, it really is a great way to travel. If you’ve got time, stop in at some of the nearby villages and take a wander.

Upon arriving at our French Chateau abode, you are welcomed at a friendly reception area that is decked out in the most ludicrous-yet-fabulous taxidermy animals. It sounds gross, but when a giant Lion and Peacock greet you at the door, for some reason it feels grand.

We are shown to our double room with two beds, a large bathroom with a deep bath and sitting room with a view overlooking the courtyard. It feels like you have stepped back into the 1800’s and the only thing lacking is a ball gown and handsome gent.

We quickly dropped our bags, popped on our swimmers and unpacked the cheese and wine we had picked up from a nearby supermarket (side note: French Supermarkets sell the BEST wine and cheese).

We walked the grounds until we found the perfect spot under a tree to lay out our picnic in the heavenly sun and proceeded to have the most glorious afternoon of indulgence and chatter.

Once we had eaten and drunk ourselves silly we made our way to the pool area that had beautiful old wooden chairs and umbrellas laid out. We managed to lay there all afternoon working on a base tan and being served champagne by waiters.

It was ridiculously romantic. How do I know this? Oh the three couples who joined us were lapping it up. But, hey, just as enjoyable with a friend.

That night we chose to dine in the gardens, and as luck would have it. The local rotary group had organised a hot-air balloon ride in one of the fields connected to the Chateau and watching the sight of 6 older French people stumbling into the basket before it took off was a sight to be seen.

If you want to have a proper ‘French experience’ during your next holiday I can’t recommend this place enough. I will be back!

Check out http://www.esclimont.com/

 

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