Art & Culture French Life French Provinces Hotels & Lodging Paris Podcasts: Art & Culture French Life French Provinces Hotels & Lodging Paris Podcasts
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If you’ve caught any coverage of the Tour de France, you’ve seen some glorious shots of the French countryside dotted with fairy tale-looking castles and elegant manor houses. Families still live in most of these impressive dwellings, many of whom have lived there for centuries. And even better, some of these families of long lineage open up their stately residences to visitors on a nightly or even weekly basis. (Yes, you can easily rent your own château in France for your destination wedding, family reunion or other exciting event.)
But how do you go about connecting with these people, some of whom may be just familiarizing themselves with the Internet? Enter Diane Ohanian, French château expert par excellence. Diane created au Château some ten years ago, a company and e-newsletter that dials Americans into château life in France. In my Travel Fun interview with Diane (and through her au Château Web site and newsletter), I’ve found her to be an incredible resource on French châteaux and on French life in general. As an ardent Francophile for more than two decades, Diane has made it her mission to suss out some of the most glorious and welcoming abodes in the gallic land. Indeed au Château is a great English-language resource for travelers looking to stay in historic places.
Click on the play button below to hear what Diane has to say about château life in France, French hosts and what she appreciates most about life in France. Hint: it has nothing to do with traffic jams and fast food.
Three châteaux have been featured in the above images including Château de la Motte d’Usseau, Château du Fraisse and Château Sallandrouze. (For Château Sallandrouze, please check with Diane directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for this property’s availability.) Note that au Château boasts nearly eighty members on their site, so you have a variety of experiences to chose from in every corner of France.
Diane on the French as Hosts
“They’re excellent hosts, warm and friendly. The nobility is nice, too. Not at all condescending. I hope it’s not a disappointment when they (travelers) find out that they (the noble families) are like everyone else.”
“The Paris Neighborhood Cookbook: Danyel Couet’s Guide to the City’s Ethnic Cuisines,” by Danyel Couet and David Loftus
Listen to what Diane has to say about this book in the above interview.