Oh Château Life!

A Perfect French Summer Scene:  Colza Fields Blanketing the Château de la Motte d'Usseau Landscape

A Perfect French Summer Scene: Colza Fields Blanketing the Château de la Motte d'Usseau Landscape

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.)

Château du Fraisse Near Limoges

Château du Fraisse, A Grand Property Near Limoges

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.

Room with a View at Château Sallandrouze and Many Other Châteaux

Room with a View at Château Sallandrouze and Many Other Châteaux

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 inquiry@au-chateau.com 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 left) with One of Her Hosts

Diane (on the left) with One of Her Hosts

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.”

Book Pick

“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.

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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