“French Trad meets contemporary design at this über-chic Charentais château rental (sleeps 20-26) - ideal for house parties and celebrations”
Nicky and Mark thought big when it came to conceptualising the interiors, and the 9 bedrooms (6 kingsize doubles with ensuite bathrooms, 2 twin rooms, and 1 quadruple) are just as jazzy and snazzy as the rest of the château. Original stone walls have been exposed, and floors are covered in thick-pile carpet or the original eye-catching parquet. Chandeliers, perspex lamp shades and bright cushions rev up the sense of fun and theatricality, and you’ll find plenty of decorative treats - perhaps Balinese statues, cowhide rugs, or mirrored mosaics in the bathroom. All bedrooms are centrally heated and have flat-screen TVs, DVD players, hairdryers, bathrobes and tea- and coffee-making gear; some even have wine chillers to keep the champagne at the perfect temperature.
Of the double rooms, we particularly liked Room 4, which is gargantuan in size: you could easily fit 2 Parisian studios into its 70 sq.m of floor space. It’s pepped up by a swirly 60s-style headboard and recycled steel furniture made by a local artist. The super-swish bathroom doubles up on sinks and tubs: no need to even think about who’s going to have the first bath. Also a favourite was Room 3, another huge space on the first floor. It has garden-facing French windows, a marble fireplace and a double-tubbed bathroom. Next door to it is Room 2, which has a balcony, colourful modern art and 2 chesterfield-style armchairs.
Room 1 at the top of the building is the largest, though its raftered roof makes it the snuggest in feel. A brick chimney breast provides a sculptural division between the kingsize bedroom and the sitting area, and its white mosaic-tiled bathroom sits in one of the château’s turrets, with a corner bath and a walk-in shower.
The only twin rooms are Rooms 5 and 8. The former has a sitting area and a huge bathroom with curvaceous twin tubs; the latter shares a marble shower room (and can interconnect) with Room 9, a funky black and white quadruple that’s ideal for children.
The château isn’t short on communal space, either: downstairs you’ll find no fewer than 3 lounges (the lofty Stone Salon with its corner bar, the funky 70s-style White Salon, and the elegant Piano Salon, all with wood burners or log fires). There’s also a cosy book-lined library, a cinema room with a 9ft screen, and a billiards room with a full-size pool table.
You can choose whether to self-cater or be catered for. If you want to cook for yourself, you get use of a vast commercial-style kitchen with hobs, stoves, pots, pans, toasters, kettles, microwaves and all manner of crockery, cutlery and utensils. There are grocery shops, butchers and bakers in nearby Marthon, and Nicky and Mark can arrange for the fridge and cupboards to be stocked ready for your arrival - just send them a shopping list in advance.
If you don’t fancy cooking, they can hire a private chef to whip up anything from one-off celebratory dinners to a full week’s worth of meals. They’ll help you plan bespoke menus in advance, but breakfast is generally a buffet of croissants, pains au chocolat, fresh juices, local cheeses and cold cuts, while lunch and dinner are more lavish multi-course affairs.
Meals are taken in the château's réfectoire (dining hall), a lofty space with high ceilings, exposed stone walls, a long table seating 26, and ornate candelabras. There are further tables outside on the terrace, along with a BBQ.
If you want to eat out there are 2 restaurants within easy strolling distance: choose between a simple pizzeria or the characterful Le Glycine, where you can get an honest menu du jour at a very reasonable price. Just 10 minutes’ drive from the château, in the pretty market square of Villebois, is La Valette, which serves local fare and has a terrace for alfresco dining in the warmer months.
Angoulême, of course, has a much wider choice of eateries. If you fancy rubbing shoulders with the local intelligentsia book in for lunch at the buzzy Chez Paul. Serious foodies should check out Le Terminus, which has Michelin status and attracts diners from as far afield as Paris.
Kids are welcome. The garden, grounds and pool offer endless possibilities for hyperactive littl’uns, and the high-tec cinema room is great for film fans. We'd say it's best for older kids (8+) and especially good for teens, but the château often plays host to kids of all ages.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
There are 9 guest rooms and suites in total, including 2 twin rooms and 1 quadruple dorm-style room that's ideal for kids. Most rooms can take at least 1 extra bed or a baby cot, and most have ensuite bathrooms with tubs.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
You can self-cater or arrange for a private chef to cook meals for you. A shopping service is available - just send a list in advance and specify any child-friendly ingredients required.