Chateau des Tesnieres

near Vitre, Brittany, France Book from

Eclectic décor, huge suites and Dutch hospitality in a pristine 19th-century chateau near historic Vitré
Dutch Francophiles John and Siebren intended to settle in Normandy, and it was only by chance that in 2003 they spotted this milk-white Renaissance-style castle, hidden in 15 acres of tranquil parkland on Brittany’s eastern border. It was love at first sight: previous plans were shelved, and the work of turning the place into a B&B with 5 luxury rooms (all but one of them suites) began.

Contemporary art and furnishings that John and Siebren had enjoyed in their large Amsterdam flat were skilfully blended with local antiques and original features, like exquisite panelling and chestnut parquet floors. One of their most stunning purchases was a 19th-century carved canopied bed that’s now the centrepiece of a honeymoon suite which is in hot demand among newly-weds. Breakfast is served in front of a superb fireplace bearing the coat of arms of the ancient De Langle family, who built the chateau in 1852 and inhabited it until the war. One of Brittany’s best preserved medieval towns, Vitré, lies 10km up the road, and there are dramatic castles, timbered villages, prehistoric sites, gorgeous gardens, golf and riding within a short drive.


  • The chateau at night, when the lights shine through the stone fretwork around the windows to create a magical effect of illuminated lace
  • Beautiful Vitré, with its huge castle, timbered houses and cosy restaurants, is one of Brittany’s historic jewels
  • The soothing views over the chateau's private parkland, especially from the suites' private sitting rooms (most of them set into turrets)
  • The magnificent salon and library, with their fabulous fireplaces, wooden panelling and exquisitely ornate ceilings
  • Total tranquility, with no traffic for miles around, yet it's only 40 minutes from Rennes airport and 1.5 hours from the ferry port at Saint-Malo


  • This is a B&B not a hotel, so don't expect round-the-clock service
  • Interiors are large and impressive; if you prefer cosy and bijou, look elsewhere
  • You'll need a car, as the B&B doesn't serve dinner and the nearest restaurants are in Vitré
  • Being Dutch-owned, don't come here for an immersion in French language and culture - though it's great having such multi-lingual hosts
  • It's not ideal for large families, though it would suit a couple with 1 child sleeping in the same room

Best time to go

The chateau is normally open from the start of February to the end of November, and is beautiful at any time of year. Come in late spring or summer (May-September) for walks, picnics and flower-filled grounds, or in autumn for lovely colours. It also makes a romantic bolthole during the colder months, particularly when the lawns and trees are dusted with snow.

Our top tips

If you can manage to pull yourself away from your comfortable bed, get up early one day to explore the parkland. It's at its most magical first thing in the morning, as the sun begins to burn through the mist and the birds awaken.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 5
  • Breakfast only
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Suite du Comte


John and Siebren’s motto is to provide what they always longed for when they stayed in other hotels - space and comfort, and lots of it. All but one of the chateau's 5 rooms are suites, and the bathrooms are particularly generous, with tip-top fittings, stacks of Rituals toiletries, and deliciously thick white towels.

The hot favourite has to be the blue-and-white Suite du Comte on the first floor, with its white marble fireplace and ornate canopy bed purchased from an antique shop in Rouen. Leading off it is a small sitting room with gorgeous views of the pond in front, and the bathroom is one of the castle’s best, with a free-standing tub, his and hers basins and stylish black and white floor tiles.

The Suite de la Comtesse next door is decorated in chocolate and beige, with twin beds that can be pushed together, a huge classical painting for a headboard, windows on 2 sides looking out over sweeping lawns and wooded parkland, and a sitting room set in one of the chateau’s towers. Its bathroom is the only one without a tub, but we loved the large walk-in shower and sleek double basins.

Rooms on the second floor were originally the servants' quarters and are marginally bigger. They lacked water, heating and electricity when John and Siebren first moved in and needed total renovation, but this has allowed the pair to have some fun. The monochrome Suite du Sud and the airy Suite du Nord both have lovely turret sitting rooms and kingsize beds that can be split into twins; the star feature of the latter is its stylish pea-green bathroom with a claw-foot tub and black and white checked floor tiles. The Chambre de l’Est is the only room that’s not a suite, but it has a wonderful four-poster and the same great views. Its bathroom is more contemporary in style than the others, with glass sinks.

All rooms come with flat-screen TVs, CD players, internet points, safes, complimentary bottled water, and bathrobes and slippers. They can feel a little chilly on cool days, but effective radiators soon warm them up.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Honesty bar
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi


Breakfast is the only meal provided here, and is served in the beautiful oak-panelled dining room in front of a huge fireplace. Gaze out over the park while you munch your way through freshly baked croissants, pastries from the bakery down the road, yoghurt, boiled eggs, ham and cheese, freshly squeezed orange juice, and pots of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. There’s a fruit bowl that you can pick from, too. Breakfast can be brought to your room if you prefer to take it easy, and on sunny days you can head outside to one of the tables clustered around the pond.

For lunch and dinner, you’ll need to head into Vitré - no hardship, given the beauty of the place and its wide choice of bijou restaurants. Your hosts will be happy to recommend a place that fits your taste and budget - favourites include La Belle Oselle, a relaxed spot where you can feast on superb local produce, and La Soupe aux Choux, a beamed restaurant built into the ancient town walls. For a fancy meal, splash out at Le Pichet, where gourmet dishes are served in smart, minimalist surroundings. If you're seeking Michelin stardom, you’ll need to head further afield to Rennes, 40km away. There, La Fontaine aux Perles and Le Four à Ban are particularly well renowned among gastronomic circles.

Wherever you plan to eat, make sure you check opening times, as many eateries close for a couple of days every week.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Room service
Activity: Vitré


  • If you go nowhere else, visit historic Vitré, one of Brittany’s must-sees. The medieval capital of one of 9 feudal counties, it has an immaculately preserved triangular castle with witch-hat turrets, and charming cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses to rival the better-known towns of Dinan and Quimper
  • The Château des Rochers Sévigné, the Breton country retreat of the 17th-century society figure Madame de Sévigné, is 10km away. Many of her famous letters were penned here, offering fascinating insights into her life and times
  • You can play golf on the 18-hole course in the grounds of the Château des Rochers Sévigné; ask your hosts to arrange it and you’ll get a 20% discount
  • The prehistoric Roche aux Fées ('Fairies’ Rock', 10km away) is one of Brittany’s most evocative early sites, believed to date from around 2500BC. According to legend, fairies gathered at the 100-ton megaliths and set them in place
  • Soak up more history at Fougères (35km away), a former stronghold set on a promontory overlooking the Nançon valley. Below it, almost encircled by the river, is a magnificent medieval castle with 13 towers which formed part of a line of defences along Brittany’s eastern border
  • The regional capital, Rennes (40km away), has a charming old quarter. The city has been an important crossroads since Roman times and, if you’re a foodie, there are some excellent eateries to sample
  • There are several wonderful gardens in the area, including the 17th-century Château de La Bellue and the Parc Floral de Haute Bretagne, where a fragrance garden, a Japanese garden, rose alleys and a maze sit beside mirror-like pools
  • Fishing, hot-air ballooning and riding are all on offer locally, and swimming is possible in nearby lakes
  • There are plenty of well-marked footpaths if you fancy a walk

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming


Children are welcome. Cots can be provided for free, and extra beds can be added to the suites for a nightly charge. The owners prefer not to have too many children staying at any one time.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

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