“Chic chateau hosting laid back house parties (Wine Weekends and Private Parties) or available as private rental (sleeps up to 16 adults + 8 children)”
They're not short of space at Rigaud: 16 original stone fireplaces, 4 staircases, 2 kitchens, 4 lounges and terraces - see Floor Plans. With ancient wooden beams, soaring ceilings, and long cool passages you don't expect any of the bedrooms to be poky. What you find are 8 large bedrooms where original features mix with contemporary boutique style: floors of dark wood or ancient terracotta, retro crystal chandeliers and big comfy wooden beds - either four-poster or sleigh - with high thread count cotton sheets and maybe a faux-fur throw. Colours are moody Farrow and Ball - perhaps dark blue in the Ballroom or more earthy tones in the Maroc room. All have en suite bathrooms - some with roll-top baths, others with walk-in showers; all have lovely organic Ren products, hairdryers and bathrobes. Additional children's beds and cots can be provided.
Ballroom: one of the largest rooms with giant 4-poster bed and double aspect windows with views over meadows and vineyards. Vast curtains made of midnight blue silk and velvet work well with dark blue Farrow and Ball paint and white Mies Van der Rohe Barcelona chairs. We found the super king size deliciously comfortable. No shower, but a roll-top bath perfect for soaking (though you can hear some noise from the kitchen beneath).
Tower: arguably the best room in the house as the owners used to live here. It has a large double aspect room with super king size de L'Esparda bed. The room is dominated by a magnificent 16th Century fireplace. The bathroom features pretty ancient terracotta tiles with another fireplace and a roll top bath and this leads on to the tower: three metres in diametre the tower is the largest walk in shower to be found in the Gironde.
Aquitaine: dark grey silk shot curtains with walls painted light grey. It has a large king size bed overlooking the garden plus an ensuite bathroom with tub and shower. It can connect with the Boudoir room.
Boudoir: has a large double bed with aqua and grey colour scheme. As it can be joined with Aquitaine, it makes it a good family option. The window overlooking the garden is slightly smaller than others making it a tad darker but we liked its bright shower room (one of the few bathrooms with a view)
Dauphin: has a 4-poster bed and roll top bath set into an alcove, original brick tiled floors and brown silk and velvet curtains.
Bourgie: has a 4-poster bed and roll top bath, special 17th century fireplace, shower unit in a cabinet, light grey and brown silk curtains and writing desk.
Maroc: is the largest of them all with a 4-poster bed, fabulous bathroom with chandelier, roll top bath and huge mosaic-tiled shower. Colours are earthy reds. It also has a small separate bedroom which can fit two children's beds.
Jardin: is the only room on the ground floor and has a large double bed, walk-in shower, grey silk curtains and fuchsia velvet cushions.
Dormitory: when taken as a private house rental, there's also a room for kids which has 3 double bunks which sleeps 6 and has an ensuite bathroom.
House Parties: everyone eats together usually at the long candlelit table in the dining room. Drinks are included and the wine certainly flows. Evenings kick off with an aperitif in the bar - perhaps Champagne and blinis or a Rosé wine tasting. Chef Steve Carss trained with Rick Stein before moving to London where he headed up private dining at The Chancery. Steve's food gains high praise from guests. Depending upon the occasion he might produce a slow cooked leg of lamb to be carved and shared in a family style at the table, or perhaps a ceviche of scallops followed by duo of duck breast and confit in a honey and soy jus. Canapes in the bar are always a highlight of the evening and a large percentage of the produce, particularly during the summer months, is grown on site
Breakfast is a simple buffet of cereals, croissants, yoghurts, fruit and cheese, laid out in the dining room until the last guest has ventured down (just as well, after our late nights). Lunch might be homemade soup and quiche or a lazy Sunday roast beneath the large tree on the lawn.
For Family House Parties there are kitchen meals for the kids: nannies oversee lunch while parents mill around at suppertime (around 5.30pm) with a cup of tea or a head start on pre-dinner drinks. The food is wholesome: perhaps pasta, fish pie with peas or roast chicken with cauliflower cheese, followed by peaches and ice cream or homemade cake. Food can be whizzed in the Magimix for babies.
Chateau Rentals: Private rentals choose meals from a suggested weekly menu or the chef will cook entirely to order. The chef and waitress come as part of the package included in the cost of the house rental with the ingredient budget settled separately
At the house:
Guests frequently spend all day at the chateau relaxing by the outdoor pool, flicking through the latest glossy mags, strolling round the large gardens or neighbouring vineyards. If it rains, it gives you a good excuse to curl up on a squashy sofa in their private cinema: it's the ultimate viewing experience with a fantastic sound system and large selection of the latest films. In need of some pampering? They can arrange massages, manicures and facials in a quiet corner of the chateau. There's also a piano, ping pong and a large screen TV in the dinky Chapel bar where you can watch footie matches.
Out and About:
Chateau Rigaud is a fantastically child-friendly private rental, run by a parents who know what it's like to want to stay somewhere stylish with young children, although theirs are rapidly growing up. It's a whole house rental and would be a great location for a 40th or similar birthday celebration where you can bring the kids too.
The Wine Weekends are adults-only but for the rest of the year children are welcomed with open arms.
All the bedrooms are large enough for extra beds and cots (bedding is provided) and Maroc or Tower, both of which are suites with a separate room for the children.
Most rooms have a bathtub and the nursery also has a tub for baby bath time if yours has a shower.
There's also a dormitory with 3 bunk beds (sleeping up to 6 children).
A fleet of English-speaking nannies are available (see rates).
Super-strength baby listening/monitors available on request which work everywhere in the house so you can enjoy a candlelit dinner while they're in bed.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The Stable nursery/kids club welcomes children 0-7 and nannies provide relevant care. From 7 up, kids can be supervised in outdoor play or in the cinema. They also provide animation courses which culminate in films being screened on the cinema screen.
Child-friendly food and mealtimes are on offer. Bibs and crockery is provided plus guests can use the microwave, sterilizer, blender and fridge (bring purees if you're weaning). See eating for more details.
It's not completely child-proof: watch the big drop on the north of the house to the road and the grand staircase which is too big for a stair gate. Bedroom doors don't have locks (our friend's toddler was found exploring the corridors early evening).