“Revel in relaxed splendour at a 19th-century Normandy chateau, offering great kids facilities, spacious suites and vast grounds”
The main house has 4 large two-bedroom suites, each sleeping 3-6, with antique furniture sourced by Jon, and soul-soothing views over lawns and woods.
The largest - and our favourite - is first-floor Roi Suite: its blue and gold double bedroom, Marie Antoinette, has a carved 19th-century bed and an original granite fireplace. At the end of its oak parquet landing is a smaller twin room, Louis, with green silk wall-linings. Both bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms. Also on the first floor is the Emperor Suite, made up of twin-bedded Josephine, with yellow silk walls and plush red velvet furnishings, and double-bedded Napoleon, which is flooded with sunlight in the morning; they share a shower bathroom.
The second-floor attic suite, Dauphin, is smaller and more informal. It includes double-bedded Charles VII, with a stylish claw-footed bathtub from where you can gaze out over the gardens as you soak, and adjacent Joan of Arc, with 3 single beds and a shower room.
The newer ground-floor Comte Suite consists of a small double room, an ensuite bathroom (with tub and overhead shower) and an additional room that can be used as a lounge or child’s bedroom. It opens directly onto the terrace, so you might hear noise from the dining room - but those with a small child may appreciate the opportunity to dine while they sleep nearby.
Created from 18th-century stables 50m away from the chateau (and with access to all amenities) are the three double-storey self-catering cottages: Voici, Voila and Votre. Original features - beams, exposed stonework - remain, sociable open-plan kitchen-diners bring the cottages up to date. Voici and Votre have two bedrooms (double and twin) plus shower bathroom upstairs, and separate living room and kitchen-diner and family bathroom downstairs. Voila has just one bedroom upstairs and a kitchenette in the living room downstairs and is taken as an annexe to Voici, note it is not available June to August.
Breakfast is laid out in the dining room or on the terrace: juices (maybe local apple or even carrot), cereals, yoghurt, fruit, freshly baked croissants and local jams (try the wonderful rhubarb and fig). If you fancy a lie-in, send the kids down from 8am and staff will make sure they’re fed.
Parents can enjoy communal, home-cooked dinners around a grand walnut table (daily except Thursday). Being so close to the coast, the seafood is particularly good: garlic scallops or king prawns pan-fried in parsley butter. We also enjoyed duck breast with poached plums in a red wine sauce, followed by local cheeses and a dark chocolate pudding with white chocolate sauce.
Kids' suppers - chicken casserole, macaroni cheese or beef stew with salad and cous-cous - are served separately at 5pm, though over 14s can join the grownups if they wish. On Saturdays, there's a family BBQ instead. All suites except Comte have small kitchenettes, and microwaves are available to heat up baby food and sterilise bottles.
There's a simple snack fridge, but no lunches are served, so be sure to get bread and cheese from the local town if you're staying in for the day. Restaurants within a 45-minute drive include La Cale in Blainville-sur-Mer, an unlikely-looking hut that produces excellent moules-frites, and La Verte Campagne in tiny Trelly, where Cordon-Bleu-trained Lynne serves excellent agneau pré-salé (saltmarsh-reared lamb) for which the Cotentin is famous.
If self-catering in the cottages, there are plenty of groceries available locally. Voici has a large dining kitchen, Voila only a kitchenette, and Votre a well-equipped kitchen plus dining area. Expect salt, pepper, herbs, spices, oil and flour on arrival, and week-long bookings receive a bottle of house wine or Normandy cider. And you're welcome to dine at the chateau of an evening (except Thursdays) if self-catering starts to pall.
This is the perfect house for children - there's lots of space inside and out, and the relaxed atmosphere means you won't constantly be worrying whether the kids have stained the carpets.
If staying in the stable cottages you still get access to the fun and games on offer at Le Castel, to romp around the parkland, and discover the woodland den and play marquee.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Each suite has a double bedroom and an additional single, twin or triple room. Most can also hold a baby cot. The Roi and Dauphin Suites have glamorous claw-footed bathtubs - wasted on infants, but they'll probably like them more than the shower. The Comte Suite is on the ground floor, near the dining room.
The three cottages in the grounds are also a great well-priced option for families. Both Voici and Votre have two bedrooms, with the second configured as a twin. Votre has a bed done up as a wooden fort with rope ladder for ascent, and a secret play area. Voici has a large family bathroom on the ground floor. Voila is best used as an addition to Voici for teens or grandparents. If you take all three cottages you can have up to 12 in your party
Childcare for kids aged 3+ is offered as part of the summer all-inclusive family holidays - up to 4 hours a day with an English-speaking childminder. There's a charge for children under the age of 3 (see Rates)
You can borrow baby monitors which work everywhere in the chateau, allowing you to eat a lavish meal and hear what they're doing upstairs
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
During summer, organised activities for 2-12 year olds (finger painting, picnics, cake baking, games etc) are included in the rates. For Easter, there is an egg hunt in the grounds plus a Bucks Fizz breakfast for adults
Breakfast is included and dinner is available Friday-Wednesday (kids' meals are served at 5pm; parents dine at 8pm). Children over 14 can join the main dining table if they wish. Parents with babies can use the microwave to heat up food and sterilise bottles, and most suites have kitchenettes. On Saturdays there's normally a family BBQ.
If staying in the gites, you can self-cater with ease, or join in the buffet-style family meals on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. Dinner is served most other nights, except Thursdays - let them know in good time if you want to take advantage of this
Both Voici and Votre have steep stairs and spiral staircases, these have stairguards at the top but not at the bottom. Voila is not available June-August