Twitter

Affiliate Disclosure: This is a professional review blog which gets compensated for the products recommended and reviewed by the companies who produce them and our affiliates. All of the products are tested thoroughly and high grades are received only by the best ones. We are independent bloggers and the recommendations and reviews are based on our own opinions.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Château des Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley

Have the experience of a lifetime when visiting the Loire Valley by staying at an exceptional bed and breakfast, Chateau des Grotteaux, the smallest but most gracious of the great chateaux located in Huisseau-sur-Cosson, France.  


The Grotteaux is located in the middle of Loire valley with most famous tourist attractions within a one hour drive. By itself, it is a beautiful chateau in its own huge park, with rich history and renovated to the highest possible standards. In the main building there are five private rooms, each with its own character, gorgeous living areas, and at the entrance to the grounds is the La Commanderie, a separate apartment if you desire more privacy. 


The Château de Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley

1. Location


Abutting the large forest of Chambord, stay only 5 miles from the chateau favored by the Kings of France since Francois Premier (Francois I) in 1500. Many chateau are within 1 hour drives, enabling you to see different types of chateau on your vacation to the Loire valley. Let's face it, castle after castle can get pretty boring and as Rick Steves suggests, make each chateau visit a unique one.



Not only is the Grotteaux in wonderful proximity to such an itinerary but is also in a very safe and peaceful area for you to enjoy the French countryside and all it has to offer. Check out our itinerary by clicking here.

It was a one hour drive from where we picked up our rental car in Tours.  This was an easy high speed train ride from Paris CDG.  To get to the quaint town of Amboise, which was our farthest chateau and town to visit to 45 minutes by our rental car.  Renting a car was easy on Costco.com, even for renting in France and the price was very reasonable.  We recommend renting small vehicle because the country roads are very narrow and parking spaces even narrower.  Parking at the Grotteaux was easy and free on the grounds inside the entry gates.

The Grotteaux has house bicycles which would be easy to use to get to nearby towns, groceries or even activities at Chambord park or chateau.

Because we felt so safe in the area, with wonderful hospitality from locals, we ventured to a local chocolate festival one afternoon. We were the only foreigners at the event but felt such a warm welcome that we felt like locals!

2. Check-in



Gael communicated promptly and thoroughly via email and WhatsApp when planning our trip with suggestions for activities, wineries, transportation and more. We can't say enough about his help!

Instructions for getting to the Grotteaux and entering were perfect. Drinking through the flowered grounds to the Chateau des Grotteaux was a delight! Imagine the trees opening up to see this!

The Château de Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley

The Château de Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley

3. Rooms


The Château de Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley
La Commanderie 

We decided to rent the La Commanderie which is a charming 19th century pavilion found at the entrance to the grounds of the Grotteaux.  This gave us access to the property but two bedrooms and bathrooms, a kitchen and living room to relax after a long day of traveling!  The apartment was perfect for us with all of the features we wanted plus some great comforts such as a wood burning stove, table and chairs to dine, Nespresso maker, and oh so comfortable beds. The accessories are made by Cecile, who used to work for Hermes and was inspired by them and the French county life!

The downstairs bedroom has a queen sized bed and the upstairs bed can be made into a king sized bed or two twins depending on your needs.  The linens and beds are so comfortable!  We slept like babies after our busy days of touring!

The Château de Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley

The Château de Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley


The common areas are comfortable with wonderful accessories like fur coverings and lovely pillows. There is a television and stereo to use, but we didn't use these items.  We particularly enjoyed the wood burning stove in the fireplace to warm the room and give ambiance. 

The Château de Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley

The Château de Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley



The Château de Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley


Gael was kind enough to give us a full tour or the main chateau including its history some of which you can see below.  Every room in the chateau has significant history associated with the history of the chateau.  We will share some of the history of the Chateau des Grotteaux in this section and more later because it is important to understanding the rooms but the entire location.
  • When viewing the exterior Gael tells us about the architecture and symmetry in the French Provincial style. As you read the Latin quotations that greet you over the front doors you realize that they are an invitation to feel well in this place (TECUM HABITA) and to do whatever your fancy takes. (ARBITRII HIC TIBI IVRA IVI).
The Château de Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley
"Do whatever your fancy takes"

  • The breakfast area has original painted coffered ceilings with a gorgeous large ceramic wood burning stove along the wall.  Gael tells us the original ceramic stove that was in the chateau was moved to Chateau at Chambord and we actually saw it earlier (History Below).  This stove was a gift to the owner of the chateau to replace the original (even this one dates to the 19th century!).  
  • The great drawing room is the location of the original library of Riber with beautiful symmetrical and tall windows.  There is a portrait of Guillaume Ribier above the fully restored original monumental fireplace.
  • During restoration, original 17th century murals of the very highest quality were uncovered. A large number of people were employed to conserve these and now guest rooms are named after murals, such as the Zeus room
  • Pianists can play the grand piano, built by Gaveau, one of the most prestigious French makers and a native of the region.
The Château de Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley
The Great Drawing Room (courtesy of Chateau des Grotteaux)


The bedrooms have modern comforts but are tastefully restored and decorated to create a welcoming, authentic, comfortable atmosphere. We viewed the Zeus room where the gods of Olympus, Zeus, Athena, Apollo and Artemis were painted in grey on the walls of this bedroom in the 17th century and provide the backdrop of its exceptional décor.

The Château de Grotteaux is a Perfect Base to Explore the Main Parts and Attractions of the Loire Valley
The Zeus Room (courtesy of Chateau des Grotteaux)

4. Bathrooms


In the La Commanderie where we stayed the bathrooms were extremely clean and comfortable. Each bathroom contained all the amenities necessary, with toiletries by Sothys, blow dryers, and towel warmers.  The downstairs bathroom has a walk-in shower only and the upstairs has a bathtub only, giving an option for all.  A washer and dryer is present within the closet in the downstairs bathroom with laundry soap provided - not dryer sheets, so if this is a must, bring them with you!  Dryer sheets are a useful travel hack to remove lint from your clothes too!  Just rub them over the clothing.





If you stay in the main chateau, and Gael gave us a full tour, here is the bathroom we saw in the Zeus room!  Lovely with all amenities and plush linens and robes are provided.  Oh and the view!

Bathroom of Zeus Room (courtesy of Chateau des Grotteaux)

 5. Fitness


If you are a walker, runner or cyclist, there are many opportunities to explore the Loire Valley weather and sites right outside the door or a short drive away.  The land surrounding the Chateau des Grotteaux is lush with vineyards and forest.  Just behind the property is a cycling route with limited auto traffic perfect for cycling or running.  The chateau has house bicycles for your use as well, which could be used to cycle to nearby Chambord and enjoy the park by foot or bicycle.  Most of the well known Loire Valley castles can be reached by bicycle from the Grotteaux: Chambord, Cheverny, Blois and Chaumont sur Loire.  Or any time of day enjoy a stroll around the 33 hectares of the Grotteaux. Seasonally, a 21 meter pool is available if you prefer to swim.




courtesy of Chateau des Grotteaux

courtesy of Chateau des Grotteaux


6. Dining


Several locations are near the chateau to enjoy casual or fine dining:

Grand Saint-Michel restaurant at Relais de Chambord  Fine dining within view of the Castle of Chambord, enjoy a wonderful selection of local flavors and spirits with excellent service.  A la carte and prix fixe options are available, and we enjoyed an amazing blend of artichokes prepared in four different ways as an appetizer, followed by main courses of local vegetables and fish.








Le Bistrot Du Cuisinier in Blois Chef Thibaud Renard and his team work miracles, their scallops and beef are delicious, and their wines pair very well with the menu. Parking on the street is free after usual business hours. It is small so consider a reservation!


L'Epicerie in Amboise Locally owned and run, we highly recommend L'Epicerie as a lunch or dinner stop should you visit the Loire Valley of France and, specifically, Amboise. A little known fact is that the owner's son runs the creperie next door!


7. History


Before traveling to this region we highly recommend some reading about the history of France. It will be so helpful to you to understand the chateau, forests and geography of the Loire Valley!  This is a recently published and excellent resource to get you started!  Please click the photo below to learn more from Amazon and support our blog!  Thank you so much!



On the bank of the Cosson, the present chateau was built in 1620 by Guillaume Ribier on even older foundations which can be seen in the quite beautiful vaulted cellars.
King Louis XIII particularly appreciated this high-ranking magistrate and member of parliament from Blois and on three occasions he offered him a role as minister, most notably on one occasion when he came to the Grotteaux with Cardinal Richelieu on his return from the siege of La Rochelle in 1628.

In later years, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte arranged for seeds and plants, brought back by a botanical expedition to Louisiana, to be sent to the owner of the Grotteaux, and asked him to acclimatise them in the park of the Chateau des Grotteaux. This is why we can still admire along the riverbanks the most beautiful of all Autumnal trees – the bald cypress. And now because of these trees and its history, the chateau has been listed in the inventory of historical monuments since 1954 and its park since 1997.

There are some amazing historical pieces not just within the chateau but remarkably at nearby Chambord to which the Grotteaux is intricately entwined historically!  For example, in Chambord there is an amazing ceramic stove as was in fashion in the 18th century.  Well it used to be located in the breakfast/dining room of the Grotteaux!  Here is the plaque that is located in Chambord:

"In 1745, King Louis XV placed the Marshall de Saxe in control of the estate at Chambord. In spite of the numerous open fireplaces in the large rooms, and ceramic stoves in the smaller rooms, the castle was still for the most part uncomfortably cold. In an attempt to remedy this, the Marshall ordered three large ceramic stoves from a manufacturer in Danzig.

During The Great Revolution of 1792, all three stoves were sold. The one illustrated was installed in the château at Huisseau sur Cusson.
In 1875, the Count of Chambord bought the stove and had it reassembled in the coffee room of Chambord where it had originally been installed by the Marshall."




As we said above, the one located in the dining room now was a gift to replace the one that was removed from the Grotteaux in 1875.

Gael told us the story of the unique steel bridge on the grounds over the river Cosson.  What an intriguing story that has been highlighted in local papers.  The steel bridge on the property is one of only three Eiffel Tower era steel bridges in the country and in 2016 it was damaged by river flooding. It was restored and returned to its location at the Grotteaux last summer!






8. Shopping



Certainly every chateau has a unique gift shop.  We found the gift shop at Chambord to be the most complete with unique items that are well displayed with costs comparable to other locations.  Amboise has one of the larges outdoor markets in the area, occurring on Sunday mornings.  We decided to skip this one because of rain.  In our itinerary we give information on the local chocolate festival and we highly encourage you to look at local websites (use Google Translate if not in English) to find a festival and attend.  The locals are so welcoming that you will find it to be a very unique day! Amboise is full of little shops for clothing, decor and antiques.  Be aware that many close for the off season, October through March.


One of the most unique and convenient shops is at the actual Chateau des Grotteaux itself.  The Grotteaux is not a chateau to be visited like a museum. It is a chateau that is lived in and all the objects around you have a personal significance – it might be the memory of a loved one, of a journey, of a day spent in Paris, a moment shared, or of an enjoyable read.  The gift shop on the grounds reflects this as well.  Gael and Cecile have chosen objects to decorate the chateau that reflect the surroundings but their personal life as well.  For example, we admired the fabrics used in the pillows at our accommodation.  As we asked about them, we learned how they were inspired by Cecile's time working at Hermes.  Yes, that reminds us of the Hermes Otomi Scarves we saw in New York last summer!  Cecile incorporated beautiful embroidered fabrics reminiscent of a design like this with country fabrics like tweed.  We couldn't help but purchase some small lavender filled pillows like those pillows we loved so much to remember our trip and our lovely hosts.

9. Activities


As the Chateaux directs you: CARPE DIEM!

courtesy of Chateau des Grotteaux

Visiting chateaux should be your number one priority.  There are few places in Europe where you can visit so many chateaux, each with it's own unique sliver of history.  Our itinerary reflected our unique choices. Most of the well known Loire Valley castles can be reached by bicycle from the Grotteaux: Chambord, Cheverny, Blois and Chaumont sur Loire.

The valley is full of things to do and your hosts will help you out to arrange many activities such as those that are listed at their website:
  • golf
  • hot-air balloon ride
  • stag rutting
  • boating on the Loire river
  • fishing
  • spa services
  • helicopter ride
  • a day in Paris

Wineries are everywhere for a great day indoors.  Here are some near the Grotteaux that can be visited!  The region is known for white wines and reds are available as well and you can find excellent wines at any grocer for VERY inexpensive!

APPELLATION CHEVERNY

Domaine de MONTCY (Organic)


Domaine des Huards (Organic)


APELLATION TOURAINE

Château de la Presle


APPELLATION TOURAINE-OISLY

Domaine des Corbillières


APPELLATION VOUVRAY

Château GAUDRELLE


We opted for a more historic adventure and Gael was outstanding in giving us recommendations, such as local wineries and how to see the rutting stags and assisting with arranging a balloon ride for us (which was, unfortunately, canceled due to weather).

On a personal note, we were thrilled to see on our first day at the Grotteaux that Gael and Cecile's dog is a Weimaraner!  Interestingly, in France they are called Le Braque de Weimar!  Oh it made us miss our Weimaraner so much!  This photo of Bianca looks just like ours laying by the fire!  What a life!





Bottom Line:  


The Chateau des Grotteaux is located in the middle of Loire valley with most famous tourist attractions within a one hour drive. By itself, it is a beautiful chateau in its own huge park, with rich history and renovated to the highest possible standards. In the main building there are only five rooms, each with its own character, and at the entrance to the grounds is the La Commanderie, a separate apartment if you desire more privacy.  The hosts, Gaël and Cecile, are most welcoming, helpful and knowledgeable before and during your visit. For a very reasonable price, we had unforgettable five-star experience.

Visit the Website of Chateau des Grotteaux with questions or to inquire about reservations and if you ant to see our 6 day itinerary please click here!

Here is their contact information:

Château Des Grotteaux
4 rue des Grotteaux
41350 Huisseau-sur-Cosson

tél.+33 (0)2 54 52 01 43
info@chateau-grotteaux.com



If you like our content and to be the first to see our upcoming content, please click here to find us and follow us on Facebook!  














No comments:

Post a Comment