Thank you to Le Vieux Chateau for our amazing stay!
| Lena’s dress |
Our three week road trip through France has very much been a real life fairy tale. From experiencing at our first Michelin star restaurant (Three stars at that! We don’t do things halfway!), dancing to our wedding song underneath the twinkling Eiffel Tower, touring the castles that inspired three Disney castles, getting lost in all the medieval villages of Provence, and dining on four course meals nightly- of course complete with a champagne aperitif and a cheese course before dessert- the trip has been nothing short of a fairy tale. That being said, there was one thing that could take this experience to epic fairy tale heights and that was staying at a real life castle.
Both Bassam and I have always dreamed of spending a night at a castle. Bassam is a giant history buff and loses himself in all things medieval history and the time periods of WW1 and WW2. He loves visiting historical sites and imagining all that transpired there. As for myself, I’ve always been obsessed with Disney and like most girls, grew up fantasizing about being a princess. We never thought this dream of ours could actually come true until we found Le Vieux Chateau in Normandy. The chateau was built over 1,000 years ago and was home to 12 generations of the Balliol family. It’s rich with history and interesting characters who have stayed there over the years, such as Charlotte Corday who stayed at the chateau with her uncle during the French Revolution and the German army who invaded the chateau during WW2. Oh if only the chateau walls could talk; what they must have seen! About 5 years ago, the castle was purchased by Donna McDougall who renovated the chateau back to its former glory and reopened its doors to the public as a bed and breakfast. It just doesn’t get more romantic or more historical than this! We’ve stayed at a lot of romantic places together over the years, but I can confidently say Chateau Le Vieux is at the very top of the list. It’s such a unique and memorable experience. If you are into history, romance, castles, or anything of the sort, a stay at Chateau Le Vieux needs to be on your bucket list!
I will be very honest with you. I’ve struggled writing this blog post. Our stay at Chateau Le Vieux was just so magical and I wanted to be able to impart that feeling of magic to you so you could experience it as we did. After weeks of agonizing, I realized I am just not that talented a writer and some things need to be experienced in real life. So I urge you, if your travels ever take you to Normandy or Paris, please find the time for a stay at Chateau Le Vieux. Then, please let us know how you liked it so we can live vicariously through you. We’ve been dreaming about our stay ever since we left.
Until the time comes that you can experience Chateau Le Vieux for yourself, join me as I take you on a tour of the chateau and our experience.
Our experience even started off like the beginning of a fairy tale. We had been driving for the better part of the evening and had gotten lost in the remote villages on the way to Le Renouard, Normandy. We finally arrived to the chateau after several hours and were cold, tired, and hungry. Arriving at the chateau felt like the scene from Beauty and the Beast, when Belle’s father stumbled upon the castle after being tired and weary from travel. Instead of being greeted by a beast though, we were greeted by the smiling and friendly Donna. She greeted us warmly, like a friend welcoming us home to her castle. Our weariness instantly faded.
We walked through the entry way and up the stairs to the chateau.
Donna gave us a brief tour and told us to feel free to wander anywhere in the castle, except for the upstairs wing. My fairy tale radar instantly went off and I told Bassam, “it’s exactly like Beauty and the Beast!!!” He of course thought I was a bit nuts, but I know some of you feel me. Donna showed us to our room and we settled in for the night. We were delighted to see the room had a fireplace, beautiful view of the estate, and a large bathtub. Exactly how we pictured the castle room of our dreams to be. We almost couldn’t sleep that night from how exciting it all was.
We woke up early the next morning, well rested and excited to explore. We walked into the kitchen to find that Donna had prepared a lovely breakfast for us. The table was spread with local jam, cheeses, breads, and butter. Normandy is well known for their butter and the cheese was from the local town, Camembert! We ate piece of bread after piece of bread, slathered with butter, and chased it down with strong coffee for Bassam and tea for me. We spent over an hour at breakfast as it was such a wonderfully leisurely way to start the day and we really enjoyed chatting with Donna.
After breakfast, we enjoyed a little bit of quiet reading time by the fireplace. It was so relaxing and so lovely that we wanted to stay there for the rest of the day, but we had lots to see and do in Normandy that day.
We did make some time to explore the castle a bit before going out for the day. The kitchen in which we ate our breakfast was one of my favorite parts of the castle. I loved the big oven, the collection of antiques, and the overall French Country style. I would love to cook in that kitchen!
Next, we ventured into the sitting room. It was full of finds from 1414, such as murals, markings on the walls, and the original stone design. It was so incredible being in that room and imagining all the many things that could have taken place there over the past 1,000 years.
Finally, we absolutely loved exploring the chateau grounds. If we had more time we would’ve taken bikes and explored the nearby hills and valleys, but we did enjoy going for a long walk. The countryside is absolutely gorgeous, as is the chateau property. We truly felt like we were walking in a fairy tale. After our long, leisurely walk it was time to go. We left feeling so incredibly relaxed and rejuvenated. I wish we lived close by so we could come visit monthly!
We are already missing our stay at Le Vieux Chateau so much and plotting when we can go back. We think the chateau is absolutely perfect for a romantic getaway or a romantic special occasion like Valentines Day or an anniversary. We were also thinking it would be absolutely amazing to renew our vows here in a couple of years and rent out the whole chateau for our vow renewal guests. Doesn’t that sound amazing?!! We are dreaming of going back, but until then, we are reliving our beautiful stay through the photos.
You can check out Le Vieux Chateau for yourself here. They have four gorgeous rooms and we absolutely loved the one we stayed in. Every room comes with breakfast and you can also get dinner by request. The rooms are EXTREMELY reasonably priced, which was really surprising to us. This is one of our favorite places we’ve ever stayed and will be an experience we never forget.