Château de Fontenay in the Touraine province is an ideal destination for a short break as Pascale Hayward discovers with her family
Le Château de Fontenay, owned by Nathalie and Philippe Carli, holds a very enviable position within the Loire Valley. It is surrounded by 49 acres of parkland and forest along with 37 acres of vineyards, le Château offers guests luxury Bed & Breakfast and four-star cottages. It is also a productive wine estate with a selection of award-winning red, white, rosé and sparkling wines.
Le Château’s history dates back to 1680 and in its original incarnation was a working estate with a mill, bakery and vineyard. Unfortunately, the original property was burned to the ground by the Prussian army in 1871 and rebuilt 20 years later by a Parisian architect and painter.
Nathalie and Philippe Carli fell in love with this charming château in 2006 and undertook the mammoth project of transforming and renovating le château, its multiple outbuildings and the park and gardens. The end result is a beautiful haven for fans of high-quality history -laden properties in France, suitable for a short break.
Nathalie runs all aspects of the business on the estate, managing staff, handling enquiries, greeting guests and visitors and is also the organiser of the property’s activities such as wine tasting and the culinary workshops.
Luxury Bed & Breakfast rooms and 4-star cottages
Château de Fontenay offers four beautifully decorated and stylish rooms all overlooking the river Cher and the adjoining countryside. The price per night and per room varies according to the size and season.
For the B&B guests, home-made breakfast is a real treat with home-grown products from the estate such as jam, fruits and honey, and fresh cakes baked by Nathalie daily. The breakfast is served in the Château’s large dining room and during the summer months under the pergola with views onto the superb swimming pool.
The three holiday cottages can be rented from 2 nights onwards. All are well equipped and provide space for outdoor dining. Guests who book in advance can order meals prepared by the chefs upon arrival and during their stay or a specially prepared picnic.
The outdoor heated swimming pool and its sun loungers are one of the main attractions and an ideal place to relax and unwind. Aside from the lovely walks, you can try your hand at some cycling (bikes available with a deposit) so you can explore thoroughly the beautiful parkland and forest surrounding Le Château.
With the range of activities on offer, guests really are spoilt for choice, how about a visit to Château de Chenonceau, one of the most beautiful castles in the Loire Valley, just 6 kilometres away or cycling from le Château de Fontenay along the river Cher.
You also might consider visiting Le Château du Clos Lucé where Leonardo da Vinci lived from 1516 until his death in 1519 and the beautiful medieval town of Amboise with its well-known Château. You will find several leaflets in their cottage or inside Le Château to give them ideas of places to visit and also eat out.
For anyone who enjoys cycling, the Loire Valley is a beautiful place to ride with many tracks along rivers, vineyards, royal parks and the countryside.
A wine growing estate respectful of the environment.
The Estate boasts 37 acres of vineyards where artisan winemaker Didier Corby, in collaboration with the Carli, produces a variety of Red wines (Gamay, Cabernet and Malbec grapes), White wines (Sauvignon, Chenin and Chardonnay grapes), Rosé (Grolleau grapes) and sparkling wines (traditional method).
Fontenay wines have the Appellation AOP Touraine (AOP: Protected Designation of Origin) and this year also gained the AOP Touraine Chenonceau Designation due to the proximity to Le Château of Chenonceau.
To continue the ‘in-house’ home grown wine making theme, Nathalie and Philippe has even gone so far to name four of the wines after their children.
- La Réserve de Jean (Jean-Louis): cabernet franc and côt- fruity and intense red.
- Les Vignes de Paul (Paul-Henry): 100% côt (Malbec) – red purple and spicy red wine.
- Le Clos Hortense (Marie-Hortense): sparkling 100% Chardonnay harvested by hand-citrus fruits and white flowers.
- Les Rangs de Pierre (Pierre-Olivier): half dry white from Chenin-intense, subtle and fruity.
5 other wines (including the delicious rosés) complete the range.
Visits to the vineyards, wineries and wine cellars can be provided to guests upon request as well as wine tastings at Le château. The wines can be purchased directly at Le Château, at wine fairs in France, in specialist shops or on-line.
We visited Le Château de Fontenay on three occasions consisting of an overnight stay in the Empire B&B room, two weeks in the holiday cottage “Le Jardin” and last year “La Closerie” with English and Scottish friends.
My family and friends absolutely adore it here, it’s not just about the place, it’s also about the people living there. Nathalie and Philippe are both charming and welcoming people, taking time out to chat to their guests. You shouldn’t just take my word for it, read the 107 x 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor and I’m sure you’ll find that my experience is a shared experience.
Le Château de Fontenay – Where and How
Le Château de Fontenay
Tel: + 33 (0)2 47 57 12 74
Enquiries: [email protected]