Spending a couple of weeks in a chateau with a retinue of staff and massages on tap doesn’t have to be a distant dream.
Endless bedrooms and acres of living space in these fabulous French properties make them an excellent option for going on holiday as part of a big group.
And once the cost is divided, you won’t need to break the bank to play Lord of the Manoir. In fact, one of them can be enjoyed for just £10 per person per night (pppn)…
1. Chateau Noble, Gascony
Chateau Noble has its own coat of arms, a grand salon with a magnificent fireplace, three feet-thick walls that keep it fresh in summer and warm in winter, two towers, seven bathrooms, and two pigeonniers in the 40-acre gardens
Where: Samatan, 35 miles from Toulouse airport.
Castle credentials: Built 400 years ago by a lord using funds gifted to him for his service in war by King Louis XIII. Chateau Noble has its own coat of arms, a grand salon with a magnificent fireplace, three feet-thick walls that keep it fresh in summer and warm in winter, two towers, seven bathrooms, and two pigeonniers in the 40-acre gardens.
Sleeps: 15 in seven bedrooms.
Royal treatment: Welcome drinks and canapes on arrival, daily maid service and on-site concierge. There is also access to a private chef, butler, bar-stocking and shopping service and massages.
Price: £6,657 per week, or £63.40pppn. oliverstravels.com
2. Chateau de Villejovet, Loire Valley
Chateau de Villejovet in the Loire Valley was built in 1700, and there are romantic four-poster beds in many of the bedrooms. Above, a view of the sitting room, complete with an impressive chandelier
Where: Ardentes, nine miles from the city of Chateauroux and 100 miles from Limoges airport.
Castle credentials: The property was built in 1700, and there are romantic four-poster beds in many of the bedrooms, including the stunning tower room, which also features a huge bathroom and large round window overlooking the garden. There are also eight other bathrooms. The grounds, totalling 15 acres, slope down to the River Indre, where guests can fish. A further 300 acres of surrounding parkland are there to be explored.
Sleeps: 20 with ten bedrooms.
Royal treatment: Choose between dining in the Provencal-style kitchen or the atmospheric wine cellar, which can seat 40. Need a bit more space? More guests can be accommodated in an old smithy in the grounds at extra cost.
Price: From £1,838 per week, or £13.12pppn. cottages.com
3. Chateau de Villers, Picardy
Chateau de Villers in Picardy is an 18th Century chateau, where you can relax in opulent period interiors stuffed with antiques
Where: Three miles from Beauvais airport and 51 miles from Paris.
Castle credentials: A marvellous 18th Century chateau, where you can relax in opulent period interiors stuffed with antique furniture. Arrive first to nab the room up the spiral staircase in the turret and be rewarded with incredible views over the grounds.
Sleeps: 19 in ten bedrooms.
Royal credentials: Eat in style at the two grand tables in the huge dining room. Fancy a bit of exercise afterwards to work off some calories? Explore the garden or play a set of two of tennis on the court within the grounds. Paris is just an hour’s drive away – any children in the party might enjoy a day at Parc Asterix, a theme park based on the famous French comic book creation. Alternatively, the city of Beauvais has a spectacular cathedral.
Price: From £1,408 per week, or £10.59pppn. cottages.com
4. Chateau des Bois, Dordogne
Chateau des Bois in Dordogne is a stunning former monastery, which sits in 180 acres of gardens and woodland. It even has its own lake with a jetty and rowing boat
Where: In the village of Mauzens-et-Miremont, less than an hour from Bergerac airport.
Castle credentials: This stunning former monastery sits in 180 acres of gardens and woodland, and has its own lake with a jetty and rowing boat. There is also a swimming pool, sunbathing terrace and a charming wisteria-covered outdoor dining area with a sunken firepit. If any teenagers or grandparents in your extended group need their own space during your stay, look no further than the separate Maison d’Amis annexe.
Sleeps: 20 – 12 in six bedrooms in the main house, and eight in four bedrooms in Maison d’Amis.
Royal treatment: A tasting evening at the chateau with a wine merchant can be arranged. The local yoga teacher will hold one-to-one or group sessions in the on-site studio, and a florist can also be booked for flower-arranging classes.
Price: From £7,100 per week, or £50.71pppn. simply-perigord.com
5. Chateau De Montcaud, Provence
Chateau De Montcaud in Provence is a palatial chateau built in 1848 for a wealthy silk manufacturer. Above, a view of the pool
Where: Sabran, about 40 miles from Nimes airport.
Castle credentials: A palatial chateau built in 1848 for a wealthy silk manufacturer that has been painstakingly renovated by a Swiss couple who reopened it as a luxury hotel last July.
Sleeps: Up to 70 guests.
Royal treatment: Perfect for large celebrations – weddings, birthdays and anniversaries – as all meals are laid on in the chateau’s fine-dining restaurant, set in converted former stables with stunning views over a 12-acre park. Enjoy cookery classes or a seat at the chef’s table, then work it off in the pool, on the tennis courts or with a gentle turn around the herb garden.
Price: From £35,000 for two nights and three days, including all meals – or £250pppn. chateaudemontcaud.com
6. Chateau de Vezins, Loire Valley
Chateau de Vezins is an idyllic chateau dating from the 18th Century with all the modern luxuries of a five-star hotel
Where: Vezins, an hour’s drive from Nantes airport.
Castle credentials: Idyllic chateau dating from the 18th Century with all the modern luxuries of a five-star hotel. The chateau has seven reception rooms, including a playroom stuffed with toys, a Napoleon-style music room with gilded walls and an antique grand piano, a gym and yoga studio.
Sleeps: 12 in nine bedrooms.
Royal treatment: Sip a well-earned glass of champagne in the hot tub and soak up views of the enchanting seven-acre gardens that includes a moat, Japanese gardens with carp pond and bridge, formal gardens with fountains, as well as a pool, trampoline and treehouse.
Price: From £6,300 per week, or £75pppn. rentals.thirdhome.com
7. Chateau de Lalande, Indre
Chateau de Lalande is a magnificent 16th Century turreted chateau once owned by Louis XIV’s cousin, La Grande Mademoiselle, and furnished with charming antiques, including a baby grand piano, and beautiful open fireplaces
Where: Crozon-sur-Vauvre, a 90-minute drive from Limoges airport.
Castle credentials: Magnificent 16th Century turreted chateau once owned by Louis XIV’s cousin, La Grande Mademoiselle, and furnished with charming antiques, including a baby grand piano, and beautiful open fireplaces. The property is set in 60 acres of peaceful woodland and meadows.
Sleeps: 22 in 13 bedrooms.
Royal treatment: A catering team at the chateau can cook for you using home-grown produce – there is a large organic vegetable garden, orchard, and hives that produce the property’s own honey.
Price: From £906 a night or £41.18pppn. rentals.thirdhome.com
8. Villa Clarisse, Ile de re
Villa Clarisse is located on the idyllic Ile de Re, in the Bay of Biscay. La Rochelle airport is just ten miles away
Where: St Martin, on idyllic Ile de Re, in the Bay of Biscay. La Rochelle airport is just ten miles away.
Castle credentials: Shabby chic-style 18th Century hotel with charming white-washed rooms and a heated outdoor pool.
Sleeps: Up to 18 guests in its nine bedrooms. Can be hired exclusively.
Royal treatment: Fly to La Rochelle and the Villa Clarisse team offer a chauffeur service for the 30-minute journey over the bridge to Ile de Re. The staff will also lay on breakfast and can provide a private chef. Villa Clarice is perfectly situated for bike rides across the trails that cover the island, and wine-lovers adore this place too. A visit to Chateau Clarisse, Villa Clarisse’s vineyard two-and- a-half hours away in St Emilion, is a must for wine-tasting sessions and lunch. Return chauffeur-driven transfers are provided.
Price: From £9,000 per week, including breakfast, or £71.43pppn. villa-clarisse.com
9. Manoir Normand, Normandy
Manoir Normand in Normandy is a restored 18th Century chateau with four drawing rooms, a large enclosed garden, pool table, wine cellar, home cinema, hot tub, sauna and lots of board games to keep guests entertained
Where: Bayeux, within easy reach of Cherbourg and Le Havre ferry ports.
Castle credentials: This restored 18th Century chateau is in the heart of the historic village, so you can walk to the boulangerie and restaurants and see the world-famous tapestry at the Bayeux museum. The chateau itself has four drawing rooms, a large enclosed garden, pool table, wine cellar, home cinema, hot tub, sauna and lots of board games to keep guests entertained.
Sleeps: 14 in seven bedrooms.
Royal treatment: Your concierge will arrange catering, maid service, guided tours and bike rentals – and even throw in a bottle of calvados for you to enjoy.
Price: From £4,761 per week, or £48.58pppn. oliverstravels.com
10. Chateau Belle Vie, Pas de Calais
Chateau Belle Vie, which is a 30-minute drive from the Eurotunnel terminal at Calais, was built in the 1880s. Above, a picture of the grand dining hall
Where: St Omer, a 30-minute drive from the Eurotunnel terminal at Calais.
Castle credentials: Built in the 1880s, with an impressive entrance hall and grand staircase, Chateau Belle Vie also has fun touches such as indoor mini-tennis, a snooker room, table-tennis table and an indoor trampoline room. It is set in ten acres of gardens and woodland, with the River Aa running through the grounds.
Sleeps: 26 in 12 bedrooms.
Royal treatment: You’ll be greeted by a welcome hamper full of local delicacies and a glass of champagne on arrival. Fridge-stocking and catering are available, along with concierge services.
Price: From £4,655 per week, or £25.58pppn. oliverstravels.com