Our choice of fabulous hotels and restaurants in the region around Paris.
Related article: Day Trips from Paris: From Champagne Country to Artist Villages
Airelles Le Grand Contrôle, Château de Versailles
Airelles has made history by opening the first hotel ever to lie within the grounds of the Château de Versailles. Now guests can sleep in the same locations where Napoleon feasted on enormous banquets, where Marie Antoinette celebrated her wedding and where scandals and subterfuge were rife. The 14 glamorous rooms look like royal apartments, decorated with period furniture and glittering chandeliers, while the Airelles website promises that guests are “treated like nobility at every opportunity”. Private behind-the-scenes tours at the palace are available for guests too.
Auberge Ravoux, Auvers-Sur-Oise
Also known as the Maison de Van Gogh, this restaurant celebrates the painter’s life and marks the special relationship he had with the town that became his final resting place. A meal here, where he spent 70 days as a lodger and painted prolifically, is highly recommended. Due to reopen to the public in March 2022, the auberge serves fine food and wine from its cellars at the table where Van Gogh himself once sat.
Château La Tour du Roy
Located 2.5 hours from Paris by car, this hotel is well worth the journey. The historic location where Henri IV was crowned, it allows guests to stay in the very tower where the coronation took place. Period-specific gastronomic cuisine is served in the medieval dining room to add to the vintage atmosphere, while antique furnishings are presented throughout. It has even played host to Napoleon and Charles de Gaulle in its time.
Domaine Les Crayères, Reims
This five-star château is the ultimate luxurious bolt-hole in which to base yourself to enjoy travels in the Champagne region, offering direct views over the cathedral of Reims and decor that’s classically French in style. When hunger calls, the two Michelin-starred restaurant Le Parc will satisfy pangs. The five-course Promenade en Champagne menu has tantalising offerings such as wild razor clams with Chardonnay champagne bubbles and champagne-infused chocolate and coral waffles with caviar.
Relais Chambord, Loire Valley
Locations rarely come better than this. Directly in front of the imposing 440-room Château de Chambord, this five-star property allows guests to sip champagne at a dinner table while gazing directly across at it. Activities include hot air balloon excursions, horseback riding trips, carriage rides that imitate the royal experience, specially arranged visits to vineyards and boat trips along the river.
Château de la Bourdaisière
This 15th-century restored Renaissance château, close to Tours and Amboise, is still lived in for small parts of the year by an eccentric prince, Louis Albert de Broglie, who is passionate about tomatoes and has overseen the growth of many varieties on the château’s grounds, as well as writing a book about them and hosting an annual tomato festival here. Inside, faded grandeur is the style, while taxidermy animals and birds – from boar heads and roe deer to feathered peacocks – are on display. An unforgettably unique experience.
Ore by Alain Ducasse, Château de Versailles
There are few restaurants as aesthetically iconic as Ore, situated within the palatial Château de Versailles. Taking its name from the Latin word for ‘mouth’, it promises to deliver sensory pleasure through its range of high-quality dishes. Traditional French menus include confit duck foie gras with toasted brioche, while afternoon teas are inspired by Marie Antoinette. The restaurant is especially charged with romance on summer evenings when dinner is taken as a prelude to the Grandes Eaux Nocturnes – a combination of musical fountains and celebratory fireworks. Plus you won’t want to miss the Louis XIV signature chocolate dessert!
La Table du Connétable, Auberge du Jeu de Paume, Chantilly
Greeted at the door first by a wooden carousel horse and then by obliging staff who are at the height of the French culinary scene, a warm welcome is had by all at this restaurant. The hotel is situated on the Domaine de Chantilly country estate, close to the château and its Museum of the Horse, and delicious local dishes are made using nuts and vegetables grown in its grounds. From foie gras terrine with Amarena cherries to sumptuous melt-in-the-mouth caviar atop beef tartare, its Michelin star is well deserved.
From France Today Magazine