It was a rather significant birthday for my husband in January. Being the selfless wife that I am, I thought perhaps a stay in a castle might take his mind off the fact that he is now officially middle aged. Plus it is 800 years old, so waaay older than him!
We set off early and stopped enroute in a charming spa town called Aix-Les-Bains. No time to check out the thermal spas this time but I put it on my extensive ‘research’ list for next time. We were wandering around in search of a café au lait (yes we sometimes rebel against French culture and have a milky coffee after breakfast!), then I spotted something out the corner of my eye.
Aix-Les-Bains has a cat cafe! Cat cafe’s don’t work so well in Australia because of all our rules and regulations, but here they can pretty much sit in your lap whilst you sip on your coffee like these handsome chaps did. I like to think it was because they could sense I was a cat lover, but I think it could have had something to do with my muffin.
Alas we had to leave our furry friends and carry onto our castle.
Wow. What a castle! It took our breath away as soon as we arrived.
Château de Bagnols, originally built in 1217, is perfectly placed amongst the Beaujolais vineyards and is a sight to behold. As you can imagine over 800 years it has gone through several periods of disrepair and then revitalisation, in 1970 some of the ceilings fell in due to an airplane’s supersonic boom! The recent loving and meticulous restoration also subtly included all the modern conveniences of a five star hotel so it really ticks all boxes.
This is library where we had our aperitifs (my kind of library).
Our beautiful room overlooking the vineyards really made us feel special. The walls are covered in frescos or magnificent original tapestries.
Fabulous tub for a soak! Almost as big as our entire apartment in Sydney.
Of course this opulent castle comes with a Michelin starred restaurant. The stunning dining room has the largest gothic fireplace in Europe (possibly the world, according to our waiter).
The food was exceptional.
Each of our outstanding five courses was delivered to us under silver cloches with a theatrical flourish. Even the bread and butter was next level!
Overall I couldn’t have found a more perfect place to celebrate a special occasion.
Happy Birthday darling husband!