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Kate Morfoot from Love To Eat To Travel goes to France to stay in a French Château and discovers the historic towns of Chambéry and Aix Les Bains
Château de Candie is a refined castle located in Chambéry at the top of Saint Ombre’s Hill, South-East France. It belonged to the Candie family in 1344 and since then it has been bought and sold to rich aristocratic wine makers until it was taken over as a hotel by the French – UK operator, Ski France in 2016. Only ten minutes from Chambéry airport and an hour from Geneva airport, there are 28 bedrooms styled to accommodate large families, couples and even your pet. You can choose from a range of elegant family rooms and suites and luxurious bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms.
Each bedroom is individually decorated, some have four poster beds, some have elegant freestanding baths overlooking the forest. Every bedroom with a name has a biography written about it from Jean Jacques Rosseau, room 107 to Louis I “the pious” room 108.
Across from the château is ‘The Tower’, which is the designated honeymoon accommodation. Inside you can find a lounge and a kitchen with a winding staircase taking you up to a romantic bedroom with an en-suite on the second floor. On the lower-ground floor you will find a decadent spa-bathroom with a large jacuzzi and walk-in shower, fluffy towels and Elemis beauty products.
The château is set within six hectares and there are plans to extend the heated outdoor swimming pool and ambitious ideas coming to fruition for a just over a million euros of investment into a spa launching in spring 2018. In the summer, the management hosts pool parties and DJ’s, bringing a very modern feel to a very old castle.
There’s a gourmet restaurant L’Orangerie set in the heart of the building of the château. Buzzing with French locals, the restaurant prides itself on using regional produce, its fresh homemade bread, home-grown wine from its Viognier grape and its flavoursome cheese trolley. More than fifteen cheeses are displayed and wheeled over to each table to choose from.
It’s delightful in the summer, when you can eat alfresco by sparkling lights overlooking the vineyard. There’s plenty of space to relax in the lounge by the fire.
Less formal is the ‘La Cantine’ restaurant where sumptuous breakfasts and fresh juices are served as well as high-quality lunches overlooking the pool and the valley beyond.
The hotel is managed by Frédéric Claude, who is the former manager of the Waterside Inn at Bray working for Michel Roux. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to running this top French hotel. Château de Candie is a luxury four-star charming destination where you can stay for your pre-ski or après-ski holiday and use as a base to ski at the family and cross-country skiing resort of La Féclaz or visit the nearby town of Chambéry and the spa town of Aix-Les-Bains.
Chambéry is a modern and dynamic town steeped in history just five minutes from Château de Candie. City strolling is a must to capture the historic quarters of the town, the medieval pedestrian streets, the parks, museums and the many cheese shops and cafes. A must-see is La Fontaine des Éléphants ("Elephants Fountain") which is the most famous landmark in the town. It was built in 1838 to honour Benoît de Boigne's feats when he was in India.
Travel in the footsteps of Queen Victoria and visit Aix-Les-Bains, the French Alps Riviera. She was known as the Grandmother of Europe and made three holiday visits to the spa town for three weeks at a time. Here you can walk the Victoria Trail seeing where she and her daughter Beatrice stayed and visited. Aix-Les-Bains is famous for its ‘Lac du Bourget’, the largest natural lake in France. Summer temperatures are high and the Lac du Bourget offers plenty of water sports and green tourism to keep holidaymakers cool and occupied. The thermal spa town and surrounding area offers lots to do and see for families and couples from water sports, the thermal spa, cycling, wine tasting, skiing, arts and culture. There is an abundance of restaurants and cafes in Aix-Les-Bains, but one that stands out for delicious food paired with dynamic wine is the new Restaurant Le 59. The management are the last private owners of Château De Candie and are on track for becoming Michelin-starred success.
Château De Candie is well placed for a weekend escape or a longer break to combine the sights and experiences of the nearby towns for skiing, shopping, water sports and of course, eating and drinking the French way!
How To Book:
Visit www.skifrance.co.uk or call 0203 475 4756
How to Get There:
Direct flights from London Stansted or London City to Chambéry cost from £151 pp with British Airways.
Direct link: www.skifrance.co.uk
Or visit www.skifrance.co.uk or call 0203 475 4756
A week’s stay in a classic room costs from £778 (two sharing). Return flights (London to Chambéry), transfers and food extra.
By Kate Morfoot
from Love To Eat To Travel (www.lovetoeattotravel.com)
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