Have you ever dreamt about a romantic castle in France with ivy growing on it, a pool, walking distance to a boulangerie for fresh croissants in the morning? Well, Chateau Raysse is your dream-come-true.
Chateau Raysse is a stunning Mediaeval chateau located in the Dordogne region of Southwest France, constructed in the twelfth and seventeenth centuries. The ancient estate of 12 hectares comprises three main rental properties, two swimming pools and even a knight in shining armor.
Poshbrood stayed in the Chateau that comprises three living rooms and seven bedrooms. This is the ultimate escape for groups and family reunions/celebrations/weddings. The charming estate includes two other rental properties, La Maison Du Parc, a converted annex that sleeps up to 18 people and Le Pigeonnier, a reworked pigeon house that sleeps up to five. (A perfect place for your mother-in-law, don't you think?)
Chateau Raysse is conveniently located just outside of Souillac, close to the Dordogne River, biking paths and many of the museums, historic Medieval towns, pre-historic caves, fortified villages and the incredible castles that seem to loom around ever bend.
The Chateau has 20 acres of meadows, centennial trees and wilderness. Shallow sunshine shards dapple secluded spots in the expansive gardens and desultory walks snake through the woods.
Our kids went bananas to learn that there were two donkeys - Vanille and Chocolat -- who call Chateau Raysse home. We spent a lot of time feeding them carrots.
The property has two swimming pools, a steam room, a secure trampoline and a full-size snooker table. We were visiting off-season so the pool was not operational but the kids spent a ton of time on that trampoline!
Chateau Raysse had two lovely live-in caretakers, Jenny from Ireland and Laurent from France.
They were so welcoming and had nutella, bread, fruit, cheese, wine and juice awaiting for us on arrival. Jenny had stocked the fridge with yogurts, fruit, and other basics for us too.
The kitchen is large and fun to cook in and we enjoyed having meals at the manor table by the gigantic medieval fire.
The chateau has a twisty staircase to the castle's tower, the oldest part of the castle dating from 1155.
You can crawl right up to the top and see the arrow slits and the murder hole to pour hot oil on any intruders before they reached the tower. Our girls loved it!
The adults stayed in a master bedroom with a huge terrace, dressing room and large bath with shower, double sinks and soaking tubs.
The girls were right down the stunning Versailles-looking hall and could have had their own rooms, there were so many.
The beds were very comfortable (they are not always in France!) and large King beds. The sunsets and sunrises from our balcony were spectacular; this is one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
Souillac which is a quick 5 minute drive away has a supermarché, drug store, wine store and other necessities before you get to the old center of town. Also, on the way to Souillac there is a lovely family restaurant, Les Tilleuls that serves traditional French fare (think fois gras and salade chevre) in a friendly atmosphere. It was a fabulous meal and excellent value.
We loved exploring nearby towns, local markets and castles.
Jenny and Laurent gave us wonderful advice on what to do with kids on each day. Raining? Go to the underground prehistoric caves, sunny, we hit Rocamodour, the beautiful and important pilgrimage destination built over 1,000 years ago into a cliff.
Built on the site of a shrine to a Madonna, the shrine became famous for its healing powers, and soon became a stop on the pilgrimage path to Santiago de Campostela. The town alone is worth the stop, postcard fairy tale village!
The famous town of Sarlat and the breathtaking village of La Roque Gageac are just 20 minutes from Chateau Raysse. Don't miss a boat ride in La Roque Gageac!
We had a lovely five days at Chateau Raysse and cannot wait to return to this lovely castle and region of France!
The Chateau Raysse can be rented via Simply Chateau for as little as $3300 per week for the Maison Parc building that sleeps 18. The entire chateau complex can be rented from $8,600 a week and sleeps 35. (That's $237 pp per week -- that's quite a deal!)
0845 389 9582