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Four extravagant stays in the Loire Valley, France

Revamped palaces and arty treehouses await in France’s bucolic chateau country.

Published 1 May 2021, 08:00 BST, Updated 5 May 2021, 10:35 BST
The Corner King Suite at Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé has views out towards an beautiful belle époque-style ...

The Corner King Suite at Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé has views out towards an beautiful belle époque-style building.

Photograph by Michael Spengler

1. Loire Valley Lodges

Deep within the forest yet still close to many of the region’s chateaux, this newly opened hotel is one of a kind. Made up of 18 upscale treehouses and a renovated farmhouse, the Loire Valley Lodges are scattered across a 750-acre private forest outside Tours. 

It’s a contrast to the palatial reputation of this patch of central France, but these stilted treehouses come with a certain cachet; each exhibits the design of a contemporary artist. French artist Jacques Bosser created the black-and-white Uzume lodge and several artists came together to pay tribute to the musician Serge Gainsbourg in the Lucien hideaway. Rooms come with king-sized beds and dining areas but — given the fact these spaces are geared towards digital detox — there’s no TV or wi-fi. For that you’ll have to head to the main building, which also houses a restaurant, lounge and bar leading out to a pool lined with sun loungers. And the art theme doesn’t stop there — a contemporary sculpture trail winds through the surrounding woods.

It’s one of a growing number of new properties in the area that are rooted in their locale, made even clearer by the food. Chef Hippolyte Delcher draws heavily on local produce for the restaurant menus, including herbs and berries grown in the aromatic courtyard, and breakfast baskets of fresh bread, honey and locally made yoghurt are also left at each treehouse lodge each morning. 

There’s forest bathing for further immersion in nature, and the lodges are well-placed for an insight into the local culture: cycle to the village of Esvres, take a vineyard tour or explore one of the region’s spectacular chateaux. From €285 (£255) B&B.

2. Les Sources de Cheverny

Two decades after opening Les Sources de Caudalie among Bordeaux’s vines, the owners extended their collection last September with this reimagined estate south of Blois. There are 49 rooms styled with antiques across the wooden cabins, renovated farmhouses and restored chateau. From €230 (£206), B&B.

3. Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé

Historic grandeur meets Versailles-inspired grounds at this summer palace. The 12 suites boast original features such as boiserie and culinary creations are packed into picnic hampers or served with local wines in the new restaurant, Le Lucé. From €950 (£850) B&B.

4. Le Relais de Chambord

The restored outbuilding at the iconic Chateau de Chambord houses cosy modern rooms and a classic French restaurant. Guests can even bed down on a boat — last summer saw the La Toue du Relais suite open on a traditional Loire boat on the chateau’s moat. From €206 (£185) B&B.

Published in the April 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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