Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bordeaux, part deux

The most spectacular portion of our recent trip with the in-laws to the Bordeaux region was our lodgings. I found the Château de Langoiran in the book Chambres d’hôtes au Château. It is the first of the châteaux from this book we’ve stayed in, and after our experience I hope it won’t be the last!

We arrived late – at 10pm - but the owners were waiting for us to show us to our rooms. The approach to the castle was something else, the pictures in the book (although fabulous) do not do it justice! Spotlights illuminated the walls towering over the surrounding homes and vineyards, and as we wound our way up the driveway I felt as if we were entering a movie. We parked and then crossed what used to be the moat over an old stone bridge, passed through the giant wooden doors, then crossed through the courtyard. When we booked we had been warned about the stairs, and now we understood what the warning was about! A long, stone staircase led up to the second courtyard, and from there another steep stone staircase before we were at the door to our rooms; this château is not wheelchair accessible, and I would advise arriving earlier for your first check-in time, but provides an adventure to those willing and able.

The château has one room and one suite; we had booked the suite for four people at 100 euro/night. It looked exactly as in the book, with antique furniture including a four-poster bed with canopy, a beautiful china cabinet and candelabrums on the walls. We had a separate room from the grandparents, a bed for Lauris, and in addition there was the shower/toilet room and a tiny kitchenette complete with mini-fridge, stove and cupboards. We could have stayed a week!

The first thing I saw in the morning when I woke up was the most picturesque view; fog from the Garonne river was slowly lifting to reveal rows of grapes, stone outbuildings and poplar trees laden with yellow leaves. Fresh croissants and baguettes awaited us each morning on the doorstep to enjoy with jams and coffee. The mini-fridge was also pre-stocked with milk and juice, and the owners presented us with a local bottle of Bordeaux red to enjoy with lunch/dinner/at Christmas the next day.

I recommend this château highly, not only for the view, price and very warm, pleasant customer service (French, some English, some German spoken), but also for the adventure. The location is ideal as well, perfectly situated 30 minutes from downtown Bordeaux, 45 from St-Émilion, and surrounded by world-famous vineyards, I certainly couldn’t ask for more. 


A quick history of the château according to a leaflet put out by the owners (translated by moi and Google translate) (more information is available on the website):

The Langoiran château was built in the 13th century by the powerful family of Escossan. The tower remains a testament to the past prestige of the lords of Langoiran, who were loyal vassals to the Duke of Aquitaine, King of England.

During the wars of religion, the family of Montferrand owned the château. At the time, the brothers Montferrand, Charles (Catholic) and Guy (Protestant) played a role in the political and religious life of Guyenne. In 1650 the château was destroyed. Abandoned, it was not until 1972 that restoration began.

For over 20 years, the Association “Les Amis du Château” worked to restore the château for cultural, touristic, social and educational purposes. The château now offers a range of services:
·                     A location for weddings, anniversaries or other events.
·                     A gîte in a pleasant environment with exceptional panoramic views over the Garonne.
·                     Different cultural events: dinner-concerts (traditional Gascon, Celtic and jazz music), historic days.
·                     Workshops and interactive learning for schools, universities and recreation centers.

At this point I add that it is possible to visit the château without renting a room for 3 euro/person. Also, the château is a separate business from the winery, which operates next door, the driveway to the château is just beyond the entrance gate to the winery. The owners of the château were enthusiastic to arrange the degustation of wines for us at another local winery and can suggest local restaurants and wineries to visit if you desire.

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