What better way to experience Alencon, Normandy's City of Dukes, than by booking a stay in an achingly romantic French Chateau? While exploring with Normandy Tourism and Alencon Tourism we stayed in the beautiful Chateau de Saint Paterne, a family owned fairytale of whimsical pointed towers, airy bedrooms with canopied four poster beds and free standing bathtubs and expansive grounds to stroll.
Just 6 minutes drive from Alencon's historic centre, 15th century Chateau de Saint Paterne awaits in the Normandy countryside. The owners Charles-Henry and Ségolène are very much present and welcoming - you will feel like guests in a family home. In the evenings, we were all invited to aperitifs in the lounge full of period furniture while a log fire crackled. Dinner is served at 8pm, a 3 course set menu of sumptuous French cooking paired with a wonderful wine list, and in the mornings a luxurious breakfast buffet is laid out. With the wooden shutters thrown open to the 2.5 acres of parkland, you might be lucky enough to spot a deer tiptoeing our of the woodlands and across the grounds while you enjoy your morning coffee!
There is lots to do during your stay at Chateau de Saint Paterne, from badminton, ping pong and petanque, exploring the woodlands and relaxing with a digestif and book in front of the fire. The hotel can arrange a yoga class for you in the grounds, shiatsu massage or bikes to borrow, and in summer months until the end of September, an outdoor heated pool is available for guests.
The Chateau's 11 bedrooms are absolutely dreamy. We stayed in the Chambre de Mystères (room of mysteries), tucked away at the top of a Rapunzel style tower and accessed via a secret 52 step stone staircase, the door hidden behind the wallpaper. Looking out over the parkland, the room is decorated in red and black with an eclectic display of curious objects and the bathroom, with a freestanding tub and walk in shower, his and her sinks and a comfortable seating area is as big again as the bedroom!
You can read our complete guide to Alencon for more inspiration for your trip. Famous worldwide for its UNESCO protected lace making technique, Alencon has a beautiful historic old town full of half timbered buildings and medieval shophouses, the impressive Notre Dame Basilica and the mighty remains of a castle with a history ranging from the Normans to the Gestapo! Why not contact Alencon Tourism to arrange a French cooking class or visit to a cider farm?
While you're in the area, you could also take a short side trip to stunning Saint Ceneri le Gerei, voted one of the most beautiful villages in France. Only 14km away from Alencon in the Alpes Mancelles region, tiny Saint Ceneri le Gerei combines picture perfect rustic houses with a historic church and pilgrimage chapel, in beautiful location on the Sarthe River. To help you plan, we've written a visitors' guide to what to do in Saint Ceneri le Gerei.
Disclosure: Our stay at Chateau de Saint Paterne was included as part of an organised press trip, but we were not paid to post and as always, all opinions are our own!
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