It’s time to visit and fall in love with the alluring Loire Valley. My husband and I just returned from a memorable trip to this time honored region and if your experiences are like mine, your week will be exceptional. From tastings at distinctive wineries to tours of châteaus and fortresses steeped in history, from palate pleasing experiences at traditional restaurants and bistros to relaxing walks in the parks or along ancient cobblestone streets, each day will unfold with a new surprise.

Where you stay, however, should be just as breathtaking as the trip you’re planning…and I found the perfect place: Château de Jalesnes. Consider it your French country home in the Loire Valley (if only for a few days).

Located in the quaint village of Vernantes, Château de Jalesnes is only twenty minutes north of Saumur and an easy, four-hour drive from the Charles DeGaulle Airport. As my husband and I drove through the Château gates, our exhaustion from travel dissipated. In front of us was a home so magnificent and inviting, neither of us could imagine staying elsewhere.

“The Château has been rescued by its current owners from a downward spiral of neglect and is being developed in line with its previous glamorous existence as a moated jewel in the collection of châteaux of the Loire Valley.” Michael Halpin, Owner, Château de Jalesnes

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Almost immediately, Michael Halpin, one of the gregarious proprietors of Château de Jalesnes, opened the front door with a warm welcome and led us up the grand marble staircase to our apartment. Prior to our arrival, we had selected a spacious, beautifully appointed one bedroom suite of rooms with a view of the forest, front lawn, clock tower, and moat. Honestly, it was difficult to make that choice. Many surprisingly affordable apartments, all self-catering and ranging from studios to those with two bedrooms, are also decorated with style and feature unique elements not to be missed. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that our space that looked beautiful before we arrived, would be ever so relaxing and warm once we settled in. And with a chilled bottle of Crémant de Loire waiting for us in the refrigerator, we popped the cork and toasted to our visit to the Loire Valley and our stay at Château de Jalesnes.

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The following morning, after a much-needed rest, my husband and I joined Jonathan Cooke, another proprietor, and Michael for a lively and entertaining chat in the main lounge that featured comfortable leather chairs surrounded by tapestries and classical music wafting from the state of the art sound system. Nirvana!!

With a cup of espresso in hand, we asked questions about the surrounding area, listened to stories of the Château, and enjoyed a tour of the incredible property that included the Chapel, crypt (former resting place of the first Marquis and Marquise de Jalesnes), and caves located in the dry moat. We couldn’t have asked for more generous and hospitable hosts; Michael and Jonathan (as well as the friendly chien de la Château, Lou Lou) made us feel like part of the family from the first day to the last.


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Everything about our visit just seemed “right” and I was smitten. Château de Jalesnes felt like home in the bucolic countryside of the Loire Valley. It can be yours, too.

The location is a brilliant getaway for couples, family reunions, girls-only gatherings, a company retreat, …for a weekend, a week, even longer!  I can’t think of a more luxurious venue for a wedding than Château de Jalesnes. (Rent the entire Chateau…it will be difficult to decide which will take your breath away first: your true love or the view from the third floor veranda overlooking the pool and grounds.) And to be honest, if I lived in Paris, this would be my go-to weekend home.

Whether you want to relax and rejuvenate or to discover so much of what the Loire Valley has to offer, Château de Jalesnes should be the only place on your list of places to stay. Why?

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The location is perfect for wine tasting. The Saumur-Champigny region, boasting scores of unique wineries, is minutes away; more wineries in Nantais, Angers, or Chinon are within a 90 minute drive. (Stay tuned for articles about my tastings!)

You’re a foodie? Try traditional fare while dining in a troglodyte cave at Le Restaurant La Table des Fouées in Saumur or any small village restaurant where a bottle of red wine is included in your ample lunch.

History aficionados will be in heaven. Beautiful Châteaux (Château d’Usse and Château de Breze, for example) are a short distance from Château de Jalesnes and one of the largest tank museums in the world, Le Musée des Blindés, is located in Saumur.

Nature lovers will appreciate the forest on the property and the numerous garden-adorned parks throughout the region. Saumur, also known as the capital of equestrian sports, is the center for Comite Equestre de Saumur.

And when you want to simply relax, you can read a book by the pool, take a walk in the adjacent forest, play pentanque on the rink, or tickle the ivories on the aforementioned grand piano. Don’t forget your bottle of Crémant de Loire for leisurely sipping!


Chateau de Jalesnes

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Château de Jalesnes is waiting for you.

It was difficult to leave Michael, Jonathon, Lou Lou, and their mesmerizing property when our stay ended. As our wonderful hosts, now friends, waved us farewell from the front door and our car slowly left the grounds, we vowed to return next year. How could we miss another opportunity to visit the enticing Loire Valley and stay in Château de Jalesnes, an exceptional place that truly felt like home? I hope to see you there, too.

Cheers~ Cindy

Click here to visit the Château de Jalesnes website in order to see a gallery of photographs, to check availability, or to contact the proprietors for more information.

chateau de jalesnes

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