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Staying in Auxerre, France
Set in rolling countryside in the Burgundy region of France, a 16th century French Chateau in the village of Chevannes, near Auxerre was our home for four nights during our four week family road trip.
History of Chateau de Ribourdin
Chateau de Ribourdin is an historic French castle dating back to the early 1500’s. Originally it served as a fortress, becoming a farm house during the 19th century and it now operates as an excellent Bed & Breakfast.
When Claude and Marie-Claude Brodard and their family originally purchased the castle, it had been used as a farm storage shed for many years and was an a state of decrepit disrepair.
Over many years they lovingly restored the original building to its former glory. The magnificent Chateau remains the family home today.
In 1995 they began restoration of the outbuildings, to provide five guest rooms and a communal dining room decorated in an authentic style in keeping with the main Chateau.
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Climbing the heavy oak staircase, you get the feel you are inside an authentic country manor. The guest house provides elegant accommodation evoking a distinct period charm.
Son Matthias shared with us his plans to further extend the guest accommodation over coming years to provide larger family rooms as well.
Claude and Marie- Claude do not speak English, but nonetheless our welcome was warm. Claude gave us a tour of the guest accommodation and could not have done more to ensure our stay was both enjoyable and comfortable. A bright smile, warm handshake and jovial manner always cross the language barriers. Simple touches like finding a tablecloth and cutlery set out for our evening picnic in the gardens made our stay very memorable.
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Our rooms were immaculately clean and comfortable, all with ensuite bathroom. Despite the modern facilities, the rooms still evoke the charm of staying in a real French Chateau.
Kes and Phillip, Ian and myself enjoyed queen size rooms on the first floor with views over the garden. Stuart and Damon were very comfortable in the downstairs twin room, which would provide very easy disabled access.
Guests are welcome to make use of the extensive gardens, the heated swimming pool and the kitchen facilities in the communal dining area.
The Chateau does not provide evening meals, so on our first night we chose to take the short drive to Auxerre for an authentic French restaurant meal. The remainder of our stay we enjoyed a large restaurant lunch , self catering for our evening meal.
We spent long summer evenings in the garden, enjoying a picnic dinner with produce sourced from the local villages and sipping local wines. Foxes frolicking in the adjacent wheat fields provided great entertainment one evening.
With temperatures in the high 30’s, a cooling dip in the swimming pool before relaxing on the pool loungers was a welcome finish to our afternoons.
Chateau de Ribourdin is set among crop fields, hedges enclosing the expansive lawns. The garden features ornamental beds, an extensive vegetable patch and orchards, which provided produce each morning for our breakfast table.
Claude proudly gave us a tour of his vegetable patch, which he tends daily during the summer months.
Son Matthias Brodard and his partner now run the Chateau and do speak limited English. They were more than happy to help us plan our day’s sightseeing as they served our breakfast in the garden on freshly ironed tablecloths. An array of maps and tour-guides are available in the reception hall for guests’ convenience.
We started each day with freshly baked breads and pastries, a selection of fruits and meat, and home made yoghurt. There was also a selection of delectable preserves made by Mme Brodard from their own garden. Of course there was also freshly brewed coffee, tea and chocolat au lait.
On our last morning Matthias gave a tour of the ancient dove-cote, where previous lords kept their pigeons over countless centuries. He gave amusing anectdotes of he and his brother’s earlier attempts to keep “one or two pigeons” turning into a plague of birds.
We took many fond memories with us from our stay at Chateau de Ribourdin. Hopefully one day we can relive our picnics in the gardens.
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