Glorious Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé
From the moment I disembarked at diminutive Tours Airport I could feel I was in for something special. Driving through sunflower fields and idyllically sleepy villages I felt my sense of expectation growing as we headed deeper into the verdant Loire Valley. Final destination? The village of Le Grande-Luce.
It’s a dreamy sort of village with a church, two boulangeries, a chemist and, bizarrely, three hairdressers. And the piece de resistance (well, we are in France) set proudly in the centre of the village is the Château du Grand-Lucé.
Built by the Baron de Luce in 1764 it’s had a rich and somewhat turbulent history having survived the French Revolution, a rampant fire in the village and two World Wars. In the second one it became a hospital for wounded British military officers and paintings from the Louvre were hidden from the Nazis in a cellar under the stables. Since then it’s been a cinema, a holiday home and a fabulous wedding venue, and from Spring 2019 it opens for the first time as a hotel.
As the heavy black metal gates slowly opened, revealing the sweeping driveway and the imposing, neoclassical chateau, I breathed in the regal air and readied myself to play my part in its incredible history. And to enjoy living like a fairy-tale princess for a while!
Come on in…
The stunning interior shows off high ceilings, sparkling chandeliers and classically elegant decor. There’s a grand pink dining room (you could have some dinners to remember in there), and plenty of plush seating areas for chilling out.
And then it’s time to go upstairs. Wow! How I can imagine dancing down that glorious staircase. The rooms on the first floor are all uniquely decorated, no one is the same. I stayed in the luxury of the Butterfly room, home to the antique wallpaper covered in, guess what, butterflies. Living surrounded by these beautifully delicate creatures quite simply makes life better.
A large double bed with canopy and luxurious linen led to blissful nights of sleep and awakening in butterfly heaven, refreshed and ready to enjoy a new day in Loire heaven.
And from the moment I drew back the curtains (some of the biggest (and heaviest) curtains I’ve ever seen) my heart leapt at the view across the sweeping lawns towards the oak forest in the distance.
The magnificent grounds
Château du Grand-Lucé is set in 80 acres and you’ll find flourishing flower, herb and vegetable gardens, a lake and meadows. The garden is dotted with statues given as a gift from King Louis XV, may of which are exact replicas of statues at Versailles, and crystal chandeliers hang from the avenue of trees. Seriously, chandeliers in the trees – and they come on at night!
There’s a quirky perfectly round swimming pool beside the orangery for lazy, sunny days.
With so much outside space, Château du Grand-Lucé is the perfect place for alfresco dining. Which we did a lot of. Long tables set with crisp linen and decorated with fresh flowers from the garden. You’re off to a good start before you even start eating.
Food glorious food
Okay France is well-known for its stunning cuisine. And the Loire region does offer a lot of local deliciousness. Like these amazing pork rillettes. Melt-in-the-mouth snacking joy! Or how about some pigs in blankets? Impossible to resist.
Here’s a taster of what to expect. I’m warning you…be prepared to salivate!
Perfectly cooked steak served with a creamy Bernaise sauce and roasted vegetables from the chateau’s garden.
And here we are posing in our fabulous, huge windows. It was irresistible. Loved those windows.
Loved Château du Grand-Lucé. A truly fabulous piece of Loire paradise.
Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé opens in June 2019.
Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé is less than an hour’s drive from Tours Airport. It is also less than one hour from Paris by train to Le Mans which is about a half an hour drive away.
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Château du Grand-Lucé, le Grand Luce, Loire Valley, France