When planning our trip to the Loire Valley, I was absolutely overwhelmed at the sheer magnitude of accommodation options. Not only is the Loire region itself quite vast, but there are also a plethora of hotels, estates, and inns to fit every taste, style, and budget. Did we want to stay in the heart of one of the Loire’s quaint villages? Or in a historic country home in the forest? Or an ancient chateau? After months of research, I stumbled upon Chateau de la Barre and instantly knew that it was the right fit for us.
The property has been owned by Count and Countess de Vanssay since 1404, and the sheer amount of history in each and every room is absolutely remarkable. From the china we dined on to the toile-covered walls of our room, every single item in the Vanssay home had a story. One interesting fact is that Count Guy and Countess Marnie actually live in Chateau de la Barre, and they simply rent a few rooms out to the lucky guests who discover the magical property.
During quiet afternoons we would sit outside under the shade of an ancient oak tree, sipping local cider while playing with the chateau’s two house dogs – Margo and Tutut. When the heat subsided (France was going through a major heat wave at that time), we enjoyed wandering the gardens and nearby pastures which were filled with baby lambs.
One of the most memorable nights of our entire trip was when we dined with Count de Vanssay and the chateau’s other guests in his 17th century dining room. We were the only Americans, and it was so entertaining trying to carry on conversations bouncing back and forth between French to English to German. Staying at Chateau de la Barre was a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
For more of my adventures in France: Provence Sunrises | Gordes in Provence | Loumarin in Provence | Fields of Poppies | The Towns of the Loire Valley | Chateau de Chenonceau | Sailing the Mediterranean | Etretat, Normady | A Chic Hotel in Normandy