Thoughts on French Travel Planning

Lower Loire Valley

Château des Briottieres

Always on the lookout for interesting, charming, historic, unique or scenic places to visit in France; I discover locales ranging from affordable havens to wallet-busting dreams for the Bucket List.  Perhaps in the latter category, I came across an appealing château in the lower Loire Valley that seems to offer an authentic country manor type of weekend getaway.  Travel is about discovery and balance.  Weighing your preferences, timeline and budget against the many choices available is key to your very personal travel enjoyment.

Château des Briottieres  manages to blend a private family residence with a luxurious 4-star hotel, the kind of ambient marriage that yields comfort, opulence and personal hospitality.  The 18th-century château exudes life on a French country estate and has been in the family of Count François de Valray for the last two hundred years.

Loire Valley France

Breakfast in opulent dining salon!

Apart from your magnificent room or suite, you may enjoy rather plush relaxation among pearl grey panels, parquet floors and rich silk curtains in the Château’s different salons.  As well, you may join your host for cocktails at sunset to gain a glimpse of family life through the years.

Certainly, you can click through to discover more about this step back into aristocratic times, but I re-discovered some of my own advice in researching this area and property.  In my book, Fired Up for France:  The Promise of Paris,  I recommend that you consider some important questions in planning the trip of your dreams – preferences for locations, type of accommodation, privacy, things to do, minimal requirements.  I advise: “Figure out your deal breakers, so you are not disappointed.  Self-examination is a critical first step, as you map travel plans …. There is no right or wrong answer, rather the questions prompt you to … understand yourself and what you want and feel comfortable with in planning your travel.”

Anjou region of France

Spacious Chateau grounds and amenities

Circling back to the Château des Briottieres, I realize that the quiet retreat is the real experience with on-site gardens, pool and tennis; but the region is not teeming with historic sites and shopping destinations.  Some guests seemed put off with having no choice in dinner menus, while others embraced the feeling of dining as guests rather than as customers.

As you make your plans, whether for a remote retreat from the buzz of the world or for a livelier escape with more sights and choices; it’s always helpful to browse through the reviews of former guests.  Even at that, I recognize that some negatives arise precisely because the guest did NOT research or examine the type of experience desired.

For my part, I would welcome the experience offered by Château des Briottieres as an adventure taking me back to days and treasures few of us can imagine.

Don’t hesitate to contact S. Sheridan with questions or specific requests!
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