I’ve always been a sucker for fairy tales, medieval legends, mythologies, and stories about fantasy lands, kings and queens. So, imagine my giddiness when I spent a few days and nights relaxing in an 18th century chateau in Normandy!
After wrapping up a fabulous few days of chateau-hopping in the Loire Valley, we checked into our own room at the Château de Boucéel on our way into Normandy. The existing chateau was built in 1763, but is located on a rolling, green, tree-speckled estate that dates back to the 12th century.
Stepping onto the grounds was like stepping into a far away land, in a long-gone era.
The grass was soft and green, stretching out across the length of the estate and over gently sloping hills. Old, thick trees with swaying branches were dotted across the land, among fluffy green bushes and trickling streams.
Two sweet donkeys with soft, gray fur lazily roamed the grounds, waiting for us to share pieces and crumbs from our baguettes, which we did often.
It was all too easy to absorb the 18th century magic of this place. Thoughts of cell phones, social media, work and school drifted away in the breezy French countryside air.
The inside of the chateau was a prefect preservation of a time gone by. Oil paintings, antique furniture, dusty bound books, wood-paneled ceilings and heavy drapes created an aura of medieval mystery. Believe me, it’s all but impossible to wake up to papered walls, marble statues, creaky wood floors and old portraits and not feel like you’ve woken up as a princess in a fairy tale castle.
The dream didn’t end there, however–if you woke up early enough, you could tiptoe downstairs and join in on a family style French breakfast, prepared by your lovely hosts.
After breakfast, one of my favorite pastimes was roaming the grounds and finding secret spots to relax and rest. There’s a chapel, an old bakery, and several other stone-walled cottages and buildings peppered across the estate, each more enchanting than the last.
Nothing was more relaxing than strolling the grounds and finding a shady, grassy spot to sit and soak in the country charm. I would bring a book and a baguette, and snack idly while getting lost in a story about queens, and castles, and knights.
Heaven. On. Earth.
I’d always share my leftover bread with the donkeys and the geese–but okay, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Stay away from the geese! I have no idea what made these geese so angsty or why they were so offended by my presence, but they were clearly not happy when I came around! Seriously, no matter how much bread I shared or how slowly I approached, they would not relent with their honking, biting, hissing and chasing. One of them even charged at me! #nochill
But in all seriousness, the Bouceel estate was the epitome of old world tranquility. I’m pretty sure it’s right up there with the Shire and Sherwood Forest for relaxing natural havens. And honestly, no matter your age or background, I challenge you to stay here without feeling like French royalty visiting your summer home each and every day.
Another plus of this chateau is that its a short-distance from both Mont Saint-Michel and Saint-Malo, both of which we paid a visit to during our reign as French royalty.
Paris may always be a good idea, but summering like Marie Antoinette is an even better idea.
Have you ever stayed in a castle or chateau? If so, where? I’d love to hear about it! If not, what’s the coolest accommodation you’ve ever stayed in?