This fantastic 'chic chateau' in the Haute Vienne area of the Limousin sleeps up to 12 plus children, in seven bedrooms. Its interiors are elegant and contemporary, yet refreshingly relaxed and comfortable making it perfect for style-savvy families hoping to combine a glamorous group getaway with a family-friendly atmosphere. Best of all, it blends the freedom, flexibility and space of a rental with optional gourmet chef and housekeeping services making it more akin to having an exclusive boutique hotel for sole use. It is surprisingly affordable too with rates as low as £20 per person per night at some times of the year. Plus there's a handy list of nursery gear (see grey box) and professional childcare services available making all the ingredients of a very special break for parents.
The Château's grounds are as impressive as it interior, with its own 4-acre walled park, the estate provides huge amounts of space for safe play and exploration, yet many shady spots undercover of ancient trees for quiet relaxation too. The glamorous 12m x 6m heated pool is accessorised with numerous designer loungers and naturally filtered, making it kind on young skin and eyes. There's also alfresco dining sets for 12 poolside and in front of the Château, allowing for casual daytime dining by the pool, and relaxing evenings chatting under the stars against the back drop of your impressive and softly lit home from home, whilst little ones are tucked up safe in bed dreaming of the next day's adventures which generally start with a egg collecting hunt, with the obliging resident chickens.
Inside, the two sitting rooms make for an ideal set up for family groups. The bright and elegant drawing room with its large sofa and chairs and view of the fountain, is ideal as a peaceful grown ups retreat and is especially cosy in the winter with its efficient log burner. The TV/sitting room, with it numerous sofas is great as a family space, especially given that it leads through to the dining room, so parents can gather around the table with food and drinks, whilst mini guests wind down in front of a pre-bed film.
The elegant dining room comfortably seats 12 at the designer B&B Italia table and has stunning views over the countryside towards the local town of Le Dorat. In winter you can see the church spire 3kms away whilst in the summer the scent of the lime trees drifts into the sunlit room. The comfortable leather chairs make dining a relaxing treat, especially if dinner has been prepared by the host, whilst the famous white Limoges porcelain makes every meal feel special.
The kitchen has steps leading straight out to the garden, which is handy for dining by the pool in summer. It is fully equipped with everything a good kitchen should have such as an electric cooker with gas hob, dishwasher, coffee machine, all utensils, china and glass. Whilst an adjoining utility room houses the washing machine, tumble dryer and a large American fridge / freezer with ice maker and water cooler.
Bedrooms are split over two floors with a king size room double bedroom and small adjoining twin, ideal for young children, on the ground floor and a further five double bedrooms and four bathrooms upstairs. The downstairs rooms are ideal for less mobile guests or those with children who are more difficult to settle in the evening unless parents are close by. Attached to this bedroom is a shower room with an oversized shower, WC and basin. Like all the bedrooms at Chiron, the beds have fine linens and duck-down duvets. The same high standards apply to the five bathrooms, all of which have limestone tiling and waffle bathrobes. Of the upsatirs bedrooms, all have double beds, with one having and additional single and another having its own balcony, plus space for another single bed.
Daily cleaning of bathrooms and kitchen is included, along with weekly bed linen and towel (bathrooms and pool provided) changes. Additional housekeeping and meal services, from just breakfasts to full board, are available at an additional charge negotiated after booking.
Chateau Le Chiron is set in its own walled park, 3kms from the small town of Le Dorat and 55kms from Limoges.
Le Dorat is a pretty town with several bakeries, two pharmacies, charcuterie, supermarket, newsagent, a shop with regional products, a weekly market and a number of cafés. Despite being a 'village' of only around 2000 inhabitants it has a thriving community and a number of interesting historic features. Built during the 11th and 12th century, the Collégiale St. Pierre is one of the most important Roman churches in the region and the Porte Bergère is a surviving gatehouse that formed part of the 14th Century fortifications. Every other Thursday in July and August the 'Marché des Producteurs' is an evening farmers' market with a vast choice of produce, some of which can be grilled for you on the spot.
There are several sandy beaches backed by family-friendly facilities such as cafes, toilets, snack bars, play grounds etc. at the nearby Lac de St Pardoux, which is only around 20 mins from Le Dorat.
Limoges (55kms) is the closest large city. It has two interesting cathedrals and, being the home of French porcelain, a number of factory tours from the various manufacturers still based there (with shops attached). Guests can also visit the medieval butchers' district built in 1471 with its half-timbered buildings or stop for lunch at one of the many restaurants in the city centre that offer world famous Limousin beef.
Getting There: Chateau Le Chiron is 45mins from Limoges Bellegarde Airport and just over an hour from Poiters Biard Airport. Check www.skyscanner.net for UK airports serving them. It is 7 hours from Calais and approx. 6 friom Dieppe. The TGV station at Poiters is approx. 70kms away and within about 2.5hrs from Paris i.e. around 5hrs from London.