My husband loves castles. It was on his bucket list to stay in one. I am a pretty decent wife so in 2015 I made his dream a reality and rented one in France for a week. It was so much fun we did it again this year and hope to do it for years to come. It sounds way more expensive and extravagant than it is…… don’t get me wrong it’s amazing and you definitely feel like royalty but if you do it right it’s as cheap as a motel 6 for the week! Believe it or not there are a lot of castles out there for vacation rental, especially in France but you can find them in just about every country. Some are traditional castles and some are just big old fancy chateaus on huge estates. Some are incredibly affordable, some are very expensive and come with butlers and chefs. You can find most on vacation rental sites like VRBO.com , Homeaway.com, Airbnb.com, and flipkey.com. You can also look to customize travel sites that specialize more in the all inclusive castle experience, like oliverstravels.com and luxuryretreats.com. We love France and had always wanted to visit the Dordogne region, the land of Foie Gras and truffles, so I scoured the internet and found a wonderful property named Chateau de Milhac, a little under three hours east of Bordeaux. The Castle was originally called Chateau Lotoise, built in the 15th century, has 8 bedrooms and a pool. At this point we knew we had to fill some of those bedrooms, so we crossed our fingers and sent emails to 14 of our closest friends. Low and behold we sold the Castle out and so was born, Castlefest! To find the best deals and the perfect property we booked eight months in advance. It seemed like forever until we actually went but when we drove into the little village, up the winding little road to the top of the hill, the castle came into view it took our breath away and was worth every day we waited!
16 people is a lot to travel with but we avoided a lot of complications and stress by having people book their own flights and cars and just telling them when and where to be. We truly had the most amazing vacation. The area is absolutely stunning and the views from the Castle perched up on top a cliff overlooking farmland were indescribably beautiful. Waking up every morning and having coffee looking at that view is something I will never forget. Some folks relaxed by the pool and enjoyed the Castle grounds while others joined us for day trips to explore the country side and little villages. But we all ended up at our very own Castle at dinner time, sharing the goodies purchased locally from the outdoor markets. We drank TONS of delicious wines, laughed a lot, played board games and even had a ping pong tournament in the dungeon. One highlight was having a chef come in and cook us a fancy sit down dinner. Having dinner served to you at a long table in a castle is something everyone should try once and has become a tradition of Castlefest.
This year we upped our game to 20 people. We chose the Chateau Montsymond in the Burgundy region of France built in the 1300’s an hour north of Lyon and it did not disappoint. We had mostly returning faces, some new ones, drank TONS of wine again and of course had another fabulous vacation.
I know you are dying to know what it cost….
Both castles averaged about $850 per couple for the week including the private chef dinner. Your own Castle is completely doable….if you need some pointers planning your own Castlefest message me. I am becoming a pro! 😉
Shaka and happy travels,