With France reopening to vaccinated Americans in June, a host of new places to stay are swinging open their gilded doors. And maybe to make up for a year without all things authentically French (we mean croissants from a Parisian patisserie, not your hometown cafe), so many of the summer’s most anticipated openings are genuine chateaux, allowing us to live out our Francophile fantasies from Versailles to Saint-Tropez.
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Le Grand Contrôle
Set within the grounds of Château de Versailles, the Airelles Chateau de Versailles Le Grand Contrôle is the closest you’ll get to walking in Marie Antoinette’s shoes when it opens next month. It’s outfitted in handcrafted 18th-century decor, and the 14 regal rooms and suites are spread throughout three buildings dating back to 1681—Le Grand Contrôle, Le Petit Contrôle, and the Pavillon. Suite names include Baron de Staël-Holstein, the famed Swedish ambassador to France and Marquis de Fouquet, to add an extra layer of history. A highlight of staying here are the private after hours tours, led by your personal butler through the palace grounds, including the Queens Hamlet where Marie Antoinette would meet with friends. Another highlight? The aptly named Feast restaurant from Michelin star chef Alain Ducasse where you will eat mallard galantine with foie gras and pistachios, and scallops with Jerusalem artichokes and truffles. Of course, there is plenty of cake too.
Book now: From $2,068 per night, skylark.com
Château de la Messardière
Built in 1904 and offered as a wedding gift to the famous horseman Henry Brisson de la Messardière and his artist bride, Louise Dupuy D’Angeac, the newly envisioned Château de la Messardière opens July 1. Interior designer Christophe Tollemer took his cues from the French Riviera’s glamorous golden age, transforming the 108 airy rooms into timeless hideaways, with vintage furniture illuminated by the bright Mediterranean sun. Culinary duo Giovanni Amato and Elena Mosetti head up the Mediterranean-style L’Acacia, the more laid back A Ciel Ouvert, apéritif spot Le Soleil d’Eau, and Fillmore Bar where late night cocktails are served with dim sum and a DJ sets the mood. Though this retreat is high on the hills outside of Saint-Tropez, a free shuttle service to the château’s Jardin Tropézina beach club and restaurant means this can still be a beach getaway, but luckily, their privacy means you won’t ever run into the crowds so common of the French Riviera.
Book now: From $1,094 per night, booking.com
Domaine de Primard
Just over an hour from Paris by car, between Anet and Giverny in the Eure Valley, is this 100-acre, 18th-century estate from hoteliers Frédéric Biousse and Guillaume Foucher, which once belonged to actress Catherine Deneuve. Upon entering Domaine de Primard, you’ll be greeted by century-old trees, as well as farm animals. Each of the 30 rooms and nine suites open onto private terraces and are decorated in chic, if simple, wooden panels. The rose garden has pathways where even the most tightly wound New Yorkers will be forced to slow right down, if for no other reason than the sweet fragrance from the over 250 rose varieties that carries in the air. This rose garden is also where you’ll find Michelin star chef Eric Frechon’s restaurant Primard. Expect plenty of greens, pigeon prepared a number of ways, and escargot à la tomate. The more casual Bistrot de Primard also picks its seasonal produce straight from the estate’s vegetable patch. But the place to be at sunset is the guinguette-style bar, followed by a nighttime dip in the heated pool which offers prime stargazing.
Book now: From $366 per night, booking.com
Hôtel Richer de Belleval
From the private home of the Richer de Belleval family to the town hall, this historical monument in the heart of Montpellier has lived many lives before becoming a Relais & Château boutique hotel and contemporary art foundation, opening on July 6. Each of the 15 rooms and five suites at Hôtel Richer de Belleval feels like entering a monochromatic cabinet of curiosities festooned in rich velour and vivid works of art. This is the latest project by identical twin brothers and global culinary duo Jacques and Laurent Pourcel, who brought back to life their famed 28-year-old Michelin-starred restaurant Le Jardin des Sens. This time it’s set within three vaulted rooms where their contemporary Mediterranean cuisine will pop. This art-filled epicurean haven will also include restaurant La Canourge serving more casual fare, set across the former wedding hall, hotel courtyard, and outdoor terrace. In contrast to the hotel’s classical vibes, contemporary art exhibitions are on view throughout the year, with American artist Jim Dine’s work entrusted to the entrance hall. French artists Abdelkader Benchamma and Marlène Mocquet, as well as Belgian artist Jan Fabre are also in the mix. Prices not available at press time
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