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    Domaine des Etangs

    Dreaming of a stay in a castle in the French countryside? Then it might be time for a visit to this historic 13th century property, which has been under Auberge Resort Collection management since spring 2023. Add in well-appointed rooms, including stand-alone cottages, distinctive wellness offerings, a true farm-to-table food culture and experiences that range from getting out in nature to touring the surrounding towns, and you’ve got all the makings of luxurious and relaxed European getaway.


    Originally constructed by the Knights of Chasteigner de la Roche-Posay, this castle-turned private home-turned hotel can be found on 2,500 acres in the town of Massignac in western France. While there’s lots to do at the hotel and in Massignac, take additional advantage of the location with day trips to the surrounding towns, like Limoges, which is about an hour away and famous for its porcelain or spirit-centric spots like Bordeaux or Cognac. At just under an hour away, Cognac in particular is great for checking out historic homes, such as Remy Martin’s estate of Louis XIII as well as tours exclusive to hotel guests. (More on that in our F1S tips!) Airport-wise, the closest is Limoges airport, which is about 40 minutes away or you can opt for the 3-hour train ride from Paris Montparnasse.


    With stunning natural surroundings (think: lakes, meadows, forests) the vibe of the property is luxurious and calm, giving the feeling of peaceful seclusion. Seamlessly blending the old and the new—including the housing of modern amenities, like the spa, in historic spaces—it offers the chance to unwind and appreciate exactly where you are in that moment. There are various places to stay on the property, including 11 guestrooms and suites. The most unique is undoubtedly the  Saturne room and Lune suite, both housed in the castle’s tower, with the Saturne room featuring a glass ceiling for views of the wooden beams. For even more privacy—or if you’re traveling with a larger group—consider one of the property’s six stand-alone cottages. They range from one to five bedrooms, with the largest, Dragon Cottage, including 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, garden, fire pit, and large outdoor table perfect for private dinners.

    Why We Love It:

    With well-manicured lawns and striking historic architecture, the property, which is currently owned by Garance Primat, the daughter of Didier Primat (Auberge also manages the family’s property, Primland, in Virginia), is a spectacular getaway. To start? The food. That’s in part because the herbs and produce come directly from the resort’s huge, spiral-shaped organic garden, which is spread over 20,000 square feet of space. The property’s restaurant, Dyades, offers both indoor and outdoor dining to enjoy their take on seasonal, regional cuisine. There are options for private dining as well as culinary experiences, like the summer 2023 debut of Sunday brunch—complete with local eggs, cheese, fruits and veggies—served in the garden itself.

    In line with the relaxed atmosphere, there is an extensive wellness program. That includes Le Moulin spa—you have to walk over a stone bridge to get there, adding to the romantic feel—for a variety of treatments, as well as a sports center, heated outdoor pool, tennis courts and Le Thermes, Gallo-Roman inspired baths that are ideal for afternoons and evenings. And of course, it wouldn’t be an Auberge property without a number of great experiences, which here includes helping out in the garden, fishing, horseback riding, wine tasting, visiting La Laiterie, the property’s art gallery, and, particularly great for kids and teens, hanging out in the attic game room, which has everything from costume trunks to foosball and more.

    Why You Should Go F1rst:

    If you book through F1S, you’ll also receive daily breakfast for two, a $100 food and beverage credit, as well as an upgrade, plus early check-in and late-check out, if available.

    F1S Tip:

    Sip on the signature spirit in Cognac with this hotel-guests-only experience: Meeting the owner and master distiller at Bourgoin, where you’ll enjoy a tour, French country lunch and, of course, a tasting.

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