The Wordrobe’s editor Sophie Ritchie heads to the scenic countryside of Normandy for a stay of regality at Chateau D’Audrieu
Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. The sound of the gravel chanting beneath my shoes as I step across Chateau D’Audrieu’s courtyard could probably be heard for miles around.
Not because my feet are the size of a giant’s. But because there’s no other sound to linger in the air – my wandering footsteps create their own stony symphony as I make my way to my room.
Located in Audrieu, Normandy, this elegant chateau was first built in 1715. A listed Historical Monument, with a past linked to William the Conquer, the outside facade remains much unchanged.
It sits regally in the French countryside, commanding attention with its elongated drive and majestic stone walls.
With only 25 rooms, as well as four suites and a covetable tree house (it’s truly a penthouse that branches out), this petite hotel is both intimate and welcoming at the same time.
Having undergone an entire interior revamp in 2016 and 2017 by Architecte Philippe de Lanouvelle and Interior Designer Evelyne Rousseau, spaces within this luxury Normandy hotel are impeccably elegant – and saturated with enriching culture.
And as I continue to noisily make my way towards my room, which is accessed from the outside only, I can almost imagine the numerous centuries’ worth of characters peering out from behind tall windows to observe their newest (and heavy-footed) guest.
No abode is quite the same at Chateau D’Audrieu. Each comes with its own varied personality, a different fairytale woven into the expensive linen.
I stay in Room 16 – an enormous space divided by hallway into bathroom, bedroom and separate toilet.
The bathroom itself is big enough to move into, with ‘His-and-Her’ sinks and smooth wooden flooring.
“It’s one of my favourites,” the concierge tells me fondly as he shows me around the space. “The bath tub is quite wonderful!”
And indeed, the centrepiece is indeed exquisite, carefully positioned to overlook the hotel without allowing a soul to see in.
The bedroom itself is about twice as large, flooded with light from four windows that gaze out onto courtyard and entrance drive. But it’s not the square feet that’s striking.
The wallpaper is spectacular – comprised of artisan hot air balloons flecked in gold and blue. It’s everywhere – in fact, the pretty motif is even adorned on the curtains.
Filled with period furniture, including a huge bed, wardrobe, desk and velvet backed chairs, the enveloping calm will leave you questioning whether you’ve checked-into a romance novel.
I potter about and explore the little details. There’s fragile china vase lamps, rows of archaic leather bound books, fresh flowers and a handy Relaix & Chateau guide to plan the next adventure.
But the sense of modernity remains. The Nespresso machine and mini bar firmly confirm that I’m still in the 21st century (as does the nearby Tesla charging station and neatly parked row of Porsches and supercars).
Back in the bathroom, I also spot a selection of toiletries (note, conditioner not included) and aromatherapy shower capsules, designed to relax a bather even further with scented water.
There’s a certain magic about Chateau D’Audrieu. During my visit, the hotel is full to capacity, with every bed filled – but you’d never know it from the peaceful atmosphere.
The dining is another form of wizardry in its own right. At the fine dining restaurant, diners are treated to spectacular feasts courtesy of passionate chef Olivier Barbarin.
You’ll be seeing red when you dine here (and no, not from the bill). The central space is decked out entirely in coral hues from the walls up to the ceilings and the damask curtains.
Incorporating as much local produce as possible, Barbarin utilises his experience from working in southern Provence to provide guests with a fresh and fantastical experiences.
The on-site garden provides many seasonal ingredients, ranging from herbs and fruits to vegetables and plants.
Breakfast here is equally delicious, with many a la carte dishes to try. There’s also the option of ordering breakfast in bed for those that prefer to hit the snooze button.
Sweet tooth snippets: Have your cake and eat it too. Head to the 1st floor’s Grand Living Room for a selection of homemade pastries and hot drinks, served daily from 3.30pm – 5.30pm
What to do
1 Spoil yourself with a visit to the on-site Sothys spa. Fabulous facials and expert massages await in the tucked away treatment rooms.
2 Discover the area with a tour on the nearby D-Day landing beaches. Filled with history and intriguing anecdotes, learn more about one of WW2’s most important events on the hotel’s doorstep.
3 Partake in pastry at La Reine Mathilde, Bayeux. Ideal for an explorer’s pitstop, this sumptuously decorated patisserie and salon de thé makes a stylish spot for something naughty. It hasn’t changed much since it was built in 1898, although I promise that the cakes are fresher than the architecture.
The Wordrobe Verdict
A regal world of luxury, Chateau D’Audrieu is perfect for a hotel that offers both fascinating history and fantastic fine dining.
With so much to explore both within its archaic walls and out, book a room and pack the passport for a stay to remember.
Make it happen
Where: Château d’Audrieu, 14250 Audrieu, France
Wallet: Rooms from £310 per night.
How: Click here or phone +33 2 31 80 21 52 to make a reservation.
Words by Sophie Ritchie, Editor.