7 Over-the-Top French Châteaus You Can Actually Rent
Call them castles, palaces, manors or just stately homes, châteaus are synonymous with France…and luxury. There are around 40,000 in the country, and while only the richest of the rich might be able to live in them—and let’s face it, maintain them—full-time, there are some that you can call home for a few days or weeks. Whether you’re looking for the ideal spot for a wedding, a low-key bachelorette party, a romantic rendezvous or just an over-the-top luxe experience, we’ve found some fine (see: understatements of a lifetime) French châteaus you can actually rent both by the room or the whole home.
Château de Courtomer (Courtomer, France)
Château de Courtomer has been around since the eve of the French Revolution. The 17,500-square-foot, three-story, 25-bedroom mansion was built for a marquis on a 350-acre property just a couple of hours west of Paris and close to the Normandy coast. It recently opened for guests after an extensive renovation. Now, you (and up to 14 of your closest friends) can live like French royalty at a property that feels just as comfortable as it does grandiose. The château boasts a fully-stocked modern kitchen, a salon complete with a grand piano, a library with a fireplace, and a clubroom and hosts of games like billiards, Ping-Pong and croquet. There’s also a fumoir, which is French for smoking room, that’s cute enough just sit in and chill out (sans smoking). Available for private event rentals, Château de Courtomer can be rented with the option of cleaning and cooking services (a private French chef? Yes, please!). And even though it’s located in an idyllic countryside spot in the Orne—surrounded by massive trees that will remind you of a French painting—you're not to worry: There’s sturdy Wi-Fi throughout the property so you can keep your Insta game on point.
La Divine Comédie (Avignon, France)
The French know how to garden. The country has a long-held obsession with parks and green space, and from Paris to Provence, a private garden is the ultimate symbol of wealth and status. La Divine Comédie, once a 19th-century residence and now a five-suite luxury hotel, is home to the largest private garden in Avignon. And what it lacks in size against some of the other homes on this list (don’t worry, it’s still huge), it makes up for in its lush garden—which, did we mention, sits in the middle of the city of Avignon behind a huge gated wall? The garden is calm and tranquil, with over 100 varieties of trees and plants; the hotel’s owners even describe it as the property’s main "room," and it’s easy to see why. Being just five minutes from the historical center’s most-visited spot, the Papal Palace, is a definite draw, but with a spa, wellness center, the aforementioned garden and stylish designer interiors, we’re gonna bet you’ll have a hard time leaving this special property.
Les Sources de Caudalie (Martillac, France)
Unsurprisingly, wine takes center stage at this hotel in Bordeaux in the heart of Aquitaine. Guests can live amongst the vines of France’s most famous wine-producing region at Les Sources de Caudalie, a five-star hotel with 40 rooms and suites spread across six buildings within the vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte. Most of the sleeping quarters here have a balcony or terrace with a view of the vineyard or the property’s lake. Magical. Vine and grape extracts are also the basis for most of the treatments at the property’s Vinothérapie® Spa. For a truly luxe experience, consider Clos19’s five-day immersive provenance tour through Bordeaux and Cognac, which includes two nights at Les Sources de Caudalie and another two nights at Domaine des Etangs in Cognac.
Château Saint-Martin and Spa (Vence, France)
Once a 12th-century Templar Knight Commandery, the Château Saint-Martin and Spa is today a unique, luxurious 46-room hotel on 30 acres in the countryside of the Côte d’Azur. It’s ideally situated to explore the nearby towns and beaches and has its own sweeping views of the Mediterranean. Not too shabby. With a spa that utilizes La Prairie & Bamford products and Le Saint Martin, a two Michelin-starred restaurant, describing it as posh doesn’t do the place justice. It’s also available as part of a customized itinerary from Scott Dunn private journeys, such as this 11-day culinary and cultural tour through the South of France in which you can really go ham.
Château des Nuits Blanches (Gers, France)
For a mere $18,000-plus, you and 30 of your closest friends can call Château des Nuits Blanches in the Midi-Pyrenees home for a week. No really, do the math, and tell us this isn’t actually a steal. The family château was built in the 12th century on acreage overlooking the Gascogne hillside—also known as French Tuscany—an hour and a half from Spain and the Pyrenees in southwest France near Toulouse. The massive home has been in the same family for four generations and was once home to a renowned Armagnac producer. Now, guests can live like royalty in the region known for foie gras, Armagnac and D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers. The property is also home to two chais (or wine cellars), one of which can hold up to 400 guests, making it a perfect spot for a wedding or large-scale event.
Château Chamborigaud (Chamborigaud, France)
Built in 1575, this ten-bedroom, seven-bathroom castle has been described as fairytale- and Disney-like, and with its beautiful towers and turrets, it’s not hard to see why. Château Chamborigaud—which sleeps up to 18 and costs $10,625 to $10,837 per week—is set in a five-acre park on the banks of the Luech River in Cévennes National Park in Languedoc, known for its beautiful, rugged scenery and waterways. Guests can enjoy any number of trails through the valleys and gorges of the park. It’s also a short stroll to the nearby village, which has a boulangerie, a butcher and some restaurants. The area is a major wine producer with acres and acres of vineyards (three times as many as Bordeaux), so don’t miss a pit stop at the village wine shop, either.
Château Alarie (Villeloin-Coulangé, France)
Château Alarie is in the heart of châteaux and vineyard country in the Loire Valley—a UNESCO World Heritage site known for fantastic wines, extravagant castles, quaint villages and refined cities. Guests rave that the five-bedroom, five-bathroom property that sleeps 12, which was once the residence of the Abbots of the Benedictine Monastery, is great for families. It’s not as over-the-top extravagant as some of the other properties on our list, but its charmingly quirky interiors will make you feel like you’re stepping back in time. There’s a Beauty and the Beast-like library to boot, and, coupled with its location, is a great find for the area. Rentals range from $1,748 to $3,640 per week and can include chef and cleaning service through Oliver’s Travels.
With additional reporting by Kristen Boatright