This Renaissance-style castle looks like a vision from a storybook, all cylindrical towers topped with spires, half of it from the 17th century and the rest dating back to the 12th. And the surroundings are no less magical—Chateau de Mirambeau is in the Charentes-Maritimes, between Cognac and Bordeaux, a uniquely strange district of canals, rivers, salt marshes, and an overriding tinge of green.
It’s all real, though, and that’s the appeal of the French countryside, each district unlike any other—that, and, of course, as one might guess from names like Cognac and Bordeaux, the fruits of the vineyards. In addition to the nineteen luxurious guest rooms and all the niceties (spa, two tennis courts, swimming pool, et cetera) the Chateau offers wine tastings incorporating vintages from all the surrounding areas, some bottles well over a century old.
The cuisine is predictably extraordinary as well, to complement the wines, and the guest rooms are blindingly opulent in that heavily textured French style. Nothing modernist at all about it—time to trade hospital-chic boutiques and achingly hip discotheques for solid old antiques and a cigar in the Cognatheque, followed by a walk through the magnificent parklands.
Chateau de Mirambeau is approximately a 50 minute drive from Bordeaux Mérignac Airport and 1 1/4 hours from La Rochelle Airport. Paris is a 5 hour drive and Bordeaux is approximately 45 minutes.
1 Avenue du Conte Duchatel, Bordeaux