Excerpt from a post written by Amy Davies Pereira of Little House In London
When I was a little girl, I used to dream that one day I’d live in a château, swanning around in beautiful period costume, and lounging on a chaise longue… Ok, so I actually live in a little Victorian terrace in London, but my passion for period properties and all their wonders and features lives on.
A few weeks ago I was invited to visit an 18th century château in the heart of the Loire in France, a dream trip for me, I couldn’t wait to take a step back in time. After a short flight to Nantes we were soon settled at our luxury destination for the night, Château de Vézins.
We were the guests of Marc Deschamps, one of the owners of this stunning building. After a very warm welcome, that included tasting some of the fabulous local wines and a quick tour, it was love at first sight, I was in true interiors heaven. Marc’s passion and respect for this beautiful château and it’s history were soon made very apparent, he’s put his heart and soul into renovating this amazing property.
He’s not alone, Marc, his wife Gaelle and their team have lovingly restored this beautiful historic building to it’s true former glory. From the outset, they decided to undertake the restoration in a way that was respectful of the history and heritage of the building. The attention to detail is second to none, the collection of furniture throughout the château is something else, each one lovingly handpicked and either antique or vintage.
Trying to recapture the original feel of the château was the motivation behind using genuine antique furnishings instead of modern replicas, and entailed sourcing 26 different types of fabrics and matching paint colours to recreate period interiors.
The Château is the Dechamps’ second home, it’s the perfect bolt hole for dreamy weekends away exploring the Loire, that’s if you can tear yourself away from stunning surroundings of the property that is.
Helping the château reclaim its former splendour has been a labour of love. The process was very hands-on with, amongst other things, the Deschamps flying in every weekend for two years to create the French gardens and the families labouring to sand and oil the first section of floors themselves.
The grounds and gardens were in an advanced state of disrepair when they purchased the property, making the task a significant one. Over the course of 10 years, the renovation entailed: Clearing 5 tons of pigeon droppings, replacing 100 broken windows, renovating 77 rooms. Planting 187 trees, 312 flowers and 765 other plants. Pouring 70 tones of gravel to create the allées. Clearing 2,000 m3 of mud out of the moat.
The town of Vézins is quaint and quiet – perfect for a family get away from the bustling city life, there’s a local Boulanger, café, pharmacy, hairdresser and church. The front gate of the château is right on the village square, making it easily accessible whenever you need to go into town.
Local attractions and activities include: a fresh food market in the village square every Tuesday morning, cycling paths in the local forests, horse-riding in the nearby village of Mela, shopping and culture in the nearby town of Cholet. You can also take tours of other nearby châteaus.
Whilst we were there we took a wine tasting boat trip along the Loire, Bruno and Sebastien were our perfect hosts. We sampled five of Sebastien’s delicious wines, were treated with some mouth-watering canapés and got to take in the magical views of the Loire. Bruno handcrafted the boat, it is a traditional flat-bottomed design.
In my short visit to the Loire, I really felt that I immersed myself in French culture. It’s so important to me on a trip away, to truly find out what the destination has to to offer. Staying at the château gave me such an insight into French history, I’m so eager to return and explore this wonderful part of the world again.