The Good Life France Magazine




The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...


Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

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7 months ago

Issue No. 16

Bringing you the best of France including captivating towns like sunny Montpellier, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the antiques capital of Provence, Gascony, Chateaux of the Loire Valley, Paris, Lyon, a long lost cheese story, mouth-watering recipes and a whole lot more.

“Do you ever feel

“Do you ever feel anything ghostly here” I asked him. “Not really” he says, then adds “We do have a small greenhouse that has a double lock and we only ever turn the key once. But, every week, on at least one occasion, the greenhouse has been double-locked, and we’ve never been able to explain it”. The ghost of the gardens perhaps, I suggest. Would it be Diane or Catherine I wonder and decide Catherine, she was a very determined woman after all. Diane’s Garden, as it's called, is on the right-hand side of the chateau. Catherine’s garden is on the left-hand side. Clearly their rivalry wasn’t just contained to Henry. There is also a maze commissioned by Catherine and a grand Green Garden with tall trees in which sits the historic Orangery. In the 16th century this part of the estate is where the animals and Catherine’s aviary were kept. Nowadays the orangery is L’Orangerie restaurant and it is fabulous – both for the food and the interior. You’ll certainly enjoy Nicholas’ handiwork here, every dish seems to be adorned with fruit or leaves and it’s so beautiful you feel bad breaking up the artwork! The cheese cloche which is wheeled around for diners to pick what they fancy is a masterpiece. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s all just good looks, it’s not. The chef makes amazing dishes, the pastries are created by a master and the cheese is chosen by a legendary affineur (someone who matures cheese until perfection – a very French thing). Every table is decorated with a bouquet made by Jean-Francois and his team. I have to tell you – I’d go back just for the restaurant! The interior The chateau is gorgeous inside. There are tapestries, paintings and exquisite furniture. The kitchen looks as though a chef of medieval times has nipped out for some more vegetables and will be back at any moment to prepare a feast. But the flowers are truly the star of the show.

Above left: Amboise; above centre and right: Dessert and cheese platter at l'Orangerie; left: Catherine de Medici's motif Look carefully and you may notice that the royal insignia of Catherine de Medici at the chateau is rather familiar. When fashion icon Coco Chanel visited she loved the intertwined Cs topped by a royal crown and asked if she could use it as her own motif. She was told yes, but not with the crown – and the rest as they say, is history. Practical info Website for the Chateau de Chenonceau: www.chenonceau.com Botanical tour with Nicholas Tomlan and floral workshop with Jean-François Boucher is exclusively for small groups, by reservation only: events@chenonceau.com L’Orangerie restaurant can only be accessed once you’re inside the chateau grounds. You can book in advance at: restaurants@chenonceau.com Where to stay Nearby Amboise makes for a perfect base to visit the Chateau de Chenonceau, it’s about 20 minutes by car. I stayed at the lovely Hotel Bellevue which has a great little restaurant and fabulous bar and is a stone’s throw from the incredible Chateau d’Amboise in the centre of this historic town. If you do stay in Amboise, don’t miss out on a meal at the nearby Le Parvis restaurant (3 rue Mirabeau) where the appetite you’ll build up walking around will be well satisfied! How to get there Trains from Paris run to Amboise, nearby Tours and to Chenonceaux station which is right by the chateau (making for a great day trip): UK-Voyages-SNCF.