Staying in France always has its rewards. Hopefully good weather but the food and scenery will inevitably compensate for most ills making any trip rewarding. Accommodation ranges from the super luxurious, five star haute cuisine to Gite self-catering. It’s difficult to go wrong primarily as the French have a way with hotels – with many of the British chains having learnt a trick or two from their French counterpart. The area where we, on the whole, struggle in the UK is being able to offer lodging based in the equivalent of the delightful historic French grand houses; the Chateaux of France. And one of that is well worth a visit is the Chateau Des Lys, 10 kM from Abbeville in Picardy.
The French accommodation price structure often means it’s cheaper to stay in France, including the ferry and petrol costs, than stay in the UK. Adding the attraction of staying in one of these grand houses has opened the door to a market that has injected new enthusiasm and cash to repair and renovate these marvelous old buildings. One such hidden delight is the Chateau Des Lys which is now in the process of a gradual makeover by the new owners. The Chateau offers a range of seven delightful chambres d’hotes rooms and three Gites and a private wing able to accommodate large parties.
The original house was significantly extended during its previous use as a boarding school. The school kitchens, classrooms, dormitories and extensive grounds have now been captured in accommodation options that have become a haunt for both parties from Paris and discerning individuals. The Chateau De Lys can swallow 30 or more guests who are able to use the salon room as an ideal venue for product briefings, team building or gatherings of friends and family. The professional kitchens are offered on a self-catering basis or are used by the enthusiastic hosts to prepare the meals for the guests.
Set in 14 acres of woodland the grounds are a delight offering the chance to spot red squirrel, deer and lycra clad joggers ripping around the outer circuit. Perhaps ripping is the wrong term for lycra. The well-equipped gym lays testament to a delusion we all suffer; only the brave can look a rowing machine in the eye on holiday.
The Chateau, originally built circa 1850, like any old building needs love and affection to maintain its structure and integrity. Renovation and repair need great care and consideration. The new owners (from 2013) are in the process of reinstating many of the features lost or hidden over the years. This regretfully may include the deletion of the anachronistic bar and disco hidden in the cellars – unless the owner’s 19 year old daughter wins the day.
The rooms are being tastefully redecorated. Reverting to a more traditional style is the overall remit of Tim and Margreeth, the new owners. It will take time and the reinvestment of a huge portion of the profits. One of the delights of staying there now is the possibility of seeing the place again in the future. Like the National Trust, the project to fully restore the Chateau is being carried on as work in progress and it’s good to know anyone staying there is helping the project along.
The location just a couple of hours from Paris and Lille, and one hour from Calais and Dieppe makes it an idea first or last staging post for any one touring France from the UK. The hosts are able to serve a delightful Table d’hote meal in the evening (by arrangement) where you could be serenaded by Tim who was a professional musician of some note. And in contrast to the conventional and wholesome continental breakfast available, Tim is known to prepare a full English breakfast, which ironically has the French enthralled.
Rue de Port le Grand,
Phone: +33 322 285 343