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Loire Valley, France

Have we died and gone to 19th century heaven?!

Tucked deep in the French countryside of Loire Valley (about two hours from Paris), there lies a Neo Gothic Chateau. Chateau Challain was once the striking private residence of a French family, and is now every living girl’s dream castle…a vision of mystique and romance.

When the chateau was purchased by the Nicholson family in 2002, it was restored and brought back to its original splendour. Every room is decadently designed and generously filled with the finest details. When you stay here, you are whisked away to a different place; a different time.

During our 2-night stay, Maria and I lived a real life fairytale. The 8-year-olds in us were giggling with happiness the entire time. Living in a castle is exactly what you think it would be. Lavish. Grand. Romantic. UGH THE ROMANCE OF IT ALL. Every corner looked like it came straight out of a Disney movie. No wonder so many couples from around the world choose this spot for their special day. #whyamistillsingle ??

Oh, and by the way, Challain sits on 75 acres. SEVENTY FIVE ACRES. Apart from the chateau itself, there are gorgeous gardens surrounding it, complete with a lake, forest area, and several fields of the most beautiful wild flowers.

The suite we stayed in, the Madame de La Rochefoucauld Suite, was spectacular, and design wise, beautifully stayed true to its 19th century roots. As you can see from the pictures we’ve captured, the details are amazing! The wealth of architectural detail, like intricate woodcarvings, Gothic panelling and sculptures, large working fireplaces, and hand painted ceilings are all jaw dropping. Cynthia Nicholson and her team really did an incredible job preserving and restoring the place.

One of our favorite rooms in the entire chateau would have to be the traditional kitchen! Try picturing the kitchen in Belle’s house in the movie Beauty and the Beast. THAT’s the kitchen in the chateau. Right away we fell in love with the coziness of the room, with the large wooden dining table centered in the middle, and the warm, inviting fireplace crackling in the background. I will FOREVER remember the ridiculous amounts of bread and croissants we had there every morning for breakfast, not to mention the beautiful meals prepared for us by the chateau’s in-house chef.

During our stay, we received so many questions from you guys, our followers and readers. So we thought we’d do a Q&A on some of the most asked questions we got on Instagram.

What exactly is Chateau Challain and what can you do there?

It’s a French Chateau built in 1854. Since its purchase by the Nicholson family in 2002, it has been open to the public as a bed & breakfast. It’s also a very popular venue for private events, parties, and most of all weddings. Challain’s team of wedding experts have more than 30 years of experience under their belts. This is where supermodel COCO ROCHA GOT MARRIED. Click here to check their wedding availability calendar.

How many suits are there and how much do they cost?

There are eight suites in the chateau, each one completely different in design. There is also a separate building called The Coach House which offer rooms with more of a modern feel if you’re not into the 19th century neo gothic thing. For more info on the prices, check out their website here.

How do you book a room?

The easiest way to book a room would be directly through their website. Guests interested for a stay are also encouraged to directly contact Cynthia at: +1 908 489 5005. For other inquires or questions you may have, you can also DM their team via Instagram at @challainchallain. Tabitha, the lady who handles the account, is super nice!

How do you get there?

The easiest way would be to take a train from Paris (Gare Montparnasse Station) to Angers Saint Laud which takes about 1 hour 45 minutes. Once you get to Angers, it’s a 40-minute car ride to the chateau. From Angers you can request a pick-up from the staff, which is what Maria and I did. Another option of course would be to drive the entire way.

Is it spooky at night?

We got asked this question A LOT. Most Indonesians strongly believe in ghosts and spirits so we were totally expecting to get asked about this. During our stay, Maria and I were pretty much the only guests at the chateau. We had the ENTIRE place to ourselves. Apart from us, there was only one other staff member who stayed the night.

During the day, it is so incredibly beautiful and romantic. We loved the peace and quiet. Once it got dark, to be honest, it did take some time to get used to. Considering this was our first time staying at a location built in the 19th century of this scale and magnitude, plus the idea that we were the only two guests…it was initially a bit intimidating. But not to worry. Over the course of two nights, everything ran smoothly and no weird occurrences took place. All good!

Chateau Challain was truly a unique experience that exceeded our expectations. It’s highly, highly recommended for all you avid travellers looking for something wildly different. Best of all, an opportunity to feel like the Queen of France…even just for a day. 😜