For some daft reason we had decided to fly into Nice so we could spend a few days in the South of France after our week in Villars. I don’t know why we thought this was such a good idea at the time, as it is a good 8-9 hour car journey from Nice Airport to Villars! It wasn’t too bad on the way there as we had booked a stay in a hotel around 3 and a half hours from Nice. It was a pretty basic place with a small kitchen as I’d decided that eating out on the first night of the holiday was a bit too risky. We bought some salad, veg and rice from the supermarket and I whipped up a gluten free rice dish with salad, washed down with a few nice glasses of vin blanc!
We arrived at Chateau Villars around 3pm the next day and were met by the owners Kevin and Bill, who then showed us around the chateau. The place was amazing, with immaculate grounds, beautifully restored features and lots of space to relax inside and outside. We were made to feel very welcome and treat the chateau as if it were our home for the week. Our bedroom was lovely (as you can see from the photo below) and we had a nice white bathroom with a big bath and shower.
Dinner each evening was at 8pm and preceded by a cocktail hour in the bar from 7pm. This gives you a chance to have a relaxing glass of wine before dinner, or perhaps try one of Kevin’s cocktails (I liked the “Piscine” – a big champagne cocktail). Each night Bill, the chef brought some fabulous canapies for us to nibble on with our drinks before dinner. This was a real treat as normally most canapies are out of bounds if you are on a gluten free diet. Canapies included sweet potato chips with dips, vegetable tempura (made with rice flour batter) and lots of other gluten free delights.
The dinners are 4 coursers, consisting of a starter, main course, a cheese course and a dessert. Both Stuart (my husband) and I loved the food pretty much every night, even though it was a set menu. You fill in a questionniare with your dislikes and allergies prior to the holiday, so there is no chance of getting something that you really don’t like. The menus were inventive and included things like beetroot cured salmon, goat cheese souffle, tart, tomato with mozarella and pesto, Moroccan chicken tagine, steak, cheesecake with mini Mohito, apple crumble, chocolate cake and much more. Yum! The only downside was the extra weight I put on from all that lovely lovely food!
Dinner is “en famille” which means that you sit at a big table with all the other guests. Although some nights it also opened as a restuarant and we had a table for two on those nights. It was nice to have dinner with the other guests and have a few quiet dinners on our own as well.
Breakfast consisted of lots of nice fresh fruit, Juvela cereals, boiled eggs, gluten free bread (with a gluten free toaster) plus orange juice, coffee and tea. There is also a separate counter (and toaster) with croissants, bread and other gluten filled goodies for the people who are not on a gluten free diet.
If you want to have a relaxing holiday, the chateau is ideal as there is a nice swimming pool to enjoy, lots of outside areas (in the shade and in the sun) and plenty places inside the chateau where you can just chill out with a book. You can have a gluten free lunch at the chateau or if you are going out there is the option of a packed lunch as well.
Unfortunately when we were there at the beginning of June the weather was awful most of the time (12 degrees and rainy for a few days) so we didn’t get enough time in the pool. Thankfully we had a car so we could visit the surrounding area. We particularly liked the little town of Brantome, which is surrounded by a canal and is very picturesque.
On the last couple of days the weather turned warm and we spent some lazy days around the chateau and by the pool – bliss!
Overall I’d highly recommend this holiday, esepcially if you have coeliac disease. I didn’t get ill once (apart from that time where I spent too much time in the sun, drank half a carafe of wine then finished it off with a bath that was far too hot!).
The cost at the time of writing this was 995 Euros per person for 1 week including breakfast, lunch & dinner each day, pick up and drop off at the airport, two glasses of wine with dinner and 3 day trips. Since we didn’t need airport pickup and had our own car, we chose to pay for bed and breakfast, then paid for dinners and lunches separately. This worked out at a whopping 600 Euros cheaper for the week. It really depends whether you think 600E for two people is worth it for airport pickup, some wine and daytrips.
We’ll definitely return again, hopefully in the near future for the great hospitality, food, wine and surroundings.
I hope you found this Chateau de Villars Review to be helpful and feel free to let me know if you have any questions
- gluten free france