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Château de la Treyne and the Dordogne Valley

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This post is Part II of a three part series. See Part I (Paris) here and Part III (Loire Valley) here.

Our first visit to the Dordogne Valley was something out of a fairytale. The Dordogne is home to over 600 castles and dozens of prehistoric caves so whether you enjoy recent or ancient history there’s so much to explore. Local villages each have their market days and in the warmer weather guests can go fly-fishing or even canoe down the river. The area is a UNESCO listed ‘biosphere’ which means it is brimming with nature and natural beauty in all seasons.

Checking into Château de la Treyne, we passed guests sipping champagne or the local vin de noix (walnut wine) around a magnificent hearth, before being lead up to our room. Named for Louis XIII and ensconced in red damask fabric, our suite overlooked both the river on one side and formal gardens on the other. Stephanie explains it is her favorite suite in the château for the views and beautiful antiques. I especially love the wood paneled bathroom and walking up to see the frost glittering on the gardens. 

The chateau was first mentioned in written records in 1342 and today is listed as one of France’s “monuments historiques”.  The property has been welcoming guests since 1985 and is owned by Philippe and Stéphanie Gombert, perhaps the foremost experts on hospitality as Philippe leads luxury hotel collection Relais & Châteaux, and Stephanie runs Château de la Treyne. Stephanie joined us for a drink before dinner, perching on the fire fender and asking us about our first impressions of the place. (We love it.) She apologizes that the beautiful terrace is no longer hosting dinners (it’s November) but pulls a stunning Bernadaud table lamp from a cabinet describing how they place these on each table in the warmer months when guests can dine al fresco. We ask for local recommendations and an hour later Stephanie comes to our table with a handwritten list of her local favorites. No detail is too small for this team. 

David and I love staying at Relais & Châteaux properties for their focus on “The Five Cs” – Character, Courtesy, Calm, Charm and Cuisine. Most member hotels and restaurants are historic family-owned properties with fabulous interiors and even better food. Dinner at the château starts with a set menu designed by Chef Stéphane Andrieux, which is presented to guests so they can share dietary restrictions or preferences before being lead into the Louis XIII salon for the evening. (You can see all four courses in my Instagram highlight here!) 

We did a small road trip visiting the charming village of La Roque-Gageac, touring Le Château de Beynac, a fortress with 9 centuries of history and ended up at Le Petit Moulin in Martel for a cozy dinner on the second night. Next time we hope to stay for four or more days to take advantage of all this beautiful region has to offer! 


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