It’s not very often I come across a place that looks almost exactly like somewhere I’d drift off to in a daydream. Somewhere that really inspires me, and I want to absorb every detail so it’s ingrained in my memory. I spent the 5th night of my recent road trip around central France in place which was exactly that, a historic Château in the Loire Valley, bursting with interior excellence, and every inch as stylish as the delightfully French couple who live there.
The Château de Saint Georges is located almost smack bang in the middle of France, on the Eastern edge of the Loire Valley, just north of Bourges. We set off around midday from our previous destination, the stunning winemaking hilltop town of Sancerre, driving North West through France and stopping off at various towns and grand Châteaux on the way. Having eventually managed to find the secluded Château, after aimlessly wandering around the village of Saint-Georges-sur-Moulon, we travelled up the long narrow driveway until we reached the main gates. We hastily parked the Alfa, grabbed our luggage, and turned around just in time to be greeted by two incredibly huge, and thankfully, incredibly friendly Rottweiler’s.
Maria, the effortlessly glamorous owner of the château, appeared from the kitchen to welcome us and give us a tour of her beautiful home. We were escorted upstairs to the part of the house we were staying in, and proudly shown all the beautiful features of room and adjoining areas, garden fresh peonies, antique furniture upholstered in quirky patterned fabrics, the most beautiful golden framed mirror, and the stunning views over the circular courtyard from the bedroom windows to name a few. We listened intently to what Maria was saying, desperately trying to understand as she explained some of the history of the building and the surrounding area.
Despite the language barrier, we somehow managed to muddle along and having wandered downstairs to explore, we found ourselves in the entrance hall, flicking through various architectural magazines containing articles written about the Château. Now standing on the foundations of an older Château which once had a surrounding moat, over the past centuries the Château has undergone a fair number of renovations and revivals. In the 1160s, the old Château was mostly destroyed during an invasion, and only a few features from the original building survive to this day, one of which being the grand spiral staircase. Slowly rebuilt throughout the centuries, in 1725 the moat was drained and modern barns were added. I couldn’t tell the exact state the Château was in when Maria and her husband, Jean-Luc, started their renovation, however from the magazine articles I believe it was a fairly ginormous project.
Maria’s husband, Jean-Luc Charpagne, is an artist. His painting style is wonderfully daring, bold and idiosyncratic, and you can find his artwork in almost every room of the Château. In the same way his paintings combine an edgy/modern composition with more classic paint application styles and colour tones, the interior of each room in the Château appears to emulate this classic vs modern blend.
Many of the traditional, rural farmhouse architectural features of the old barn have been left visible, such as the beamed ceilings and wooden floors, and the addition of modern appliances and contemporary fittings work well with the more historical aspects, and by no means look out of place.
The sitting room is my favourite room of the Château. Burnt orange toned walls with Buddhist statues flank a larger brick wall housing historical peeling murals and stained glass windows. The tone of orange intensifies the turquoise accents scattered around the room. Large plant pots containing vibrant green ferns have been placed on white and turquoise marble topped side table. The leopard print fabrics add a touch of boheme. A plethora of coffee-table style art books and Jean-Luc’s painting equipment, easels and art paraphernalia in the far corner. An exceptionally theatrical, beautiful room.
The village of Saint-Georges-sur-Moulon is not large, and having become thoroughly settled in our plush surrounding, the prospect of having to drive around to find a somewhere for dinner filled us with dread. Luckily, Maria gave us the option of staying in and having dinner in the Château instead…and my god what a beautiful dinner it turned out to be!
We started outside on the garden patio with a lovely bottle of Château de Thauvenay, a locally made white wine and one which I am now looking to source and drink as regularly as possible! Maria was busy in the kitchen as we sat overlooking the sprawling garden, chatting away and admiring our surroundings as the light started to fade.
We were summoned into the kitchen of my dreams, where we took our seats on a huge round table, and tucked into the first course of our gorgeous home made French fare; prawn linguini, followed by locally sourced cheese, French baguette (naturally) and a zingy lemon sorbet to finish. A truly stunning, perfectly romantic French meal.
Begrudgingly, the next morning after a breakfast of (more) bread, various jams, yoghurt and strong coffee, we said our goodbyes to the Maria and Jean-Luc and set off to continue our journey northwards to Paris!
We really stumbled upon a gem, and the unique and inspirational interior of the Château de Saint Georges is one I won’t soon forget.
For more information on the Château, visit this webpage- http://www.chambres-hotes-stgeorges.fr/
*All images are either my own, or taken from the Chateau’s website here, all credits linked.