|Le Chateau de Brecourt
Pacy Sur Eure,
by Sarah Shuckburgh
This is a four star hotel with a difference. Le Chateau de
Brecourt, built in 1625, reflects the dignified elegance and
calm of a less hectic age. Bedrooms have no TVs, minibars or
other mod cons. The plumbing creaks, bathrooms are dimly
lit, furnishings are sparse, and 17th century doors may
stick, but the result is a rare and wonderful combination of
authenticity and charm.
The moated Chateau de Brecourt is a fine example of Louis
XIII architecture, with its patterned brick and stone, its
steep slate roofs, and its symmetrical wings enclosing a
formal courtyard at the front. Inside, despite Nazi
occupation and wartime bombardment, and later years of lying
derelict, the chateau retains many original features.
Downstairs, salons have flagged floors, oak-panelled walls,
beamed ceilings and stone fireplaces. The wide staircase has
carved dark oak banisters. Bedrooms are large and airy, with
shiny floors of hexagonal terracotta tiles and high beamed
On the first floor, the formal 'Grand Siecle' restaurant has
tapestries hanging on walls covered in red silk. Twenty-foot
French windows overlook the courtyard gardens at the front
and open parkland at the back. M. Langlais, the chef,
prepares superb food, including traditional Normandy dishes.
Service can be slow if the hotel is full, but the meals are
worth waiting for.
The hotel has 30 rooms, all different, but all spacious and
uncluttered. Room 10 has scarlet walls, terracotta floor and
a stone fireplace, and is the size of a baronial hall. Room
11, similarly cavernous, has deep blue walls. Both rooms
open on to a small staircase which leads to the
mosaic-walled indoor plunge pool and Jacuzzi. Even more
enormous is Room 32, with a vaulted and beamed ceiling, and
(unusually for the chateau) a fitted carpet.
The chateau is surrounded by woods and parkland. A stone
portal, standing among the trees, is all that remains of the
family chapel. Mown paths lead through meadows of wild
flowers. The muffled drone of the A13 autoroute
unfortunately reminds one that it is no longer the 17th
century, but the proximity of this fast road makes
excursions very convenient.
A visit to Giverny is a must - Monet's house, gardens and
water lily ponds are just five miles away. The 18th century
Chateau de Bizy is even nearer, on the edge of the
attractive town of Vernon, and many other lovely chateaux of
the Vexin region are nearby. Fifteen miles north, les
Andelys and Chateau Gaillard perch on a high bank of the
Seine. Versailles is an easy excursion - 45 minutes on the
A13. Paris is less than an hour away.
First published by Travel Intelligence Ltd