Review of the Château d'Audrieu
Updated: 2 days ago
Having spent a full day wandering around some of the many magnificent castles of the Loire Valley, we finished the day with a stay booked at the Château d'Audrieu near Caen, a property which is part of the exclusive Relais & Châteaux group of hotels, and which is also a listed historic monument.
The drive leading up to the property with the castle in the background makes it clear why - it is a magnificent 18th-century château, the impressive exterior set amongst 60 exquisite acres of Normandy parkland. These grounds are well worth discovering, varying from manicured gardens to forest, pastures replete with horses, and a meadow out back carpeted in spring wildflowers. There is even a luxury tree house which can be booked for an overnight stay, if that is your kind of thing, and a swimming pool set within the walls of a tranquil enclosed garden.
The service during our stay was flawless, and the rooms themselves comfortable luxury. Although, charming as the classic wooden floors in the bedrooms are, every movement in the room above ours was squeakily audible and we had to resort to our ear plugs for a good night's rest.
This being the end of our 9 day road trip to France, we decided to splurge and treat ourselves at the hotel's gastronomy restaurant Le Seran. We went for one of the tasting menus available, to which Julien added the wine pairing.
Our starters of the mushroom risotto with pan-fried fois gras sounded a delicious and intriguing creation. But they were in the end a little lacklustre, missing the rich taste we were expecting. A great idea, we thought of the dish, but slightly missed on execution.
Julien had the poultry and rhubarb with veggies main, and was very happy with it, complimenting the preparation and combination. For my part, I went for the roasted John Dory with peanut mousse in a ginger and lemongrass sauce, and it was inspired! The combination of flavours was unexpected and spectacular.
The wine pairing got a mixed review from Julien, with some decent wines in places but also some odd choices, and generally should perhaps be passed on given the added price.
For dessert we both went for the local shortbread with citrus fruit and lime sorbet - refreshing and beautifully presented, but in reality not all that different from a lemon meringue pie and so not particularly groundbreaking.
I guess it is fair to say that the Château d'Audrieu left us with slightly mixed feelings. It is undoubtedly a beautiful property steeped in history, and could be recommended purely on that basis. We enjoyed the beautiful surroundings, as well as the service from the unfailingly attentive staff.
But having our nighttime rest interrupted, as well as a few slightly underwhelming food-related things, left us thinking that there might possibly be better value available elsewhere for the money spent.
Nevertheless, it is a comfortable stay in a luxury property, and was a solid way to end what was yet another amazing French holiday.