Review of the Château d'Audrieu
Updated: Jun 20, 2020
Having spent a full day wandering around some of the many magnificent castles of the Loire Valley, we finished the day by checking into our local hotel accommodation - a stay booked at the lovely Château d'Audrieu. Situated near the city of Caen in France's Normandy region, this property is part of the exclusive Relais & Châteaux group of hotels, and is also a listed historic monument.
The drive leading up to the Château d'Audrieu 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. The grounds of the hotel 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 at Audrieu 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 to dinner 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 fish 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 our stay at the Château d'Audrieu left us with slightly mixed feelings. It is undoubtedly a beautiful hotel property set amongst some lovely Normandy woodlands and steeped in French history, and could be recommended purely on that basis. We enjoyed the gardens and 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 bits, left us thinking that there might possibly be better value available elsewhere for the money spent.
Nevertheless, the Chateau d'Audrieu hotel makes for a comfortable stay in a luxury property, and was a solid way to end what was yet another amazing French holiday.