Nos Coups de Coeur
Oh my goodness, where would I even start to pick our *favourite* venues?!?!
Just when I think I’ve finally discovered *all* the venues the Southwest has to offer, I discover a hidden gem or someone launches a fabulous brand new venture. The Dordogne is, after all, known as the “land of 1001 châteaux” – and that doesn’t even touch on our near neighbors the Gironde, Lot-et-Garonne, Gers, Charente etc.
Further, just like every wedding decision and detail should be – venue choice is an intensely personal thing! It should be an extension of the kind of vibe you want to create for your day and share with your guests – and indeed should form the basis for many of your décor/styling decisions. So me trying to tell you what the “best venues” are is a bit of a nonsense!
I have taken big budget clients to visit the most expensive venues in the area, only to have them choose one of the humblest for it’s quaint atmosphere, and in fact for how much more *wedding* they’d be able to have without an outsized spend on venue. And conversely I’ve had couples who asked for a “rustic, simple” venue – end up booking one of our grandest châteaux. It’s a bit like buying a house, really – or trying on a wedding dress, or even falling in love: When you know… you know.
You can (and should) weigh up all the pros and cons to various venues, what is included in their offer, and what will create extra cost elsewhere (some venues include tables, chairs, tableware at a per head price, and some are a literal blank canvas.) But there is always a bit of an intangible ‘it’ factor – and usually one place will just “feel” right.
So the below are just a handful of venues that we feel are offering something really special. That have that French “je ne sais quoi” – an intangible factor that made us fall in love with them – and we suspect you will too.
Château de Redon somehow manages to be both grand and un-pretentious at the same time. The interiors are stunning (but again – unpretentious) and the rooms are enormous.
There’s a modern edge to the decor that is rare and welcome in the area – where unfortunately we have lots and lots of beautiful châteaux with musty “authentic period interiors” that fall just on the wrong side of shabby rather than chic (!) But you won’t find any of that at Redon where they have deftly mixed antique pieces with newer ones, striking just the right balance of style and comfort.
And as an added bonus, the owners absolutely couldn’t be lovelier
Castelnau – if you want to share the full French countryside experience with your guests, I can’t think of a better way to do that than by renting an entire village.
The castelnau lovingly restored – 17 houses. Relaxed vibe, unpretentious – interiours are simple but comfortable. Stunning views in every direction. 12th century fortified blahblah
Château Ladausse – run by an absolutely charming Belgian/American couple. Eric can wax poetic about wines – Diane amazing chef. Due to its position on a hilltop, it seems to float there just at the treeline – and feel like you’re alone in the world secret tree-top hideaway. Though are happy to host larger weddings (up to 150 with an added marquee) I think I might prefer Ladausse for slightly smaller/more intimate weddings – it’s not the kind of secret you’d want to share with just anyone.
Due to its position on a hilltop, it seems to float there just at the treeline – and you feel like you’re alone in the world secret at a tree-top hideaway with your favourite people.
Though are happy to host larger weddings (up to 150 with an added marquee) I think I might prefer Ladausse for slightly smaller/more intimate weddings – it’s not the kind of secret you’d want to share with just anyone.
Aand finally Léotardie – simple and very French interiors – not the choice for interiors snobs (how to say this) undeniable charm. stunning grounds – 4 houses on the same ‘domaine’ that sleep almost 100 guests in total. Absolutely exceptional value.
– keep in mind that’s just 4 out of around 50 venues on our books! So please do get in touch if you’re looking for your own ‘coup de coeur.’ We think it’s important to promote our venues by name as a way of honouring all of their hard work – so you won’t find any silly “code-names” here, and we’re always happy to share!
Ps. Check back soon for our round ups on best venues for big guest counts, best for smaller/intimate weddings etc!