Adventure vacations in France

Château en Auvergne


This beautiful 4 star château near the center of France has been exquisitely restored, complete with antique furniture, in excellent good taste, without ostentation. The comfortable bedrooms have delightful charm and the cuisine is superb.

Lovely rural countryside surrounds the 100 acre property with its attractive, well-kept gardens, orchards, fields, stables, riding rings and swimming pool, making it an ideal base for horse riding in France. The Forest of Tronçais with its magnificent oak trees (home to wild boar and deer) is nearby. The oak from this forest is considered some of the finest in the world for making casks for aging wines and is exported to top wineries the world over. Many of these centuries old trees were saplings when Napoleon was finally defeated at Waterloo.

This stay does not offer an intensive, moving riding tour, but does provide 2 hours or so of riding each day in the ring or on trails at your own skill level. You can also receive instruction in basic equestrian skills, jumping or dressage. This is not simply a riding holiday; it must be considered as a chance to appreciate an elegant, tranquil environment while enjoying delicious meals in the best French style accompanied by wines of your choice.

The estate’s fertile gardens and orchards provide excellent fresh vegetables and fruit in season. It also offers a chance to move back a century or two to a more gracious period when people took more time to appreciate fine cuisine, good wines, lovely landscape and rich culture. Many activities are possible when not riding like canoeing and fishing in the pond, hiking in forests, fields and through ancient villages, golf, swimming in the heated pool, taking a massage, cooking classes, browsing in the extensive library or playing billiards. Nearby you can see churches from Roman times, castles from the middle ages and famous vineyards. It is an ideal destination for non-riding companions.

The chateau dates back to 1836 and is a member of the esteemed Chateaux & Hotels collection and is recognized as a premier lodging choice in the region with 19 well-appointed rooms. The welcoming rooms are tastefully furnished with modern en-suite bathrooms. You may choose between standard, comfort, superior and luxury rooms. Its hilltop position provides wonderful views of the lake, forests and fields, and the southern facing terrace is the perfect place for a refreshing drink or meal.

There is a heated swimming pool near the orchard and kitchen garden, open from June to September.  There is a library and billiard room for your use, and options for massages, culinary lessons, as well as hiking and cycling.

Your meals will be a sampling of wonderful French regional cuisine featuring home grown and local produce including Charolais meats and fresh fish.

  • Overview:
    There are a total of 40 horses, 12 are French Saddlebred and English thoroughbred, used for trail and general instruction. For more advanced instruction there are 4 thoroughbred sport horses for jumping and 2 Spanish and German horses for dressage. There are also 6 ponies for children. The equestrian center is also involved in breeding and training race horses, and guests are welcome to watch trainers during their sessions. Tack is all English, with some French trekking saddles.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Variety, from French Saddlebred, Thoroughbred, ponies.
  • Tack:
  • Weight limit:
    200 lb
  • Hours of Instruction:
    2 hrs of lessons or trail riding daily.
  • Instruction and Training:
    Jumping and dressage instruction available
  • Types of Instruction:
    Clinics and Lessons, Dressage Training, Jumping Lessons

On the estate offers hiking, cycling, fishing, cooking classes and massages.

There is a range of cultural sightseeing sites in the historic Bourbonnais region, such as Abbaye de Noirlac, Chateau de la Palice, Arboretum de Balaine and Abbaye de Souvigny.

There are also amusement parks, golf, canoeing and the national forest of Tronçais nearby.

If planning to visit nearby areas, it is best to arrive by car. Otherwise take train to Moulins sur Allier and a taxi from there (about half an hour).

Trip Itinerary

Each day includes two hours of riding, except for arrival day, which does not have riding, and departure day, which offers one hour in the morning.

Day 1

Tuesday: Arrive train station or directly to the chateau. Settle into your rooms and relax before dinner and overnight.

Day 2

Wednesday – Saturday: Breakfast, lessons or trail ride (2 hours) by arrangement, light lunch and dinner.

Day 6

Sunday: Breakfast and a lesson or trail ride (1 hour), light lunch and departure.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and subject to change due to weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Flexible 5 night stays starting on Tuesday and ending on Sunday. Shorter length stays are also possible. High Season: July 1-August 31 Middle Season: May 1-June 30, September 1-30 Low Season: March 1-April 30, October 1-December 31

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Preferred Trip Dates

Château en Auvergne
May 21, 2024
January 1, 1970
January 1, 1970

Group Information

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The guide was an excellent leader and host. While our hotels and meals were excellent, he also prepared picnic lunches that were 4-Star! The venue for the trip was both exciting and interesting, stopping to visit castles, chateaus, caves and villages of great historical importance in French history. It was an unforgettable... Read more  

Pastore, 2019