Chateau Le Mas de Montet, France

STOP 16 | Day 43 to 46 |

Following a quick 3.5 hour flight from Istanbul we arrived in Paris late in the evening. As we had sampled all forms of transport throughout our SE Asia adventures from trains, planes, buses, mini-vans, scooters, tuk-tuks and boats, we decided it was time to a rent an automobile to travel to the south of France for the wedding of our good friends J&D. To break up our commute time we drove approximately 2 hours to the sleepy town of Orleans for an overnight stay in a very basic 11 meter squared hotel room.

The next morning we rose early in search for an amazing French breakfast. We had images of freshly baked croissants, baguettes and cheese but to our surprise we couldn’t find a café or restaurant for breakfast anywhere within a 20 minute radius. As such, we settled for a gourmet breakfast meal at our reliable friend of McDonald’s (embarrassing – we know!). J then decided it was time to get the calories burning with a pre-emptive wedding workout (after all we knew we were going to be gorging on some amazing French food and wine over the next few days). After our morning gym session we managed to find a French bakery where we picked up some baguettes (first of many) for the 4 hour road trip.

The highways throughout Europe are very easy to navigate and well maintained – although the tolls in France are a bit steep (35euro one way).  J does like a good road trip and thought there would be a bit more scenery along the drive but there wasn’t much aside from flat farm land along the highway. The scenery once you got off the major highways and navigated through the local roads (definitely needed the GPS), was far more beautiful with massive fields of sunflowers. Sadly many of sunflower were not in bloom this time of year (typically you can catch them during June/July). Arriving at Chateau Le Mas de Montet its beauty takes your breath away when it emerges out of the surrounding countryside and you approach the large tree lined driveway. The Chateau is a beautifully restored Renaissance style chateau set on 130 acres of lush green grounds and heated pool for guests to enjoy. In the evening we went into Aubeterre sur Dronne, which is the closest village to the Chateau to have drinks and dinner with friends and family at Hotel de France. The restaurant opened to the main square of the town which was lined with shops, restaurants and cafes. It was here we could see how Aubeterre sur Dronne had been listed as “One of the most beautiful villages in France”.

The next day was le marriage of J&D! After a morning breakfast of croissants, baguettes and cheese, A relaxed at the Chateau while J ran a few errands with the groom. We grabbed a quick lunch, enjoying our first tartine (a French open faced sandwich), in Aubeterre and headed back to get ready for the wedding. The Chateau proved the perfect picturesque backdrop for the wedding ceremony and a long table (with the most amazing floral table runner) set under lights and lanterns greeted us for our evening dinner. After our phenomenal meal of melon and prosciutto salad, mushrooms in puff pastry, a duck or lamb main and a dessert trio, couple by amazing Bordeaux wine, we headed to the barn to continue the party with some dancing and (more) drinks to the backdrop of a live band.

The Chateau grounds and pool provided the perfect venue for everyone to relax (recover) and catch up the next day. A mainly continued to feast on baguettes and cheese while J took to the pool in his speedo (just kidding…?). Late afternoon we all enjoyed wine tasting and trivia organized by J&D and hosted by the hilarious duo of J&L. Congratulations to J&D for an amazing wedding. We had so much fun with amazing food and thoroughly enjoyed catching up with / meeting new friends and family. We wish you two all the best!

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