If you’re after atmosphere, peace and history, the Chateau Royal de Saint Saturnin won’t disappoint. Fortified walls, turrets, Renaissance gardens and magnificent views take you on a trip back in time narrated by the welcoming owners, Emmanuel and Christine Pénicaud, whose passion for and knowledge of this venerable building shine in every detail.
     The castle dates back to the 13thC, when it was built by the noble La Tour d’Auvergne family with moat, ramparts and triple enclosure. Transformed in the 15thC into an impressive residence, Catherine de Medici and Margaret of Valois lived here before the Chateau was given as a gift to King Louis XIII. In the second half of the 20thC it was an orphanage, and only 11 years ago restoration and modernisation converted it into the present magnificent guesthouse and B&B.
     Five spacious suites are located in the oldest part of the castle, reached by an original spiral staircase. Our reporter found them ‘beautifully appointed’, with Louis XIII period furniture, antique rugs, great curtains and vaulted ceilings. The bathrooms are as charming as the bedrooms, hewn out of the thick walls or found in the adjoining towers, with huge showers and baths and fluffy towels. The large grounds cry out for a stroll or a picnic, and the lovely Renaissance garden area invites peaceful contemplation. From your bedroom window you can see across the courtyard the picturesque village of Saint Saturnin with its Romanesque church, and the soothing scenery of the Vallée de la Monne and the Parc de Volcans. Ask for a room with sunset view.
     Emmanuel and Christine like to spoil their guests at breakfast, both with interesting titbits about the castle’s history, suggestions on which local attractions to visit, and with delicious homemade and local produce. Tours are organised for guests and tourists to explore the castle and find out more about its history.