Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé
Historic, Intimate, Romantic
9 Place de la République Le Grand-Lucé +33 02 55 48 40 40 chateaugrandluce.com
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At a Glance
Set on 80 private acres and surrounded by an original medieval wall, this show-stopping, historic château offers an intimate and elegant retreat in the bucolic Loire Valley, where guests are made to feel like the invited guests of the 18th-century French baron who once resided here.
- The gracious and attentive team
- The fascinating history of the property, from its medieval origins to wartime heroism
- The baguettes, croissants, pain au chocolat and other French treats baked fresh in the surrounding village and served on-property
Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé Review
The team at the Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé—and the guests, as well—rarely refer to the property as “the hotel;” it is almost always “the château.” This simple touch is indicative of the greater ethos of the property and the feeling that embraces guests immediately upon arrival: This special place is less of a hotel and more of a home—and a grand home at that.
The second property from Pilot Hotels, the boutique hotel brand behind the Washington School House in Park City, Utah, the Château du Grand-Lucé was unveiled as a hotel in 2019, its latest incarnation following centuries of past lives. The château was built by Baron Jacques Pineau du Viennay, a friend of King Louis XV, in the 1760s, when the Loire Valley was dotted with the summer homes of Parisian nobility. (The wood used to construct the château was sourced from the same nearby forest as the wood used at Versailles.) The baron replaced the 12th-century castle that previously stood on the château’s grounds, but he preserved the fortified medieval wall that still surrounds the estate today. The original statues erected throughout the property—housewarming gifts from King Louis and exact replicas of the statues at Versailles—also remain as testaments to the property’s illustrious heritage.
While most of the Loire châteaux were purposefully built in secluded countryside settings, the Château du Grand-Lucé is uniquely located within the tiny rural village of Le Grand-Lucé. The baron and baroness reportedly fostered a trusting relationship with the local townspeople, and the family—in addition to their magnificent château—was spared from the grim fate that awaited many of their aristocratic peers during the French Revolution. Throughout the Age of Enlightenment, the baron’s daughter, who inherited her father’s château, hosted such luminaries as Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau and Mozart. In the coming decades, the property came under the ownership of the French government, and it served as a hospital for French and British soldiers in both world wars. A secret compartment in the stable (now the grand ballroom) was even used to shelter paintings from the Louvre during World War II. Renowned interior designer Timothy Corrigan purchased the château from the French government in the early 2000s, and it remained his private residence until its acquisition by Pilot Hotels in 2017.
Despite its long and layered history, travelers staying at the château today still feel like the invited guests of Baron Jacques Pineau du Viennay, ushered back to the era of 18th-century French nobility—but without any pretension or stuffiness. There is no formal lobby or reception, just a warm greeting from the team members who meet guests upon arrival with a glass of local Champagne in hand, as if welcoming friends who had just pulled up in the driveway. With only 17 rooms, the property feels intimate, and the team members on-site truly get to know the guests and are always ready to enhance their stay, whether it is organizing a picnic on the grounds or offering a lift to the train station for a day of exploring.
The guest rooms differ in style and décor, though are all spacious and ornate. Interiors feel fit for a French aristocrat, with soaring ceilings, damask-covered walls, museum-quality artwork, Maison Caulières bath products and silk draperies cascading atop custom-made king beds. (Every room is slightly different, including two pieds-à-terre in a connecting building. Contact Indagare to find the best match for you.) The top suite is the elegant and elaborate Baron’s Suite, comprising the former bedroom of the baron himself; a private office and library with a collection of French literature; and a sitting room known as the “Salon Chinois,” named for its original 1764 mural from the artist Jean-Baptiste Pillement, whose other works hang in the Louvre. (When the Baron’s Suite is not booked, the Salon Chinois is open to other guests as a common space.)
The property’s fine-dining restaurant Le Lucé serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering a different three-course menu designed by the chef each day and incorporating locally sourced ingredients, including produce from the Château’s own gardens. Guests dine on sophisticated French fare inside the small dining room or on a patio outside, overlooking the manicured gardens. Next door, the bar is housed in the former chapel (and has the only television in the entire hotel). The baron and baroness’ former dining room can also be reserved for meals upon request.
The hotel’s 80 private acres invite relaxation and quiet strolls. The formal gardens, closest to the house, were inspired by those at Versailles and designed with the symmetry and order of 18th-century French classicism. The potager garden and orchards supply the kitchen, while the greenhouse and orangery are set near the small outdoor pool, surrounded by lounge chairs. There is also a large pond with a rowboat and a small fitness center and spa with three simple treatment rooms. Both electric and traditional bikes are available for guests.
Activities in the surrounding region include visiting the Loire Valley’s famous châteaux, wine-tasting, hiking or horseback riding in the Bercé forest, bike riding, antique shopping and visiting the small city of Le Mans, most famous for its medieval walled city and the 24 Hours of Le Mans motor race each June (car lovers can visit the race track and museum year-round). The hotel can also assist in arranging day trips to Paris, Tours, Orléans, Angers, Normandy, Brittany and more.
The Château is available for full buyouts, during which five additional rooms on the third floor are made available that are not currently open for individual bookings.
The hotel is set on the edge of the Loire Valley, a 35-minute drive from the small city of Le Mans, which is an hour-long train ride from Paris-Gare Montparnasse or a one hour and 40-minute train ride from Charles de Gaulle Airport. Rental cars can be arranged through the Château and picked up upon arrival.