Chateau de Codignat, Bort-l’Etang

IMG_0551.jpg
Welcome to my castle!

Hotel

Château de Codignat is a beautiful 15th century castle surrounded by 15 hectares of  wooded park overlooking the village of Bort l’Etang. At the north end of the Auvergne, near Clermont- Ferrand, this is a part of France that is a little off the beaten track for many tourists, but  none the less very beautiful. It’s not quite in the Rhone wine region as it’s between Rhone and Bordeaux, but we’ve classified it as this for the blog, based on the abundance on their wines on the menu at the château.

The rooms with their stone walls and antique furnishings, such as four poster beds and chandeliers, felt like you were stepping back in time.  Our room was approached by climbing through a door off of a stone spiral staircase. A hallway led past the bathroom on the left with a huge tub and then into our bedroom on the second floor. The bed was super-comfortable and we had plenty of room with a few tables and chairs to relax on.

IMG_0537
Photo op only – I’m sleeping on the floor!

We made the mistake first of all of booking a two-bedroom  cottage in the grounds as there were three of us plus Barnaby, but then we discovered that there was no second bathroom upstairs. We then asked to move into the main château, and I am so glad that we did! The cottage, although nice, can in no way be compared to staying in the main castle.

IMG_0559

The Restaurant – dog-friendly and 1 Michelin star

The main restaurant is in a beautiful  circular stone room, where a huge fireplace dominates the room. There were six tables in here and then further tables outside (where we ate breakfast in the morning). The restaurant has one Michelin Star, but although the food was excellent, I wasn’t sure it was quite to that standard, maybe marred by the fact that we didn’t actually eat for an hour after we sat down and I was starving! We had mackerel to start, followed by chard with an Asian influence. The cheese board was magnificent and definitely worth saving space for. We hadn’t asked if the restaurant was dog-friendly as Barnaby was very happy to be left (he’s so well practised now that he  didn’t even bother getting up when we said that we were leaving him in the room!). However, when a couple left the restaurant and we discovered that their dog had been under the table for the whole meal, I felt a bit bad and went and collected Barnaby so that he could join us for dessert!

IMG_0567
Dinner is through here!

Nearby walks

Just on the right before you get to Château de Codignat is a large house, and to the side of that is a path that leads you into the woods. There is one main straight path that seems to go on forever, that I followed for the first evening. However, in the morning I went back with Anthony and we took one of the little paths off into the woods and explored the woods a bit more. Barnaby absolutely loved running around and spaniel sniffing! n.b. There are no bins anywhere outside the château for poo bags!

IMG_0572
Let me go!

Nice touches

  • Coffee machine

For more information visit their website: https://www.relaischateaux.com/gb/france/codignat-puy-de-dome-bort-l-etang

Advertisements

Cafés/restaurants SW6

IMG_7463
He’s behind you!

The Harwood ArmsWalham Grove, London SW6 1QP – ‘It’s not your average pub’, states their website, and indeed it’s not. It is the only pub in London to have a Michelin Star. They offer a set price menu for both lunch and dinner which is pretty reasonable, although the wines are quite pricy. It’s quite a meaty menu (with just one fish dish), so do ask to take a look at the vegetarian set menu too. My advice would be to make sure that you save enough room for the divine sticky toffee pudding.

 

Château De Germigney, Port-Lesney 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

IMG_E6966
Just making myself at home!

Hotel

Château de Germigney is an 18th-century manor house, the former home of the Marquis de Germigney and now a luxury hotel (Relais & Châteaux). We arrived on a dark and wet evening and took a reluctant Barnaby around the grounds so he could do his business and stretch his legs. When we went to check-in, our bags were taken off us and we were ushered into the back drawing room where we were  given a cup of earl grey tea and a slice of lemon drizzle cake in front of the roaring fire! The château is perfectly charming, everywhere you turn there appears to be another little sitting room, where you can relax with a magazine or book.  The furnishings, pictures and finishing touches are really nicely done and the château has a very comfortable and cosy feel. Our bedroom on the first floor was lovely with a king-size bed with super-comfy mattress and a little bathroom with bath and shower.

IMG_E6969
Can you spot me?

Restaurant –  dog-friendly and 1 Michelin star

Before dinner,  quite a few of the guests were having a pre-dinner drink in the drawing room. We decided to join them with Barnaby and sat in front of the fire again with a G and T. I am sure the château is just as fabulous in the summer, but it really was the perfect spot for a winter’s night! As the restaurant had a Michelin star, I had assumed that we would have to take Barnaby back to our room whilst we had dinner. However, he was welcomed into the dining room and they’d even put a bowl of water out for him. He was very well behaved and lay under the table! Another couple brought their dog in, somewhat unusually, in a bag, so it was nice that we weren’t the only ones!

I have to say that dinner was excellent. I had a truffle-fest, truffle risotto to start and Saint Jacques with truffle for my main course. Anthony had a set menu (a meat-fest before he goes home with the veggie!), and I should note that his apple pudding (that he of course needed help with) was divine.  During an excellent breakfast the following morning, yet more people had their dogs accompanying them.

IMG_E6994
We sat here!

Nearby walks

The grounds are great to have a walk around first and last thing at night with your pup. They were beautifully lit with lights for Christmas, but again, I should imagine that it is also really lovely in the summer to eat outside and to be able to enjoy the ‘natural’ outdoor pool.  We spotted some famous Bourg-en-Bresse chickens in the hen-house (a feature on the menu too) and a rather pretty shepherd’s hut in the car park!

IMG_6985
Anyone home?

In the morning we headed off for a longer walk. We went  left out of the château turning onto Maison Neuve and left again onto Rue du Moulin, following the river. The intention was to take a circular route back, but we were rather thwarted. The river was incredibly high and had burst its banks, flooding the road and making it inaccessible, so we had to take a bit of a detour. The village itself is also very pretty and Château de Germigney have a bistrot there, Le Bistrot de Port- Lesney, if you don’t fancy the fine dining at the château. It does have a Michelin Bib Gourmand, so you are still going to eat well!

IMG_E6995
Verdict – definitely dog-friendly

Nice touches

  • A mini-bar for storing Barnaby’s raw food

For more information visit their website: http://www.chateaudegermigney.com/en

Lords of the Manor, Upper Slaughter 🐾🐾🐾🐾

IMG_5123
Yep, it’s comfy!

The Hotel 

Lords of the Manor is situated in Upper Slaughter,  one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. It has the added bonus of not being too touristy. The hotel  only has a few dog-friendly rooms which are situated further away from the main building. They are accessed from a covered walkway, but still feel very much a part of the hotel. We had a lovely sized room with a 6 foot bed which was super-comfortable. There was space to sit and relax, plus a decent size bathroom with bath, bidet and shower. It was also very nice that they had left Barnaby some Bob and Lush food and treats, and a bottle of mineral water!

 

IMG_5131[3021]
Are these really for me?!
 The Restaurant – 1 Michelin Star

The restaurant has one Michelin star which was the main reason for choosing the hotel, and I have to say that the food was amazing. On Friday and Saturday you have to have the tasting menu which is not a hardship! (our seven courses were described as  pumpkin soup,  beetroot, scallops, risotto, turbot, optional cheese course, cheesecake). I have to say that the mushroom risotto with 36 month aged parmesan was the nicest I’ve ever had, and only added to my menu as I don’t eat meat! A great substitute in my opinion. Dogs are not allowed in the restaurant, although  I think Barnaby would have been better behaved than some of the other diners there that night! He had a nice nap in our room while we were gone.

IMG_5181[2987]
Do you mind, I’m having a wee!
Nearby walks

Lords of the Manor has recently been announced as the Good Hotel Guide’s best Hotel with Gardens. It’s set in 8 acres with the river Eye running through it and Barnaby had a lovely run around in the wet grass in the morning. Anthony took him out in the evening before we went to bed and said that it was very hard to see anything as there was no lighting…so take a torch or a LED collar for your pup! The hotel also recommends some longer walks but unfortunately for us it was pouring with rain and we couldn’t face getting soaked.

IMG_5169[2983]
What a lovely garden!
For more information visit: http://www.lordsofthemanor.com/

Cafés/restaurants W1

Locanda
Dinner date with Darcy

Liberty London – Regent Street, London W1B 5AH – Liberty is a must see for any Londoner and tourist alike. It’s such an iconic building and just tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Regent Street. Walk up the winding wooden staircase to the newly opened Arthur’s restaurant on the second floor. It’s such a pleasure to find dog-friendly places like this! The food was great and they brought water for our pups, always a nice touch.

Locanda Locatelli– 8 Seymour Street, London W1H 7JZ – This is the first Michelin star restaurant I’ve taken Barnaby to and we were made to feel very welcome. We had a discreet corner table so the dogs were out of the way. Giorgio came and said hello! He has a cockapoo called Olive so he was very sweet to the dogs and the food was excellent!

Wigmore]
I think I like her!

The Wigmore, The Langham Hotel– 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London W1B 1JA –  The newly open Wigmore bar describes itself as a tavern, but it’s so much more! The former banking hall has wonderful high ceilings and funky green walls. It’s great menu is overseen by Michael Roux Jr. so you can’t go wrong! A great place to stop for a drink or lunch with your pup after a visit to Regents Park.

These were all visited with May Wong and Miss Darcy. Check out her blog http://missdarcy.org for an extensive list of Dog-friendly places!

Château de Bagnols, Bagnols 🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

IMG_5313
Is it really only us here?

The Hotel

This château really has the wow factor! Built over 800 years ago it feels like you are stepping back in time. It was shortly before Christmas when we visited and it was fabulously quiet; it felt like we had the place to ourselves. We made ourselves comfortable in the most enormous stone-walled bedroom and admired the huge bathroom in the turret with our very own throne!

FullSizeRender - Copy (2)
In France they have thrones!

The Restaurant – 1 Michelin Star

Dogs are not allowed in the aptly-named Restaurant 1217, which boats the largest fireplace in Europe (it’s very impressive).  However, there is the Café du Château in the enclosed courtyard, just outside the restaurant, where you can eat with your pup. Barnaby was able to join us for a drink upstairs in the beautiful sitting room with its brick floor and grand fireplace, before we popped him back in our room whilst we went for dinner.

IMG_5319
But no dogs allowed!

Nearby walks

We took Barnaby for a short off-lead walk around the grounds last thing at night and first thing in the morning. It was perfectly adequate for a young pup but you’d need to venture further afield for a longer walk.

For more information visit their website: http://www.chateaudebagnols.com/en