Some Chateau are homely and friendly, while others can feel as intimidating as their French owners. But there’s great news if you would rather avoid the cold and stumbling with the language as these ideal chateau are able to provide for such problems with ease..As a five-year-old boy, Oliver Price moved briefly with his family to the Lot region, and it created such happy memories that he returned in 2018 to buy a property in the village of Duras. The 40-year-old consultant from London has meticulously restored the musty old rooms and creaking floors of Le Jardin du Chateau (The Castle Garden) so there’s now a stylish modern vibe throughout which makes for an extremely comfortable holiday home. According to Oliver, Le Jardin du Chateau attracts mainly British guests ‘they seem to find it more relaxing that they don’t have to worry about the language barrier,’ he says ‘We attract mainly British guests they seem to find it more relaxing that they don’t have to worry about the language barrier,’ says Oliver. ‘The space is ideal for large families or groups of friends, sleeps 12 in six en suite bedrooms, and they can bring their dog.’ Near the large outdoor pool and terrace with a barbecue area, there’s a huge living and dining space with an open-plan kitchen. The second floor has a second living/dining room and another well-equipped kitchen plus wine fridge. Oliver adds: ‘For me, holidays in the area have always been about enjoying the amazing seasonal food – buffalo tomato and mozzarella salads at this time of the year and hearty casseroles as summer turns to winter. Guests love to eat by the pool on hot days and take in the scent of the herbs, the lavender, jasmine and the orange blossom it’s just sensational and instantly relaxing.’ After welcoming guests, Oliver points out the path to Duras, where guests can pick up croissants in the bakery, fresh produce in the twice-weekly market and fresh, plump Arcachon oysters from the man who sells them from his van every Sunday morning. There are countless vineyards in the region and, of course, Bordeaux itself, where you can check out the impressive La Cite du Vin museum, a cultural centre dedicated to everything you ever wanted to know about wine. Chateau Lignol’s decor is eclectic, with gilt mirrors, grand artwork and minimal furniture,it was formerly a hunting lodge, costs from £2,688 a week and sleeps ten There are panoramic views over the city from the top floor and a very good tasting bar at which your entrance ticket entitles you to tuck in to about a dozen wines. Should you wish to learn more about French food and wine, you could sign up for one of the masterclass retreats offered by Oliver in co-operation with Nicolle Croft, who set up Berry Bros wine school, and top chefs such as 2021 MasterChef Professionals champion Dan Lee. Le Jardin du Chateau costs from £3,027 a week and it sleeps 12 Chateaux always do well with British guests, according to Oliver Bell, co-founder of Oliver’s Travels, which has 180 on its books. ‘Families love the privacy that these buildings offer and they also allow imaginations to run wild,’ he says. ‘It’s a magical experience, no matter your age. ‘There’s no better setting than a chateau if you want to surround yourself with nature.’ In the middle of Brittany farmland and at the end of a long track you’ll find Chateau Lignol, a little gem owned by Linda Brown. Inside, the decor of the 14th Century former hunting lodge reflects Linda’s eclectic style, which is all gilt mirrors, grand artwork and minimal furniture. Linda, who is from Edinburgh, fell for Lignol in 2002. She says: ‘It was exactly what I was looking for in a home – a beautiful large house I could fall in love with, like something out of a fairy tale with a Rapunzel tower behind impressive gates and with woodlands.’ It costs from £2,688 a week and sleeps ten. About an hour’s drive from either Toulouse or the atmospheric walled city of Carcassonne, Chateau De Thuries is a wonderful option if you want to explore French life – from local vineyards and markets to rivers and lakes. And you can reach the coastal towns of Perpignan and Montpellier in less than two hours. The chateau was bought by Steve and Jayne Simmons in 2018 who have since devoted a lot of time and effort into transforming the property into a stylish retreat which has five guest suites and sleeps ten. Guests have described their hosts as ‘the personification of kindness.’ Prices are from £136 per night based on two sharing Chateau Caillac is a beautiful seven-bedroom 19th Century property right beside the River Lot in an area of south-west France that’s famed for its plum orchards. It has been owned by Angela Hall with her husband Steve for 17 years, since she cut her teeth on renovating a ten-bedroom property in Chester and was looking for something even more challenging. The result is a chic and traditional chateau, along with a heated swimming pool, which is available for exclusive hire by single groups of guests. Chateau Noble in the Gers, a part of France where life goes on much as it has for generations. And it’s all about top-class service at the 400-year-old Noble, overseen by the property’s rather eccentric owner, Turlough Martin, from London. The self-proclaimed ‘Count de Rosbif’ bought the chateau in 2014.