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Destiny Fulfilled- Château de l’Yeuse

Destiny Fulfilled- Château de l’Yeuse

The name of Cognac has long been synonymous with stylish living and a sense of occasion – qualities which are alive and well…



One of the great joys of France is its sheer diversity. Just when you think you must have seen it all, you chance upon something or somewhere which simply takes your breath away and rekindles the French love affair. The Château de l’Yeuse is just such a place. Designed by local architect Henri Geay, it was built during the early 1900s in the Belle-Epoque style of redbrick and local stone normally employed for fashionable villas overlooking the nearby Atlantic coast. Instead of the ocean, however, the château sits on a rocky escarpment and the original owners were more than content to gaze upon the surrounding sea of cognac vines on which their sizable fortunes had been founded.


For many years the château’s destiny would remain entwined with that of the cognac trade, while establishing for itself a reputation for convivial family entertaining. The venerable family home was sold in 1995 but the spirit of hospitality was reaffirmed when the building opened as a hotel, after a painstaking two-year campaign of enlargement and restoration. The Château de l’Yeuse (named after the Evergreen Oak which stands proudly in the garden) now offers twenty-four beautifully appointed rooms and suites with views of the chateau gardens or across the valley of the Charente. To make things even more relaxing, l’Yeuse has a large outdoor swimming pool, spa facilities such as sauna, hammam and Jacuzzi, plus a choice of massage treatments. To these four-star levels of comfort may be added a selection of à la carte services, including personalised catering and dégustations of rare cognacs in the cosy, retro-club ambiance of ‘le Cognathèque’, which stocks around 180 fine vintages from 60 cognac houses.

Overseeing it all are hotel manager Céline Desmazières (whose family purchased the property back in 1995) and her husband Rémi Marcotte, a landscape architect who discovered the garden while working here one summer. “He fell in love with the garden before me...” jokes Céline, who sees her role when presiding over her team of talented, passionate and committed professionals as akin to that of “chef d’orchestre”. She also takes pleasure in sharing with clients the things about which she herself is passionate: “L’Yeuse is a universe which you can enter through different ways – it’s luxurious, obviously, but also family-friendly, with the kind of relaxed feel which invites you to kick off your shoes and walk on the grass, if you wish.” 

Nestled between the hotel’s plateau and the River Charente lies the chateau garden, a two-hectare parcel of land which has been carefully nurtured back to life by Rémi after years of neglect. Today ‘le Jardin Respectueux’ is a project designed to encourage biodiversity and respect for nature and the environment, with games, illustrations and expert insight from Rémi, who is usually present during opening times.

The hotel and its garden enjoy a symbiotic relationship: ingredients fresh from the potager are used in the food, aromatic herbs from the garden are used in the spa, and in summer guests can dine outside. For a sumptuous gourmet experience La Table de l’Yeuse offers a selection of dishes created by hugely talented young chef Julien Lachenaud, who cooked for Vladimir Putin and Gerard Dépardieu and others while working in St Petersburg. Alternatively, Le P’tit Yeuse features inspired bistrot style dining in a less formal setting – or you’re welcome to simply take tea on the terrace and enjoy the garden.


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L’Yeuse, 65 rue de Bellevue, 16100 Châteaubernard, Cognac.
T: 05 45 36 82 60.
Le Jardin Respectueux opens Saturdays April–Oct 10am–6pm.

Published in Living Poitou-Charentes © All rights reserved