Near Paris, a new generation of countryside resort-style hotels – Earn Charter

It’s a château, but you shouldn’t call it that as that’s too old-fashioned and stuffy. From now on, the Château du Val will be called “Maison du Val” – the name of the hotel that opened in 2021 in a former hunting lodge belonging to Louis XIV, on the edge of the forest in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Yvelines, Paris region). With weekend brunches, board games in the book-filled lounges, a karaoke room, arcade games and Nordic baths, the establishment is typical of a new generation of 4- and 5-star countryside hotels that have been springing up around Paris over the past four years.

They’ve created a market: weekend hotels for affluent urban families who want to escape the city and enjoy various activities. What establishments such as Le Barn, Domaine de Primard, Abbaye des Vaux-de-Cernay and Les Maisons de Campagne all have in common is relaxed luxury with activities or “experiences” to keep you onsite, resort style. Spa, cycling, yoga, rowing, cinema, wine tasting, horseback riding and permaculture classes are among the activities offered, along with counselors who look after the children and keep them busy.

“The marketing concept is that of a country house. It’s a place where you come to spend a weekend in the countryside, where you can meet up with family and friends, where the children can play together in the yard,” explained Matthieu Evard, the 40-year-old Ecole Centrale graduate and president of Hôtels Très Particuliers. His company manages the Maison du Val and the Château de Villiers-le-Mahieu (opened in 2019), in the southern Yvelines region, two properties that generated combined sales of €14 million in 2023.

‘Fairly young clientele’

These businesses operate on the basis of high volumes (100 rooms at Villiers-le-Mahieu, 150 at the Abbaye des Vaux-de-Cernay), high rates (between €200 and €300 per room, on average, meals not included), and a “captive” clientele that fills the restaurants, which also attract outside customers.

On weekdays, they also focus on seminars for companies keen on these concepts. “Our clientele is quite young, a lot of thirty-somethings. Also, 20% of our clients are American,” confirmed Frédéric Biousse, a fashion entrepreneur who has opened Domaine de Primard, in Catherine Deneuve’s former estate, in 2021.

The day of our visit to Le Barn, the first of its kind (opened in 2018), a well-known singer was noodling a few melodies on their guitar on a sofa, and children were testing out the collection of rubber boots provided to visit the stud farm. The restaurant uses vegetables from the garden, and the hotel regularly hosts artists’ residencies.

You have 35% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *