Domaine de Primard – France
Between the Ile de France and Normandy, away from the bustle of Paris, Domaine de Primard cocoons guests in a grand 18th century manor house and immaculate and established landscaped gardens. Formerly the country retreat of the cinematic icon Catherine Deneuve, and now part of the luxury Fontenille collection, the chateau-like house is surrounded by a moat, with the river Eure, flowing peacefully, steps away from the lawns and terraces. Beyond, parkland is full of grazing animals.
The pair behind the Fontenille brand, Frédéric Biousse and Guilllaume Foucher, with their eye for classical detail, exceptional taste and flair for hospitality, have created a luxurious countryside sanctuary.
At A Glance
Why We Love It:For its stunning grounds, beautiful gardens & abundant flowers. A wander round the grounds is an activity in itself.
Location:Between the Ile de France & Normandy, just an hour away from Paris.
Rooms:49 elegant rooms & suites.
Swimming:Heated 18-metre outdoor pool (open April – October).
Children:Families are most welcome, although there are no specific facilities for children.
Accessibility:Rooms available for guests with reduced mobility.
Open From:All year round.
Price:From €480 per room, per night.
Large, supremely comfortable beds, walls of duck egg blue, teal and petrol grey, hung with art and photography, the rooms and suites have beautiful views out over the gardens and slow flowing river Eure. Bathrooms are roomy and come with free standing baths. Some are in the main house, whilst others are dotted around the gardens in immaculately restored barns and outhouses.
It’s worth a stay at Primard for the cuisine alone. Overseen by the head chef at Hotel Le Bristol, the menu is an exquisite mouthwatering choice of French classics. With ingredients fresh from the estate gardens or from local organic farmers, the dishes follow the seasons. At Eglantine, Primard’s fine dining restaurant, the words delicate and bold spring to mind as you experience gastronomic magic on a plate, whilst the more informal Octave in the orchards, serves delicious bistro style fare.
Not to be missed, is dinner at La Table d’Hotes – in the old kitchen with its enormous stove, seated around the farmhouse table. Here, the chef cooks traditional country dishes in front of you. Enjoy afternoon tea in the converted greenhouse in the rose gardens, or in the old kitchen where each afternoon the chef leaves a freshly baked cake. And later, sip champagne in the elegant bar, or an apéritif on the terrace. Hidden away in a bend on the river is the Veuve Cliquot bar, with a deck built over the water.
In truth, you’re very unlikely to wander past the main gates at Domaine de Primard. This is a place to enter and forget the outside world. Take a book and find a spot in the haven-like grounds and unwind. And you’ll find it surprisingly easy to spend an entire day by the pool.
Primard’s sommelier, Louis, will take you to his cellar for a wine tasting, or Gérard, the head gardener leads tours of the gardens and estate – they have an exceptional number of shrubs and plants, whilst the rose garden has more than two hundred and fifty varieties. Whilst you’re in full relaxation mode, you really should take advantage of the Spa. Located in the orchard, there’s a sauna, hammam, hot and cold jacuzzi and four treatment rooms (one of them a double). There’s also a fully equipped gym. Guests can walk or run in the park and canoe or fish on the river. Nearby there is golf and horse riding too. Should you wish to explore a little further, Monet’s Giverny home is just twenty minutes away. Stroll through the gardens with its Japanese bridge and lily ponds, and see his studio with its collection of prints. Then head back and enjoy the gentle pleasure of doing very little.
The food mileage is kept to a minimum with produce from the Domaine’s own gardens and local farmers who rear and grow everything organically. The hotel also recycles responsibly.
Just under an hour west of Paris & an hour from the capital’s airports.