This swish and sprawling rural retreat was once owned by French actress Catherine Deneuve, before hoteliers, Les Domaines de Fontenille transformed it into a luxury country house. Less than an hour by train from Paris, the property sits on the banks of the river Eure, in the leafy commune of Guainville and is full of 18th century elegance and grandeur. Parquet floors, exposed beams, period fireplaces and one-of-a-kind antiques have been restored and updated with soft mint, dusky pink and peacock blue walls, Pierre Frey fabrics, Italian light fixtures, wildflower bouquets and black and white original photographs.
The grounds are a highlight of the property with gardens originally designed by world-famous landscape artist Jacque Wirtz. Each of the 200 varieties of rose were handpicked for fragrance. Guests will also find a produce garden, acres of wild parkland and a small farm with resident cows, donkeys, horses, sheep, and ducks. The service is welcoming and warm, and the vibe is relaxed, making this the ideal place to escape the world for a few days.
The 40 rooms and suites are split across several buildings. All enjoy fabulous garden, parkland or river views, achingly chic and comfortable décor and ensuite marble bathrooms. As with the main château, period features have been retained and while each room is unique, all are restful. Amenities include King beds, flatscreen TV, Wi-Fi, climate control, minibar, safe, and organic toiletries. We would recommend the high-ceilinged Deluxe Rooms either with a balcony located in the Barn or Maison du Verger, or with a shared garden in the Domaine’s oldest building Maison du Lac.
Suites feature freestanding rolltop bathtubs and Garden Suites include both a living room and shared garden. Again, there is a choice of river, garden, or parkland view. The hotel is family-friendly and there are various configurations for interconnecting rooms and suites to create additional bedrooms.
The gastronomy on offer at Primard is more than impressive. Awarded both a Michelin star and a Michelin green star, Les Chemins offers farm-to-table fine dining from Chef Romain Meder created with produce grown by gardener, Gérard. For a more brasserie-style offering head to Octave set in the orchard with a delightful terrace or book La Table d'Hôtes, set up by the fireplace of the Maison sur l’Eure for a private dining experience. Special occasions are also catered for at Primard’s Greenhouse within the stunning rose garden. The main bar Des Ronds dans l’Eau is a cosy intimate space on the ground floor of Maison sur l’Eure, and serves up vintage Verve Clicquot, wines and cocktails.
Guests have access to the Susanne Kaufmann Spa located on two floors within the former woodshed. The complex includes a hammam, hot and cold Jacuzzi tubs, massage rooms, and fitness centre and treatments follow Kaufmann’s plant-based philosophy and protocols.
Aside from more formal relaxation at the spa, there is extensive scope to chill out at Primard. Guests can explore the parkland courtesy of electric bikes or opt to be ferried around in golf buggies. There’s an outdoor heated pool, plenty of shady riverside spots to while away the time, horse riding, fishing, canoeing, hiking, and golf at Golf Parc Robert Hersant. Children can enjoy learning about the plants in a gardening workshop, taking a cooking class, either with or without their parents and getting to know the animals.