I arrived at Château de Candie by Purple Summer on a warm October day to spend a couple of nights in the peace and tranquility of the chateau grounds. I was warmly welcomed by the chateau's team and given a whistle stop tour of the hotel's main attractions from the sun soaked pool area to the Cantine restaurant nestled below the castle. As I checked into my room, I couldn't believe how spacious and decadent it felt. There was a lounge area, regal alcove windows overlooking the grounds and red velvet curtains draped over a sumptuous canopy bed. My very own princess room.
Since 2016, Château de Candie has been home to this 4* hotel with 25 bedrooms, set on beautiful landscaped grounds with its own vineyard, two restaurants, a pool and cinematic views of the surrounding mountains. Each room has a different feel with its own colour scheme and style but still in keeping with the chateau's medieval history. The main fortress dates back to the 14th century and there is even a castle staircase within the chateau walls which can be accessed by guests and still holds original features.
I stayed in room 201 which is a firm favourite amongst the castle's team and I have to say it couldn't have felt more authentic for my first château experience. To add to the decadence, a selection of Candie's very own wine, the 1891 Candie Viognier was waiting in my room accompanied by a delicious looking charcuterie and cheese board.
Having settled into my room, I was whisked away by chauffeur driven car to the waterside restaurant Le Lido on the banks of the lac du Bourget. This beautiful lake is the largest fresh water lake in France measuring 18km in length and it is the local destination of choice for swimming, walking, cycling and water sports during the summer months.
Le Lido at Lac du Bourget
Le Lido is a laid back family restaurant and the perfect spot to admire the incredible view of the lake from the end of the restaurant's private pontoon. There is a beach either side of the establishment and a private area with sun loungers where you can sip a chilled glass of Savoie wine carefully selected from their extensive wine list. The menu is full of the Savoie delicacies you would expect - reblochon pané, charcuterie and freshwater fish. After a delicious meal, I braved a dip in the lake and was pleasantly surprised to find the water was fresh; not the ice cold temperatures you would expect of a lake fed by glacier waters.
The following day, before lunch at La Cantine, I met with head chef Badara Gueye, who alongside cooking is a talented fine artist. Chef Badara described his style of cooking as inventive, breaking away from tradition by blending flavours from France, his native Africa and playing with spices, colour and sauces to awaken his diners senses. The restaurant works with seasonal ingredients from as many local sources as possible in the Savoie region so think freshwater fish like omble chevalier and trout, pumpkin, chestnut and rich, creamy cheeses. The wines served in the restaurant are from Savoie and showcase 'cépages' unique to the region such as Roussette, Roussanne, Jacquère for whites and the Mondeuse red.
Pressed lamb and chesnut puree with buckwheat popcorn, trout pâté with foccacia, pumkin velouté with burratta, and seabream with bitter lemon purée
I had the pleasure of meeting the chateau's sommelière Raphaëlle in the hotel's champagne bar who took me on a fascinating wine tasting journey and a discovery of the grape varieties of Savoie hosted in the hotel's champagne bar. She explained that crémants are made in the same way as champagne using la méthode champenoise where the bottles are placed at an angle so that the lees goes down to the bottle neck. The neck is then frozen, the sediment popped out and a liqueur of sugar and yeast added back into the bottle before the bottle is corked again. Raphaëlle explained that Savoie wine is quite unusual due to the climate, the soil and the grape varieties which are unique to the region and so it is worth getting to know the wines through a wine tasting like this.
La Cantine's sun-soaked terrace
As younger generations tend to drink wine young rather than storing it in a cellar and allowing it to mature, Raphaëlle recommends pouring wine into a carafe before serving to allow the wine to aerate. She also added that Savoie wines get better with age and do well to be left to mature for a few years prior to drinking for the best tasting experience.
On my final evening at the château, I experienced La Cantine during the evening service. The restaurants three spacious rooms were light up with colourful lights and flickering candles creating a cosy and intimate setting for a romantic couples evening or a special occasion. Indeed, the restaurant is popular with locals, business people and tourists all year round and with a menu that changes weekly, there is always something new to sample even for the regulars.
I had such a fantastic and memorable stay at Château de Candie and I felt so welcomed by the small team who went above and beyond to make me feel at home. I would highly recommend a stay here whether it's for a weekend escape or a peaceful place to stop during a long drive through France; it's even a popular spot for weddings!
Travel | Chambéry is located 1hr's drive away from Grenoble airport and just over 1hr's drive or 1hr bus from Lyon airport. From Lyon-Part-Dieu train station, Chambéry is 1.5hrs away.
Discover Purple Summer's Château de Candie in Chambéry and spend a peaceful stay in the valley at the foot of the summit of Bauges and Chartreuse in the glorious Savoie region of France. Double rooms start at €200 per night and €15,000 per day for exclusive use of the chateau. The chateau welcomes wedding parties and is open from May through to the end of October every year. La Cantine restaurant is open all year round.