The last stop on our Normandy itinerary included three nights at Chateau d’Audrieu in between Bayeux and Caen. This was a great place to relax and unwind before we headed back to Paris for 9 days. As the name suggests, Chateau d’Audrieu is literally a chateau. It’s a castle in the middle of the Normandy countryside. It’s incredibly peaceful, and you don’t have to leave the resort at all. We did see a lot of families using it as a base to explore Bayeux and the beaches of Normandy though.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for tours and products I love at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Booking Chateau d’Audrieu Hotel & Spa
We booked Chateau d’Audrieu through AmEx Fine Hotels and Resorts. As a FNR hotel partner, we received the following benefits: room upgrade, daily breakfast for 2, $100 property credit, 4:00pm late check out, and free wifi. Since we were driving to Paris after Chateau d’Audrieu, we didn’t use the late check-out. We definitely enjoyed our room upgrade, and we were able to use our property credit in the hotel bar. Breakfast was a nice perk, though we only took advantage of it one morning.
If you don’t utilize the AmEx Platinum, I would recommend booking with a travel agent to take advantage of the benefits offered by Relais & Chateaux. If you need a luxury travel agent, feel free to let me know. I have recently become a certified travel advisor and can offer you the additional benefits through Virtuoso and the relationships we have with certain hotel brands!
After I booked Chateau d’Audrieu, I noticed that a lot of reviews talked about slow service. Chateau d’Audrieu is a resort, and it is a slower pace than Paris. We found the service at the property to be wonderful. They were kind, willing to accommodate any of our requests, and absolute professionals throughout our stay. We had similar experiences at Maison des Tetes and Le Chambard, which are Relais & Chateaux hotels in the Alsace. While everyone has their own experience, ours could not have been more different. I think it’s important to address in my review because it definitely gave me pause after booking.
Getting to Chateau d’Audrieu
Chateau d’Audrieu is a little over two hours from Paris. Since we took a two week road trip through Normandy, we kept our car for the entire time. We picked up our car on arrival to CDG and returned it to Gare du Nord. We missed the worst of the Paris traffic by driving in on Saturday afternoon. If you don’t want to drive in Paris, you could take a train to Bayeux or Caen and pick up a car from there. Chateau d’Audrieu is about 20 minutes from both towns. We came to Chateau d’Audrieu after spending a few days in Honfleur, and that drive took about an hour.
We found the French roads, even between small towns, to be very well maintained. Everything is well marked, and I find French drives to be very courteous. I recommend picking up a copy of Back Roads France and Best Trips France to put together the best itinerary for your trip! I’ve used both of these books to put together towns, restaurants, and research hotels. They both do a great job of expanding on the areas of France that are ignored by more popular guidebooks.
Our Double Room with a Garden View
Our classic room was upgraded to a double room on the first floor on one of the wings of the chateau. It overlooked the garden, so it was very quiet. (I can’t imagine that any rooms would have a noise issue though.)
The room was huge. I loved that it had a separate entry to the room with plenty of storage that could be closed off. Our spacious room had a nice desk, two comfortable chairs, a chaise lounge, and a king bed. Even with the sloped ceilings, the furniture fit the room perfectly. We loved being able to open our windows and enjoy the sounds of nature. The plush carpet throughout the room was really nice, too. I imagine this room very romantic during the cooler months.
Our bathroom had a large walk-in shower, as well as a deep soaking tub. The water pressure in the shower was great, and there was no issues with hot water. The small details and gold accents really elevated the bathroom. The bath amenities are Sothy’s, which is a French brand that I’ve seen at other 5-star hotels. Hotel du Louvre in Paris and Hotel Dress Code in Paris both use Sothy’s amenities.
Our Relais and Chateaux welcome amenity included a bottle of the house cider (incredible), honey, and miniature Madelienes. This is one of the things I love most about Relais and Chateaux properties – the focus on local products and ingredients.
We tried to go on a walk each evening to allow for turndown service and enjoy the beauty of the sunsets. Turn down service included chocolates and bookmarks (loved this!) with inspirational quotes.
After taking a walk around the grounds, we stopped in the spa to check out the facilities. The spa is adjacent to the pool and offers a workout room, along with treatment rooms. Tom loved this because it forced him to enjoy the pool while I enjoyed the spa.
I booked a 90 minute massage with Fleur d’oranger, and it was absolutely incredible. The masseuse was INCREDIBLY talented and the pressure was exactly what I wanted it to be. We did have to use google translate to communicate a little bit before the appointment, but it wasn’t a big deal.
I would absolutely try some of the Sothy’s specific treatments now that I’ve learned more about the brand.
The pool is heated, though the weather was still a little chilly for me when we were there. There is a poolside service if you want to enjoy lunch by the pool. Personally, we loved taking early evening swims.
We chose to focus on wellness during our time at the Chateau, so dining was an afterthought. However, we wanted take advantage of the $100 food and beverage credit. On our last evening, we headed down to the 1715 Bar to enjoy cocktails, cider, and a traditional apertif. I loved their 1715 Spritz, which included Pommeau, pear, lemon juice, fresh cider, and honey.
We tried a couple of glasses of Pommeau, which is a blend of cider and Calvados specific to the Normandy area. The bar menu really does a great job of providing a variety of local options, and we really enjoyed trying things from different producers.
We opted to enjoy our drinks inside, but you can also enjoy them on the terrace. I loved the ambiance of the bar. The antiques, chandeliers, and fabrics were incredible, and you truly feel like you’re in a French chateau.
Breakfast at Le Seran
Our rate included breakfast, and we chose to take advantage of it on our last morning at Chateau d’Audrieu. They have a wide assortment of French meats, cheeses, and pastries available, and they also make eggs to order. You could also make your own oatmeal or yogurt bowl with a variety of nuts and fruits. It was quite extensive.
If you want something more fancy (avocado toast, perhaps?), they do have an additional menu that you can order from as well. I had some of my most favorite scrambled eggs that I’ve ever had abroad (especially at a hotel!), and Tom had a delicious made-to-order omelet.
Things to Do Around Chateau d’Audrieu
One of the things that I love about Relais and Chateaux resorts is that they are truly a place where you can relax and be where your feet are. You can enjoy so many local flavors, just by staying at the resort. We’ve done this at Borgo dei Conti in Umbria and refined it at Villa Cordevigo in the Veneto. Because we spent a couple days in Bayeux earlier in our trip, we didn’t feel like we needed to needed to leave the resort. At a resort, we spent our days going between the resort pool, the spa, walking around the village around the property, and trying the different ciders and pommeau at the hotel bar.
We did walk to the village of Audrieu one morning. There is a beautiful small 12th century church, Church of Notre-Dame d’Audrieu. It is a lovely living church. There is also a particularly moving memorial to the victims of the Chateau d’Audrieu massacre, many of whom were English and Canadian forces. Further, this is a tribute to the role that local residents played in the Resistance. While not overly grand, it felt poignant and reminded me that these places are still lived in and grappling with the past in present day. How do you honor the sacrifice of others without letting it become the only defining part of a place. This is something I thought about quite often when I visited the beaches of Normandy.
Visiting the Battle of Normandy Museum near Bayeux
If you decide to make a day trip to Bayeux, you can purchase a Bayeux combo ticket that includes the Battle of Normandy Museum, the Bayeux Tapestry, and the Gerard Museum of Art and History. The Battle of Normandy museum includes exhibits and a film in both French and English. It mostly covers the summer of 1944. I really liked the film because it provided a lot more information about the role the Canadians, British, and the Americans played in this specific area of Normandy.
It also provides an in-depth look at D-Day and the months that followed. One of the things that resonated with me the most is that D-Day was not an immediate success and it was not the end of the war by any stretch of the imagination. Certainly, it was turning point, and some cities were liberated quickly. However, fighting did continue throughout Normandy.
The museum includes a lot of artifacts, many of which my family has from my grandfather’s service. I also think that there was unit photo that included him. This was probably one of the two more emotional days I had during our trip to Normandy because of the connections that I could recognize. (The first was after our trip to Mont St Michel and visiting Sainte-Mere-Eglise and the Airborne Museum.)
Day Trip to the D-Day Beaches
A lot of guests at the resort took day trips to the D-Day beaches from Chateau d’Audrieu. We booked a tour while we were in Bayeux, and I strongly recommend utilizing a guide. For us, the area around Omaha Beach felt like a beach community, and if we did not have a guide, we wouldn’t have necessarily understood what we were seeing.
We booked a half-day tour of the D-Day beaches and American Cemetery that left from the center of Bayeux. Pascal was an incredible guide — engaging, thoughtful, and conscientious. We did not feel rushed. He encouraged questions. And, he did an incredible job of making his stories come to life.
This tour started at the Germany bunkers at Pointe du Hoc, which were used to guard the Normandy coast. We learned more about the construction of the bunkers and saw some of the impacts of the shelling. Pascal’s explanations are what prepared us for visiting Omaha Beach, and we spent more a lot of time there. Pascal did an incredible job of showing and illustrating the challenges of the invasion through stories and photos. The last stop on the tour was at the American Cemetery, and we were given of plenty of free time to explore the cemetery on our own.
This was a great introduction to the D-Day beaches, and we would definitely book a longer tour in the future. We had guidebooks (Top 10 Normandy and Rick Steves Normandy) and I did a lot of research in advance of this trip. It would not have been the same experience without a guide.
Take a Day Trip to Bayeux
We loved this walking tour of Bayeux. None of our books got into the history of Bayeux in the way that Christele did. She provides a great introduction Normand history while also bringing you to the present with stories about Charles de Gaulle and the liberation of Bayeux. This tour was vital to helping me under understand and interpret the Bayeux Tapestry. (You can visit the Bayeux Tapestry as part of your combination ticket!)
Christele will help you understand Bayeux by using architecture to supplement her stories. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the details of Bayeux Cathedral. While this tour does not go into the Cathedral, you should visit. The Romanesque origins date back to the 11th century. In the mid-12th century, the cathedral burned down. When it was reconstructed, Gothic elements were added. The original dome was added in the 18th century and reconstructed in the 19th century. It’s probably my favorite cathedral in France thus far.
I highly recommend grabbing lunch, dinner, or a snack at L’Etabli. We loved their Normandy cheese platter, served with fresh (often warm!) bread. We added a bottle of cider for an extra local experience. They have a dry and a sweet cider, so choose your favorite type or try both!
For a sweet treat, head to Maison Lemoisson. The pastries change, so choose a few favorites and try more than one. I think my favorites ended up being the tarte au citron and the Paris Brest. It was all tasty though.
Our Normandy Road Trip Itinerary
I still find it hard to believe that we spent two weeks in Normandy. On one hand, it felt like a long time because it’s the longest we’ve ever stayed in one region of France. Looking back, however, it felt very short. I think part of that is because a lot of things happened with work that impacted how I was feeling, so I’ve compartmentalized some of the emotions I experienced. This will wrap up the bulk of my Normandy content… for now. We’re already talking about whether to go back next summer. As a reminder, our trip included the following itinerary:
5 nights in Mont St Michel (vacation rental through Gites de France Normandie)
4 nights in Bayeux (apartment rental in the old town of Bayeux)
3 nights in Honfleur (Hotel L’Abstinthe in the Honfleur harbor)
3 nights at Chateau d’Audrieu (resort in the countryside of Normandy)
If I were to change anything about our itinerary, I would have put Chateau d’Audrieu in between Bayeux and Honfleur to prevent backtracking, but that’s how it worked out with the accommodations we wanted to book. It worked out perfectly because it was nice to unwind for a few days before spending ten days in Paris.