Enjoy a rural retreat just an hour from Paris

Domaine de Primard once belonged to iconic actress Catherine Deneuve © Kasia Dietz

Domaine de Primard once belonged to iconic actress Catherine Deneuve © Kasia Dietz - Credit: Archant

The new Domaine de Primard hotel was once the home of Catherine Deneuve

The rooms and suites are modern and luxurious © Kasia Dietz

The rooms and suites are modern and luxurious © Kasia Dietz - Credit: Archant

A visit to Domaine de Primard nestled on the banks of the River Eure makes for the ideal countryside hideaway, and yet you’re only an hour from Paris. This recent addition to Les Domaines de Fontenille’s bespoke hotel collection – launched in 2013 by Frédéric Biousse and Guillaume Foucher – is one of their most enchanting, set on a sprawling 40-hectare country estate in Guainville, Eure-et-Loir. It’s a world away from the fast pace of modern life, and as Biousse and Foucher put it, a “meaningful, convivial and joyful” home away from home.

Explore the gardens and greenhouse © Kasia Dietz

Explore the gardens and greenhouse © Kasia Dietz - Credit: Archant

Wake up to a soundtrack of birdsong in one of 30 artfully decorated rooms or a plush suite. A moment of reflection on your private terrace can set a perfect mood for the day. The ground floor living spaces invite you to cosy up with a good book or admire the carefully curated artwork. Whimsical details through the vast space include sculptural snails, birds and mushrooms, each playfully paying homage to nature.

The estate is home to horses and cows © Kasia Dietz

The estate is home to horses and cows © Kasia Dietz - Credit: Archant

Multi-starred chef Éric Fréchon and chef Yann Meinsel pay tribute to the fruitful surroundings with their seasonal menus, both at the bistro Octave and the gastronomic restaurant Églantine. Many of the vegetables and herbs omnipresent in the dishes are homegrown and hand-picked. You’ll quickly understand why the creatively refined cuisine at Églantine is “as much for the taste buds as for the eyes.”

The outdoor swimming pool is heated © Kasia Dietz

The outdoor swimming pool is heated © Kasia Dietz - Credit: Archant

A stroll through the gardens with over 250 varieties of blooming roses is a treat for the senses. This fragrant setting created 30 years ago by renowned landscaper Jacques Wirtz remains as he left it. Meanwhile, the neighbouring greenhouse with its antique knick-knacks and gardening tools is as curious as it is charming. Take note of the hundred-year-old trees while exploring the rest of the bucolic grounds, equally enjoyed by the estate’s horses and cows.

Relaxing takes on many forms at Domaine de Primard. Take your pick from an invigorating spa treatment using all-natural products by Susanne Kaufmann, a walk in the neighbouring woods or a swim in the heated outdoor pool. However you choose to spend your time, you’re invited to end your day by the lakeside guinguette-style bar for an evening apéritif, happily disconnected. There’s no doubt that this new chapter of an 18th-century residence that once belonged to Catherine Deneuve reads as a positive one.

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