French Wedding at the Château
In honor of June, and the month of weddings, we are giving you another article on beautiful French weddings, this time the country wedding at a château. Not far from my house near Bordeaux lies a centuries-old château amid the region’s vines. Parts of Château Rigaud, near Castillon-la-Bataille, date back to the 13th century, but this château isn’t a drafty, dowdy old French one anymore. Thanks to its stylish English owners, Anna and Aib, Rigaud, which underwent renovation beginning in the very hot year of 2003, has been brought from near ruin into the 21st century. The result is what I’d call a nearly perfect mix of modern meets ancient, with some sex appeal thrown in for good measure.
You have to love a château owner who’d convert the chapel into a bar, and lay out a magazine-worthy cook’s kitchen solely for the chef in residence. Anna, who in another life was a marketing genius in the world of banking and credit cards, has even gotten Mrs. Farrow and Ball to consult on the right colors for each of the château’s nine rooms, which I’d call suites. Each seems more grand and impressive than the next. The bridal suite has a walk-in shower that could fit an entire wedding party.
The decor is most definitely chic and sexy. One room even has flashy blue silk curtains, and all have impressively high ceilings and ancient doors, as well as Paris Match magazines from the 1950s and ’60s lying around. Oh, and there’s a spa for last-minute bridal pampering, and a cinema for bridegrooms and fathers of the bride to bond. Of course, you’ll find 400-thread-count sheets and the very best king-size beds that money can buy.
Magic is set when the candelabras are hung under the sole tree in the lavender-lined courtyard in front of the château. That’s where vows are exchanged. Then, dinner is served in the rustic dependencies and barns, complete with lights and disco ball, seating around 100 friends and family. If I could do it all over again—mind you, my wedding was way back in 1987—I’d certainly ask Anna to plan my wedding. She has completely thought out everything, from the color that dons the walls behind the bride for her photos to the lavender oils, luscious music and flickering candles that light the main hall and dining room for prewedding meals. No detail falls by the wayside. There’s even produce grown in the château’s garden, served by an impressive young chef, and silky smooth St.-Emilion wines from the famous wine town just 15 minutes away.
It’s a lucky girl who can book her wedding at Château Rigaud. Anna has to turn down several requests a day, and these weddings don’t come cheap (they start at 27,000 euros), but perfection and a real 13th-century French castle aren’t around every bend.
If you want to stay in Paris, read our article on romantic Paris.