Chateau de Canisy
What We Love
- Daily breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate
- The chateau is equidistant from Normandy’s three main attractions: Mont Saint-Michel, the D-Day beaches and the Bayeux tapestry
- The rooms brim with history, family heirlooms and authentic period furnishings
- Service that’s truly welcoming and warm
- The magnificent rare book library (one of three libraries), shown only upon request
What To Know
- There isn't a typical restaurant, but there is a resident chef. Members will need to e-mail the property in advance to make reservations on the evening of arrival
- There are no elevators, but first-floor rooms are handicap-accessible
- Only one menu is served at dinner; if you have dietary restrictions or special requests, notify the staff at least 24 hours in advance
- Normandy is notoriously rainy; pack an umbrella
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Set on 740 wooded acres inhabited by cows and geese, the 11th-century Chateau de Canisy is a storybook castle complete with towers, moats and parapets, and enough Empire chairs, brocade fabrics and leatherbound tomes to fill a museum. But unlike many French chateaux, which offer nose-in-the-air stuffiness, this family-run retreat eschews formality and is a place where, despite its distinguished lineage and sumptuous furnishings, you can truly feel at home. A stay here is casual and convivial — with easy access to Normandy’s main attractions.
Bed and Bath
Off corridors lined with leather trunks and family portraits, the 17 guestrooms are études in French history, each representing a different era (First Empire, Restoration, Art Deco) and decorated with period pieces carefully selected by the comtesse herself. The majority of the rooms have luxe bathtubs (copper, clawfoot and marble), but only a few have walk-in showers. Though the chateau’s facilities have been modernized, there are no TVs in the guestrooms.
Mont Saint-Michel, the D-Day beaches and the Bayeux tapestry are close by, but the 740-acre estate offers plenty of diversions, from fishing to cycling to playing petanque or croquet. There’s even a botanical garden and a farm with llamas, turkeys and deer. And don’t fret if you’ve forgotten to pack your rain boots; the property has a ready supply of gear (including boots) for exploring the grounds. At night, tuck into a four-course dinner — with wine pairings, bien sûr — prepared by chef Christian.
In the Area
Mont Saint-Michel, its towers, turrets and ramparts rising from a swirl of flat sand, is the most recognizable landmark in northern France. At the very top of the compound, the abbey, founded in the 8th century, hosts chamber music concerts, illuminated nighttime tours and exhibitions in the high season. The Caen Memorial Museum is a must for war buffs, but if you want a bit of sand without the history, head to Agon-Coutainville. The Bayeux tapestry, a hand-embroidered, 230-foot-long depiction of the Norman conquest of England, is listed by UNESCO as a “Memory of the World.” Normandy is known for its black-and-white milking cows and the excellent dairy products that are made from the protein-rich milk. Visit the Camembert Museum (surely the world’s smelliest) to learn more about the local cheese.
How to Get There
We had the opportunity to stay at this beautiful castle this past August 2019. The property was nicely maintained and very vast. My family truly enjoyed our time there and the kids ran in the grass, went fishing in the lake (and caught a fish) and we did archery as well. The castle was basically our private property during our stay and we slept so well as it was very quiet.
The staff was hospitable and we felt like royalty with our wonderful buffet breakfast with the tastiest strawberries and fresh squeezed juices. Our private dinner was served in the main dining room with a bottle of red and bottle of white waiting for us along with tea and port for after dinner.
The Countess was so gracious as she welcomed us making sure we were situated and had everything we needed. Each room is truly unique! Being in the Count’s family for so long, you can see the details and history of the chateau as you walk throughout the building...from the books, the furniture and the paintings on the wall. One of our rooms had an extravagant gold tiled bathtub and sink. Another room had my girls feeling like Rapunzel since we were literally in the top pointed tower. We also liked the shampoo and conditioner the chateau supplied.
We had the fortune of meeting another family visiting from another continent and we enjoyed making new friends and our kids also had friends to play with.
I would advise to rent a car while there. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a rental to fit the 6 of us and our luggage. The beaches of Normandy are close by and so is Mont Saint Michel but it is quite a costly taxi ride. Learn some basic French as the people in this area don’t speak English as well but luckily my basic French from school was sufficient enough to get by.
Book your stay here now!!
We stayed here on several occasions over the years and each time its been an amazing experience. The rooms are magnificent and the food is so good. The grounds are massive over 700 acres and well kept. I first went there in 1987 as a guest of Denis de Kergolay the present owner. One cant help falling for a place like this so it became a regular haunt for me and my family. Highly recommend a stay here. Surrounded in ww2 history close to beach and st Lo.
When our group of 14 family members drove up to the castle, we couldn't believe we were going to stay someplace so impressive. Everything was as good as we could expect -- rooms, furnishings, and meals, of course,but even better was how accommodating the entire staff was, especially Sophie. They went out of their way in so many ways to make sure that we felt that this was our home for as long as we were there.
The staff was always present and yet discreet, so we didn't feel like they were watching over us to make sure we didn't steal the silver. A good breakfast was served before we started each day's activities, and upon our return we were met with drinks (try the Calvados!) followed by a fabulous dinner. Beds and pillows were quite comfortable, and a good night's sleep left us ready for the next day.
If you stay here (and you should), make sure you set aside some time to simply enjoy the castle and grounds, rather than treating it as simply a place to sleep. Walk around the grounds for a few hours, relax in front of the fireplace with a drink, talk with the other guests, try your hand at archery, listen to the stories about the family Kergorlay's history, and take plenty of pictures -- you'll want to remember this place for as long as possible.
Note: This is a real castle that is hundreds of years old. It isn't just the shell of a castle from which the interior has been entirely stripped and rebuilt with modern techniques. As such, you find a lot of things which you won't find in a Holiday Inn -- a bathroom might be a little small, a floor squeaks a little, etc. None of these things should be a reason to not stay here. In fact, I think they add to the character of the place and remind you of the history of the property.