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  • WLE meets Nicky and Mark from le Château de la Couronne

    Who are you? What’s the story behind the Château de la Couronne?

    We are Nicky Cooper and Mark Selwood, and we live in France with our two sons, Elliot (18) and Max (14). We moved to France seven years ago, after searching for our ideal Chateau and finding it at Chateau de la Couronne. It’s on the edge of a friendly little village right on the border between the Dordogne and Charente regions, about 25 minutes from the charming city of Angouleme.
    We spent about two years renovating the castle and grounds and opened for business five years ago. We had a very firm view of what we wanted to deliver to our clients. It wasn’t difficult in all honesty – we’ve stayed in hotels around the world and had very firm views on what constitutes good service and facilities. All we had to do is design a place we would be happy to stay in.

    What are the services you offer?

    For much of the year, we offer Chambre d’Hote, all in rooms which are ridiculously luxurious.
    A large part of our business is Exclusive Hire – where a single client hires the entire Chateau for a group holiday, family reunion, or even a Girl’s weekend.
    Then of course we offer Weddings at the Chateau, which are truly magical with the ceremony in the formal gardens and a huge refectoire for dining and dancing.

    What are the specificities of the castle? How many people can you host?

    The Chateau can accommodate up to 26 people, and is really well equipped.
    There are three private salons for clients to chill out in. There’s a 14.5m heated swimming pool in the gardens, which extend to about 5 acres. There is a Private Cinema with 2.5m screen and surround sound, a Music area with Guitars, Amps, Keyboard and Drum Machine. And there’s a full size American Pool table in the Billiard Room.
    A full Restaurant Kitchen is available for Exclusive Hire clients to play chef in, or we can arrange for our professional French caterers to provide anything from a one-off dining extravaganza to three meals per day every day.
    The little touches are all there too – from fluffy robes in the bathrooms, to different towels for bathroom and pool, bathing products in the bathrooms, drinks chillers, free wi-fi, DVD and CD library – enough to make any guest feel at home.

    What type of events do you organize most?

    We have had some wonderful weddings at the Chateau, for guests from all corners of the world – from Europe to Australia, the USA, Canada and Hong Kong
    Some of the nicest times have been big family Reunions, where family members jet in from all over the world and spend a week or two at The Chateau. It’s so lovely to see all the generations together and bringing the Chateau to life.
    We’ve also had some great Girl’s weekends, where a bunch of girls hire the Chateau and spend the week being pampered by our Masseur and Beautician, enjoying food prepared by our chefs, and getting a great tan too.

    How much does it cost to stay in the castle? How long in advance do people need to book?

    The Chateau costs 2,000 euros per night or 12,000 euros per week to hire exclusively. Certain periods get booked really quickly – some weeks for 2012 are already booked. Luckily with the climate in south-west France, the season is pretty long!

    What activities do you offer your clients?

    There are plenty of distractions. At the Chateau, the heated swimming pool, the Billiard Room, the cinema and music area and the Table Tennis room are a lot of fun. In the village are Tennis Courts, whilst within a few minutes drive are a championship karting track, organised canoeing and kayaking on the river, and countless brocantes and flea markets to rummage around in. Further afield, but within easy driving distance – are Bordeaux, Cognac, Brantome and La Rochelle.

    Do you organize wedding ceremonies there?

    Weddings are a big deal for us. We have hosted weddings for clients from all over the world, ranging from small, intimate affairs for 20 to huge society bashes for 200 guests with full catering. All the Wedding Planning is done in-house, and we have a cadre of tried and tested professionals who work with us covering everything from hairdressing to flowers, photography and catering.

    What is your best memory in the Castle?

    I suppose the best feeling was the recognition we got very quickly afar opening. We had some fantastic press in Germany, Holland, the UK, the USA, even in Russia. We were named as “One of the top 5 houses to rent in France” by the Guardian Newspaper, and featured in magazines from Glamour to OK, Grazia to Air France Magazine, the Sunday Times and Le Figaro, we appeared in books and even on TV.

    Then to top it all, playing host to the most famous couple in Hollywood for two weeks, and managing to keep the world’s press away from them for most of their stay.

    Thank you for answering our questions! For more information about the Château de la Couronne: Château de la Couronne website

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