CHATEAU DE COLOMBIERES
What a privilege to cross the centuries-old moat and arrive in the sunny courtyard of Château de Colombières… The stone walls and fairytale towers of this veritable fortress delight its many visitors, and as a guest of the aristocratic owners you’ll discover Colombières’s many other virtues. First there’s the friendly and attentive welcome from the charming Count and Countess de Maupeou d’Ableiges whose ancestors became Colombières’s custodians in the middle of the 18th century. Then there’s the thousand-year-old military story that begins with William the Conqueror’s knights and ends during the weeks following D-Day when the United States Army’s PSYOPS headquarters were based here. But climb the twisting spiral stairs and you’ll discover the castle’s best kept secret – three impressive guest bedchambers.
Louis XVI, a queen-size double with 18th-century furnishings, has views down to the moat and across the wild Bessin countryside. The Suite de la Tour is a circular bedroom in a 14th-century tower with a private sitting room whose gothic stone lintels, exposed beams, baronial fireplace and period furniture create an ambience of stately antiquity. The shower room is built in the original medieval latrines! Suite du Guetteur is named for its stone benches where weary sentries once kept watch against English invaders through mullioned stone windows and ancient arrow-slit ‘loopholes’. There’s a small private salon with extra beds for little ones and views across the grounds. Breakfast is served in the bright salle à manger next to the dark recesses of the original kitchens.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the castle’s little museum dedicated to the US Army Intelligence Ritchie Boys - the German-speaking PSYOPS unit, trained at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. Exhibits include the Ritchie Boys' pamphlets and the artillery shells used to distribute them to the enemy troops.
Other activities (if you can possibly find the time!) include fishing and tennis, and the chateau hosts medieval and WW2 events throughout the summer. The D-Day beaches are a short drive from the castle.
From 229€ per night, breakfast included.