Driving up the long, rugged, narrow and overgrown road, we were apprehensive. Château de Cambes looked gorgeous on the website. Remote and isolated, it was a six kilometer drive from Agen, located in the Lot and Garonne department. Were we making a mistake?
At the top of the hill, the château finally appeared. It was a long, two-storey structure with a square tower and lots of large windows. The congenial owners met us at the door, welcomed us, gave us a tour of the spacious, well-decorated ground floor salons that included a dining room, living area, orangerie, chapel and two libraries. Our apprehensions quickly evaporated. They led us up a wide stone staircase to an enormous light-filled room with floor-to-ceiling windows opening to views of forest and fields with Agen in the far distance, and offered us tea after we settled in. It was one of the most stunning rooms I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying in, besides being a contender for a spread in a decorator magazine.
While enjoying tea, the owners invited us for the table d’hôte dinner they were planning, as two other couples would be arriving and had booked dinner. We wouldn’t have to drive to Agen, and the aromas wafting in from the kitchen were piquing our appetite. M. Jean François invited us to take the one mile promenade around the property to see if we could find the statues of Mary and Joseph niched in the rock cliff circling behind the château. Cambes translates to cirque, or rocky cliff that forms an amphitheater. He discovered the statues when he pruned back foliage and had no idea why or how long they have been there. His challenge intrigued us, and we wanted to stretch our legs. It is a huge and fascinating property with lots of potential for future projects.
We chose this location to visit the Pont du Canal in Agen, a boat canal that acts as a bridge and crosses over the Garonne River that flows underneath. Yes, there could actually be a boat on top of a boat. We walked the length of the Pont and did see a boat come through the locks to cross over. Our other outing was to visit the Musée du Foie Gras on the Ferme de Souleilles near Frespech, about half hour away in rolling green country. It was an informative and pleasant way to spend a few hours while it rained. We couldn’t see any ducks or geese because of a bird influenza that has struck the fowl. The cure is underway, and babies will arrive soon to replenish the coops.
Constructed in 1547, Château de Cambes has seen many additions and renovations over the years and was an outstanding home base. What fabulous petit déjeunés awaited us in l’Orangerie each morning, beautifully arranged with tremendous variety and freshness. Talented Mme. Chantal quietly worked her magic on every detail. Both M. and Mme. were exceptional hosts in every way possible. Besides five bedrooms, the property offers a pool, jacuzzi and many other amenities.
Château de Cambes, 47480 Pont-du-Casse. Tel: +33 (0)5-53-95-38-73. Rooms from 160 € per night. Breakfast included.