The Lys offers propose à la carte dreams with a collection of stays in more than 300 Relais & Châteaux and Relais Gourmands properties across the globe. Lys de Bronze, Lys Duo de Bronze, Lys d’Argent, Lys Duo d’Argent, Lys Spa & Wellness, Lys Gourmand are the 9 proposed stays to be enjoyed by all.
Just 10 minutes from Brive in Corrèze, in the heart of an 18 hectare park, the Château de Castel Novel, is a magnificent castle dating back to the 15th century. It is perched on a rocky outcrop in Périgord. Colette spent more than 15 years in Castel Novel, the property of her husband, Henri de Jouvenel. It was in this château that she wrote several of her books on the intricacies of love including “Le Blé en Herbe” and “Chéri”. Back in the 16th century the château belonging to the renowned Aubusson family was already the setting for great passion. Legend has it that the troubadour Faydit imprisoned in the château was very much in love with Marguerite d’Aubusson and didn’t want to be set free. Nevertheless, summoned to the court of Richard the Lion Heart; he had to leave this idyll behind. Marguerite shed manytears at her window which encouraged symbolical white daisies to sprout at any time of the year at the foot of the tower.
Surrounded by a magnificent park, this 18th century palace is a tribute to the tragic, romantic passion experienced in the Middle Ages by Prince Pedro and Inès de Castro who was sentenced to death by King Alfonso, the Prince’s father. Legend has it that Inès was murdered in this palace by the King’s soldiers and that her blood still colors the stones of the fountain born of the tears shed for the beloved. This explains the name Quinta das Lagrimas. Today, it is a hotel beautifully decorated in traditional Portuguese style – frescos, inlaid work and art de vivre. It offers its guests luxury and relaxation – rural flair in the heart of a historic town. Spa, golf and culinary delights in harmony with the seasons. Couples will be able to enjoy exclusive treatments in the spa like the “Pédro & Inès” massage for two.
The Lys Spa & Wellness, enjoy an unforgetable experience, for example one night in a double room, breakfast, dinner not including beverages, a facial, body treatment or 30-minute massage and, last but not least, complimentary use of the spa facilities. The Relais & Châteaux Lys offers can be booked on Tel.: 0 825 825 180 (EUR 0.15/mn) www.relaischateaux.com or through travel agencies
Florence and Tuscany: the country of Petrarch
It was in Florence, in the heart of Tuscany, the region where the poet Petrarch saw the light of day before exiling himself in France and meeting the love of his life, Laure, that Relais & Châteaux offers one of the most romantic Valentine’s Days. The Villa la Vedetta, is a true “urban resort”, unique in Florence, just a stone’s throw from the Ponte Vecchio. This romantic, neo-renaissance has been turned into an elegant hotel. It enjoys a panoramic position on Piazzale del Michelangelo and has a breathtaking view of Florence. In the heart of the park, the swimming pool and Jacuzzi are the setting for a rare treat: swimming whilst gazing at Florence. In the restaurant “Onice” (1*), the chef Andrea Accordi skillfully merges cultures and cuisines and invites guests to indulge in the region’s red gold: Chianti.
Mirepoix: in the country of “kiss curls”
Nestling in the heart of the Pyrenees, Ariège, in the Cathar region, is one of best conserved and most unspoild regions in France. It boasts an astonishing variety of magnificent walks which will take you into the heart of the mountains. Bethmale valley is renowned for its tasty cheeses but also for its unusual clogs which date back to the 7th century. The legend tells that during the invasion of the valley by the Moors, the son of the leader fell in love with the fiancée of the village shepherd. The shepherd, crazed with jealousy, killed the two lovers. In the village he hung the hearts of the two unfaithful lovers from the tip of his clogs. The legend belongs to the past but the Bethmale clogs have become the symbol of love. Each fiancé must give a pair of clogs to his promised one and the longer the tip of the clogs, the greater his love. It is in the heart of the charming medieval village of Mirepoix that the Relais Royal has come up with a charming stay for Valentine’s Day. A historic 18th century residence, this hotel combines luxury with tradition: old terracotta floors, wooden French-style ceilings, marble Louis XIV fireplace and the pleasures of fine dining. To book this magnificent escape go to: www. relaisroyal.com or www.relaischateaux.com
Love in the “garden of France”
“Mignonne allons voir si la rose… “The verses which Pierre de Ronsard dedicated to his muse Cassandra are still whispered on the pathways of the Loir Valley. Pierre de Ronsard was born in Couture-sur-Loir, near Amboise. Legend has it that on the day of his christening, his nurse dropped him in a meadow. A young girl picked him up and poured a pitcher of rose water over his face. Hence his passion for roses… and young girls! In the capital of Sologne, in Romorantin, the Grand Hôtel du Lion d’Or invites lovers to a romantic stay in the heart of this ancient hunting ground of French kings. Constructed by a friend of François I, this private residence was turned into a hotel and restaurant in 1774. This makes it one of the oldest restaurants in France. Half way between the châteaux Chambord, Chenonceau or Cheverny what could be more romantic than the “garden of France”. This Relais Gourmands hotel is the perfect illustration of French art de vivre. Didier Clément, one of the great chefs of his generation, conjures up lavish gourmet cuisine featuring forgotten products with poetic names: rocambole, grain of paradise, angelica… Rare, subtle dishes accompanied by the superb Loire wines. For more information and reservations: http://www.hotel-liondor.fr or www.relaischateaux.com.