A misting morning at the chateau
One of the stables
Saddles hanging up
Riding in front of the chateau
Grazing outside the chateau
One of the rooms in the chateau
A bedroom in the chateau
View from the terrace
Breakfast at the chateau
Mist over the fields

This equestrian vacation is based at a wonderful French chateau set in 100 acres of rolling grounds with on-site stables and training centre. The chateau dates from  the 19th century and its original features have been lovingly preserved. Modern comforts are blended seamlessly with antique furniture and original art making for a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. Glorious views from all the windows over rolling countryside or the schooling arenas and all weather gallop. Rooms are individually decorated.

The horseback riding is suitable for all abilities and levels with some super schoolmasters. Spend the morning exploring the miles of beautiful rolling countryside interspersed with substantial woods and use the afternoon to relax in the on-site spa. The food is above average with a choice of menus ranging from "market" to "gourmet".

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from EM of on 17/04/2024

Ride Summary
Very good
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
Please give more details to explain your response:
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
8
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
It was hard at times as I was getting back into riding but satisfying to see the progress day by day
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

There is no fixed itinerary for this ride. The programme includes 2 hrs riding, and more riding can be booked and paid for on site. Additional riding can be booked on site (subject to availability), please enquire for more details. On arrival the instructor will discuss the riding programme and work out a riding schedule according to the individual's wishes/goals, as well as the other riding centre activities available.

Riding out: There are lovely rides on the 100 acre estate and in the immediate surroundings. The riding is relaxed and steady, taking in the beautiful countryside and a wonderful addition to this chateau break. Riding facilities include 2 schooling arenas, a covered manège, an all-weather gallop and a horse walker, as well as paddocks, grazing and bridleways throughout the chateau grounds. One can even swim with the horse in the lake!
The countryside consists of rolling hills and open fields, interspersed with woodlands. There is some roadwork to maneuver to get to the big forests (about 10-15min), and there are many country tracks with good going, even in wet weather. Local drivers are quick to pull over, switch off engines and wait for the horses to pass by, usually taking the opportunity for a chat . This is not a tourist area, and a friendly atmosphere prevails.
All tack is English and there is a range of riding helmets available. The horses vary in height from 12hh ponies to 17hh and are well schooled, friendly, always ready for a good canter but equally happy to slow down - most are just as comfortable jumping as hacking.

 

On Monday and Tuesdays the restaurant is closed. A Table d’Hôte Menu is served at a shared table for all our guests. 

Please note that it is not always possible to have an English speaking guide on site every day.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

The chateau has a stable yard with loose boxes and there are currently 15 horses available for riding. The main activities of the yard are training young thoroughbreds and rehabilitating/schooling horses.

The horses are all very relaxed and friendly and an atmosphere of calm prevails. The mental and physical health of the horses is cared for with great attention to detail. 



On-site facilities include (in addition to paddocks), grazing land and bridle paths throughout the ground. There are 2 outdoor all-weather arenas, a covered manège, a lunging ring, an 800m all weather gallop, a horse walker and jumps. A cross country course is available nearby. Riders can even swim with their horses in the lake! The countryside consists of rolling hills and open fields are interspersed with woodlands. There is some roadwork to maneuver get to the big forests (about 10-15min) and there are many country tracks with good going even in wet weather. Local drivers are quick to pull over, switch off engines and wait for the horses to pass by, usually taking the opportunity for a chat - as this area is not overrun with tourists a very friendly atmosphere prevails and tourists are greeted with interest and curiosity.



Additional riding can be booked on site (subject to availability). This costs 36 € per hour as of 2022.

All tack is English and there is a range of riding helmets available. Riding helmets are compulsory. The horses vary in height from 12hh ponies to 17hh and are well-schooled, friendly, always ready for a good canter but equally happy to slow down - most are just as comfortable jumping as hacking.


Rider requirements

Beginner riders onwards can be accommodated. There are ponies for children aged 4/5 years onwards, you can be led around the grounds. Older children can take lessons or ride out on the lead rein/independently according to their ability.

This holiday is ideal for singles, couples and families looking for a relaxing luxury break with some riding to compliment their holiday.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The chateau has been lovingly restored in a traditional manner with great attention to detail. Antique furniture and original art have been used to create a relaxed welcoming atmosphere. The rooms are beautifully appointed, each individually decorated and many offer sweeping views. The rooms all have en-suite facilities with either a bath or shower, heated towel rails and flat screen TV's. There are 4 room types: standard, comfort, superior and deluxe, varying in size and views. A third bed can be placed in the larger rooms for a small supplement.



Classic Room: these rooms are furnished in typical country residence style. They are north-facing and offer a view of the horse training tracks. Each room features a bath or shower, free WiFi Internet access, a flat-screen TV, and a reversible air-conditioning system. Double bed (either standard or king size), 13 to 22 sq. m.



Pavilion Room: these rooms in the Garden Pavilion (next to the Château) are furnished in typical country residence style. They are located on the ground floor and lead out directly onto the gardens. These rooms are ideal for guests with pets and are also popular for their accessibility and direct access to the grounds. Each room features a bath or shower, one double or two twin beds, a flat-screen TV, and a reversible air-conditioning system. One of the rooms is fully equipped to disabled accessibility standards. Double bed (standard double or king-size) or 2 twin beds, 13 to 22 sq. m.



Comfort Room: the Comfort rooms are south or north-facing and offer a panoramic view over either the Bourbonnais woodlands or the horse training tracks. Each room features a bath or shower, one double or two twin beds, free WiFi Internet access, a flat-screen TV, a courtesy tray and a reversible air-conditioning system. King size bed or 2 twin beds, 16 to 26 sq. m.



Superior Room: the Superior rooms are south or north-facing and offer a panoramic view over either the Bourbonnais woodlands or the horse training tracks. Each room features a bath, free WiFi Internet access, a flat-screen TV, a courtesy tray and a reversible air-conditioning system. King-size double bed or 2 twin beds (1 single and 1 king-size double), 22 to 27 sq. m.



Deluxe Suite: this is the Château's flagship room and is ideally situated at the end of the main building's west wing. It boasts views from three sides (south, west and north) and overlooks the magnificent Bourbonnais woodlands. It features a bath, free WiFi Internet access, a flat-screen TV, a courtesy tray and a reversible air-conditioning system. King size double bed, 35 sq. m.



Catering & Menus 

The catering service is both refined and friendly and is guaranteed to satisfy even the most demanding customers. Enjoy the views across the grounds, flower-lined gardens and ancient trees from the windows of the Directoire room or the Chasse dining room.



The range of exquisite dishes, made from organic ingredients and using authentic, genuine flavours, is guaranteed to wake the taste buds. Recipes are made using produce from the Chateau's vegetable garden, local farms and small producers, as well as Label Rouge Charolais meats and the freshest fish available. A particular emphasis is placed on the use of organically produced ingredients. 



The dishes change according to the latest harvests, with a seasonal menu and a Market Produce menu which changes every month. Please note there will be special menus for the following holidays, prices and menus will be communicated a week before you are due to arrive. 

-    Valentine’s Day

-    Easter

-    Mother’s Day

-    New Year Eve



Breakfast:  Start the day off on the right note with a comprehensive buffet breakfast, featuring fresh and homemade produce. Start your day in the luxurious surroundings of the restaurant, with classical background music especially chosen to ease you into the day.

The Terrace: The terrace offers commanding views towards the Auvergne Volcanoes in the distance. It is drenched in sunlight from dawn until dusk, and is the perfect place to relax under a parasol. The terrace service operates between June and September (subject to favourable weather conditions).

Dinner: Evening meals are served between 7:00pm and 8:00pm during the mid and low season, and 7:00pm to 8:30pm during the high season. Should you wish, you can upgrade your evening meal to the gourmet dinner menu at an extra cost.



On Monday and Tuesday the restaurant is closed and a Table d’Hôte Menu is served (starter, plate, cheese, desert + 1 glass of wine) at a shared table for all guests.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Passport and Visa requirements can change regularly depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france

In the USA: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/France.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/france

Climate Summary

A typical inland climate prevails with big difference between day and night temperatures. Spring and autumn are delightful with perfect riding weather while summer days are perfect for lazing by the pool and long evenings on the terrace.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in France and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.


Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites.

The emergency phone number in France is 112. If you need to contact other emergency services, call 15 (medical), 17 (police) or 18 (fire).

Electricity

In France the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Mobile, WiFi and charging

There is electricity for recharging camera and video batteries with appropriate 2 pronged adaptors. Please note that the WiFi in the Chateau can be intermittent due to the thick stone walls.

Packing List

Light summer clothing is needed on summer departure dates. We recommend you bring your own riding helmet which must stay on firmly and sunglasses with string. It is compulsory to wear a helmet and a range is available on site for those not arriving with their own.

Riding trousers
Riding boots
Half chaps (recommended)
Riding gloves
Jumper/fleece
Warm jacket (spring and autumn)
Shorts
Long sleeve shirts
T-shirts
Underwear
Raincoat
Swimsuit (seasonal)
Sun block
Camera on a shoulder strap with a pouch which can be secured to your belt

Neat casual clothing is required for the evening, it is not customary to dress formally for dinner. If you wish to ride with a body protector, please bring your own.

No need to pack a hairdryer as rooms are equipped with one as well as dressing gowns and slippers.

Programmes

Departure dates are available on request and are tailored to your requirements. The chateau is open year-round, closing on Sundays and Mondays in the winter.

Discounted Early Booking rates are available for reservations made 60 days or more in advance, please enquire.

Departure Dates

2024: Low season: 9 Feb - 4 April; 1 -18; Oct 4 Nov - 26 Dec
Mid season: 5 April* - 27 June*; 19- 30 Sept; 19 Oct - 3 Nov; 27 -31 Dec
High season: 28 June - 18 Sept
Closed on Sundays and Mondays from November 2023 to 9 February 2024. Open 7 days a week from 9 February to 31 December
* Special offer applies

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.

Single options available for all room types, please enquire.
Dinner menu upgrade available, please enquire.

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Pavillion room209
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Classic room225
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Superior room265
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Deluxe suite285
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Pavillion room (single use)239
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Pavillion room (double for single use)265
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Classic room305
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Superior room379
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Deluxe suite419
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Non-rider discount-65
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Pavillion room219
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Classic room239
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Superior room275
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Deluxe suite295
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Single pp Pavillion room (single room)259
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Non rider discount-65
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Pavillion room229
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Classic room249
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Superior room289
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Deluxe suite305
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Non-rider discount-65
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Pavillion room229
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Classic room249
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Superior room295
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Deluxe suite315
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Pavillion room (single use)265
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Pavillion room (double for single use)295
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Classic room339
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Superior room425
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Deluxe suite465
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Non-rider discount-72
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Pavillion room245
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Classic room265
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Superior room309
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Deluxe suite329
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Single pp Pavillion room (single room)289
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Non rider discount-72
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Pavillion room265
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Classic room285
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Superior room329
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Deluxe suite349
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Non-rider discount-74
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Pavillion room269
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Classic room295
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Superior room345
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Deluxe suite369
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Pavillion room (single use)309
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Pavillion room (double for single use)345
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Classic room395
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Superior room495
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Deluxe suite545
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Non-rider discount-85
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Pavillion room285
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Classic room309
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Superior room359
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Deluxe suite385
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Single pp Pavillion room (single room)339
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Non rider discount-85
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Pavillion room305
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Classic room329
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Superior room379
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Deluxe suite405
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Non-rider discount-86
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Pavillion room2,805
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Classic room3,065
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Superior room3,589
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Double pp - Deluxe suite3,849
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Pavillion room (single use)3,229
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Pavillion room (double for single use)3,589
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Classic room4,109
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Superior room5,159
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Single pp - Deluxe suite5,679
2024 - Low Season per nightper night1Non-rider discount-889
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Pavillion room2,959
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Classic room3,219
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Superior room3,745
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Double pp - Deluxe suite4,005
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Single pp Pavillion room (single room)3,539
2024 - Mid Season per nightper night1Non rider discount-889
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Pavillion room3,195
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Classic room3,465
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Superior room4,005
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Double pp - Deluxe suite4,269
2024 - High Season per nightper night1Non-rider discount-909
Recommended Reading

The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France - Ina Caro



Theodore Zeldin ‘The French’,



Francoise Sagan ‘Bonjour Tristesse’,



Peter Mayle ‘A Year in Provence’ and ‘Toujours Provence’,



Louis Stevensons ‘Travels with a Donkey’ and



For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback, visit www.thelongridersguild.com. An excellent source of equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com  


Other Activities

On-site facilities include a steam room and spa facility, a heated swimming pool (unsupervised) open from June to September, bicycles, billiard table, fishing in the on-site fishing lake, educational vegetable garden, well-stocked library, music room and boating in the small rowing boat.

We recommend car rental for stays of more than 2 nights and this can be arranged from the chateau. The Allier is a Bourbonnais region that is bursting with activities and attractions. In fact, there's so much to do in this stunning, clean, peaceful land that you'll need to come back time and again to fit everything in. Activities include relaxation, spa treatments, swimming, walking, cycling, horse-riding, cookery lessons, exploring the rich Bourbonnais heritage (Romanesque churches, abbeys, medieval châteaux) and its remarkable gardens, several theme parks and leisure parks, the Saint-Pourçain vineyards and local produce, walks through Europe's most stunning oak forest and numerous listed villages.

Other Country Information

The French wrote the book on la vie en rose and gave the world champagne and camembert, de Beauvoir and Debussy, the Tour de France and the Eiffel Tower. It is a country steeped in history. Staggering monasteries and castles dotted all over the country are a reminder of a turbulent and often violent past, especially in the Carcasonne region where the Gnostic Christian organisation the Cathars held fast against a crusade launched in the 11th century by an angry and vengeful Catholic church for over twenty years. Despite their vow of non-violence they had a strong support base, including the Knights Templar, and their name often pops up in the legend of the Holy Grail.

The French character has undoubtedly been influenced by their past, today they are a proud and patriotic people famed for enjoying the finer things in life and displaying a great generosity character in their willingness to share their country with the millions of visitors they receive each year.

Food is very important in French culture, almost a passion. Families eat dinner together late in the evening and their diet is usually very healthy, packed with home grown fruit and vegetables. You will hardly ever see anyone eating on the street; if you do chances are they're not French!

France is one hour ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The international dialling code for France is +33.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Taxi transfer from Moulins sur Allier train station which is 2hr 20min fast train from Gare du Lyon, Paris.
Transfer:
2023/4: By taxi from the train station, approximately approx €60/vehicle one way, payable on site. Transfer time is approximately 30 minutes.
From Clermont-Ferrand Airport: €135 one way (subject to change)
Flight Guide:
London to Paris from £65 pp return,
train to Moulin sur Allier from £30 return
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