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Chateau Plagne exterior view

Bienvenue a Château Plagne

A trip south is always good, especially when it comes to the south of France. But I thought wrong, my trip didn't go to the Côte d'Azur - much better, as I was able to find out, the trip went to something that was still quite unknown in Germany Dordogne Valley. In the 15 houses of Plagne, to be precise. I was invited by Martina and Achim Schriever, the enchanting hosts of the picturesque Château Plagne.

I spent a whole week there. And what can I say, the time was unforgettably great! From the morning croissant with homemade peach jam, to exploring smaller ones picturesque villages in the Dordogne Valley to lazy afternoons by the saltwater pool. I lived in a former and renovated pigeon tower, without electricity and internet - a completely new experience. Martina and Achim looked after me lovingly and also spoiled me with culinary delights. As the saying goes: I lived like the goddess in France! But back to the very beginning of my journey...

… bienvenue at Château Plagne

Welcome to Château Plagne. Château, in German castle, is really apt. The estate was a winery, built between 1600 and 1720, and belonged to the Bonnevals, a distant branch of the House of Navarre from which King Henry IV, King of France (1589-1610) was descended.

The main building is the Château Plagne, where two guest rooms are rented, opening directly onto the dining room with a fireplace and a large well-stocked library. Martina and Achim also live in the walls. It also houses the castle kitchen, which will be discussed later.

Adjacent to the main building is the two storey 'Maison Bonneval', once used as the property's barn. After a tasteful restoration, guests there enjoy an open plan living area for cooking, reading and relaxing. In addition, the Château Plagne estate consists of four other holiday homes, two of which are located in former pigeon towers.

Overall, the Château Plagne with the main house and the adjoining houses can accommodate up to 22 guests. The pleasant thing about it is that the property is spacious and the individual holiday homes and rooms are not next to each other and in between there is a large garden with trees, plants and flowers.

Chateau Plagne
Outside view
Rooms at the Château Plagne
Bonjour from the Taubenturm

My accommodation during the week was the former Taubenturm, also called Le Truffier. It is only about a five-minute walk from the main building of the château. And is surrounded by nature. The three-storey tower is free and surrounded by trees and meadows, a truffle plantation and a vineyard as well as wooded areas. The only neighbor, although several hundred meters away in his paddock, is the host's horse. The road, which is hardly used, can hardly be guessed at due to the many flowering bushes and trees, let alone heard. The Taubenturm was therefore the perfect oasis of calm to switch off and arrive.

The tower offers everything you need for a relaxing holiday on three floors and 12 square meters: on the ground floor there is a well-equipped kitchenette with seating, on the first floor there is the bathroom, which offers hot water thanks to solar panels, as well as a sofa and on the top floor directly under the top of the tower, guests will find a comfortable double bed. When the weather is good, life takes place in nature: in the hammocks or deck chairs and the various seating areas, depending on the sunshine or need for shade.

What honestly amazed me is the fact that pigeons were welcome guests in the Dordogne valley until vine growing was brought to a standstill by the phylloxera plague in the 19th century, quite the opposite in many places today, because their droppings were used as fertilizer. It's hard to believe, but extra towers were built for this production in which they could live undisturbed. Fortunately, the pigeons have now moved out and most of the towers are still in their original form, so you can see them again and again when driving through the Dordogne Valley. Many are now converted and function as small holiday homes, the so-called Gîtes, with a special character - to the delight of travelers.

pigeon tower
Hammock in nature

love at first sight

I'm not the only one who got me when I first saw this Chateau Plagne in love with it, so did Martina and Achim when they happened to see the property for the first time in early spring 1998 during a holiday between the Dordogne and the Lot. During their vacation it rained day and night - difficult conditions to fall in love with the landscape and area in such weather, but sparks sparked directly with Martina and Achim. They have literally soaked up the river landscape and the fresh air and discovered the wealth of the region. It quickly became clear that they wanted to give up their home in the Rhein-Neckar district, with their old jobs, partly in Berlin, and employees to start anew in Plagne.

At that time the house had been uninhabited for 30 years. But the two did not shy away from the conversion and renovation measures and accepted the challenge: over the next nine years, they transformed the château with passion, a lot of sweat and attention to detail into the place that guests find today. In the process, they became all-round talents, whether in terms of craftsmanship, technology or creativity. Martina's French was in its infancy, although Achim was already able to communicate well because it was important to them to get to know their neighbors. From the beginning they were interested in building good relationships and involving the French residents of the place in their renovation work and asking them for advice.

For a long time, Martina and Achim commuted from Germany to France, spent their holidays there or just the weekends to bring the castle into shape so that they could at least spend the night in a room with a fireplace on cold winter nights and use a rusty shower with a toilet . At this point, after Christmas 2004, they packed their seven things, although there were significantly more, and started their new life in the south of France. They worked their way piece by piece, room by room and room by room. The walls were plastered over, the kitchen was yellowed. They got to work with full commitment and sandblasted the limestone, among other things. All the effort and physical exertion was worth it: the tastefully restored Château Plagne has been available to guests since 2007.

Chateau Plagne

The good souls of Château Plagne

When you smell Diamant by Fragonard, you know without looking that Martina is in the immediate vicinity. The pleasant scent of her perfume from France reflects her feel-good atmosphere. Although she has full days and juggles between the various tasks as a hostess, she always makes time for her guests, asking how they are, serving a cup of coffee or stopping by the pool for a little chat. She is interested and uncomplicated, books tables for dinner out, recommends excursions or takes you directly and shows you her favorite places.

Achim, who has been at Martina's side since 1995, has been a big fan of France since he was a young adult. As a keen rider, it was his wish to have his own horse in the château's paddock. Before moving to France, he ran an online shop selling various organic products, from cheese to a range of wines, children's clothing and toys, and ran an organic catering business. You can see Achim in different outfits every day - depending on the upcoming work - whether he's on his way to the wholesale market/supermarket or grocery store he trusts, he's just setting out for his own permaculture garden with a rake and shovel, or he's ready to conjure up a delicious dinner. No matter what outfit, Achim always has a smile on his face.


Martina and Achim

Vacation like with friends

Martina and Achim's motto is: Vacation like with friends. And that's exactly what they did. Even if they don't choose the guests themselves, as they book in, a great group always comes together and spends a week together at Château Plagne. The various holiday homes and rooms can be booked on a weekly basis. In a week you have enough time to see something in the area and at the same time enjoy the special accommodation in the middle of nature.

I, too, have found that nice conversations with the other guests are easy to do if you want to. We flew out together a few times, looked at other villages and had dinner together outside. The conversations were so intense and full of mutual interest that even now, even though I've been back in Berlin for a few weeks, I still have to think about it.

Pure relaxation

The Château Plagne has a salt water pool located in the garden of the castle and another salt water pool for guests of the holiday homes "Maison Rose" and "Maison Soleil". Whether on the loungers around the pool with two dominant cypresses or in the magnificent garden under a shady tree: life is relaxed. With a good book, a cool drink or in the quiet of nature. A water fountain splashes along comfortably, the birds chirp cheerfully - so you can really switch off.

Enjoy saltwater pool
The blooming, relaxing castle garden

Be pampered with pleasure

The man behind the stove is Achim, the castle kitchen is his territory. There he prepares breakfast in the morning, consisting of, how else, fresh croissants and baguettes served with jam and butter. There is also fresh fruit and yoghurt. Depending on whether there is a course week or not, Achim cooks daily or on two or three evenings, depending on the arrangement/booking. To be honest, the word "cook" doesn't do justice to Achim's multi-course menus: the guests are spoiled with culinary delights for a whole evening. The high-quality food prepared includes seasonal fruit and vegetables that come from our own permaculture garden, from neighboring farmers, such as saffron, as well as fish, shellfish and crustaceans or meat.

At the age of 13, Achim discovered the art of cooking for himself and has since tried out a lot in different kitchens. As a host, it was important to him to adopt dishes from the region, giving them his own touch and interpretation. Friends from the neighborhood help him when he invites them to a 5-course meal in the evening. The guests sit at the long table outside, with lanterns and the setting sun.

My vegetarian menu consisted of the following delicacies, accompanied by wine: The amuse-bouche consisted of three types of butter: truffle, herbs and lime, served with fresh bread. As an entrée there was a zen garden with avocado, with the plat principal (main course) a potato gratin was served on a mosaic of vegetables. Afterwards there was a large selection of cheese, with dessert consisting of a fruity lemon magic. What a successful evening!

Achim conjures up a 5-course menu
Tasty dessert

Cooking and body classes

If you like, you can book a cooking course with Achim on request. Depending on the season, you can choose from: fish, vegetable or truffle cooking courses, which are prepared together in the castle kitchen and then eaten together.

The great thing about the Dordogne Valley is that all kinds of delicious food can be grown in the region, sometimes with three harvest seasons per year, because the region is so rich in heat and water: from walnuts to truffles, all sorts of vegetables, among others Artichokes and asparagus, but also numerous types of fruit such as cherries, apricots and many more. It's not for nothing that the Dordogne Valley is called the "Belly of France", from whose products the whole country can draw.

You can also book a shiatsu treatment or an aromatherapy massage by appointment. The château invites trained therapists to pamper guests with pleasant treatments.

Creative weeks with varied courses

Since 2007, various popular and quickly booked-up course weeks have been offered over the summer months into autumn. The courses, which mostly take place outdoors, could not be more varied: from yoga, drawing, (watercolor) painting, sketches to sculpting, making music or photography. The offer is rounded off by wine and rhetoric seminars. Martina selects the artists who will lead the creative scepter during the course weeks and guide the course participants.

I was able to get to know one of these artists, the gifted illustrator Nicola Maier Reimer. In a few minutes she can trace scenes and with a little color she brings the pictures to life. You can only watch spellbound or decide on a course and learn from her. And if you don't expect it at all and just linger by the pool, Nicola has already made a few sketches: How great!

Cécile takes a shower - an illustration

So I was allowed to experience a "dream of vacation" in the beautiful Château Plagne, in reality, where it was never boring, but fortunately never stressful. The week in Plagne with Martina and Achim and the other lovely people will remain unforgettable! In this sense: Merci beaucoup et à bientôt.


Cécile is a freelance author and sustainability strategist. She enjoys traveling to the fullest: getting to know different cultures, listening to other languages ​​and discovering new things either by the sea or in a (big) city always fascinates her. The stories and intentions of the Good Travel hosts are particularly important to her.


  • Elsa Horneke

    Hello and thank you for this interesting post! The pictures invite you to dream. There is something magical about a château. I imagine winter there being very cozy – by the fireplace, in front of the warming flames and a glass of wine in hand. Perfect!

    LG Elsa

    • Cecile Meier
      Cecile Meier

      Dear Elsa, thank you very much for your nice comment - Martina and Achim would certainly be happy about a visit 🙂 All the best! Kind regards, Cecile


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