What if we took you to Versailles to convince you? Versailles in Beaujolais, otherwise known as château de la Chaize, in Odenas is a wonderful example of 17th century architecture. This 100-hectare estate has formal French-style gardens designed by the Le Nôtre workshop.
But its real asset is the Brouilly wines that are served in the French presidential palace and the top Parisian Palace hotels. Brouilly wines are matured in the longest cellar in the Beaujolais: a 108-metre-long building that is a listed historic monument.
Other impressively sized cellars can be found in the chateau de Juliénas, former stronghold of the Lords of Beaujeu. They are in the basement under the courtyard and cover a surface area of over 200 metres, the equivalent of two football pitches! Juliénas has been produced there for five generations.
When the wine tells a story
If you want to follow the trail of the Lords of Beaujeu, visit the chateau de Montmelas in Montmelas-Saint-Sorlin, a former garrison that belonged to the Lords of Beaujeu in the Middle Ages. The château looks down on the surrounding area from the top of its hill.
In the 19th century, the architect Viollet-le-Duc gave it a new look by adding crenelated towers. Ever since it has been nicknamed "Sleeping Beauty’s castle".
The chateau’s vines produce Beaujolais Villages wines; the profile of the Marquis of Montmelas whose family has owned the château for five centuries appears on the label.
History and story lovers may want to investigate the chateau de Vaurenard in Gleizé, and more particularly a bottle of Baron de Richemont, a Beaujolais appellation. The Baron claimed to be Louis XVII, son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The building dates from the 17th and 18th centuries
Stunning chateaus of golden stones
Enjoy the sun's rays at the château de Rochebonne in Theizé. Its 17th century façade of golden stones is to be enjoyed with a glass of Beaujolais Villages.
Another place to soak up the rays is Jarnioux: the chateau is a marvel in golden stones that will delight Renaissance enthusiasts. Some of the building dates from the 12th century, which makes Jarnioux château one of the best preserved in the region. It is the kingdom of the Beaujolais appellation.
For a relaxing break in a fully renovated 15th century chateau, try the château de Bagnols, a great starting point for exploring Pierres Dorées country and its wines.