Chateau de Mercuès ****

Cahors, France
  • The Experience
  • Details
  • Rooms
  • How to arrive

Chateau de Mercuès ****

Fairytale 13th century castle.
By Victoria Lomax, VeryChic correspondent

Some French castles – “châteaux” – hardly live up to their name, resembling only a large country house. But this one is different. Built some 800 years ago on a rocky outcrop, with fortified walls and towers, for many years it dominated the Lot valley below, defending its occupants. Later it became the summer residence of the Bishops of Cahors for an impressive seven centuries before a gradual transformation into what is now an exclusive luxury hotel, restaurant and wine estate. We booked our stay at Château de Mercuès **** knowing little about its history, having chosen it mainly for its reputation for outstanding accommodation and fine table. But as we were soon to discover, there is much more on offer…

WE LIKE
  • The building’s authentic historical roots.
  • Unparalleled quality of rooms and service.
  • Taking in the breath-taking view from the terrace as you sample the local wine – reputed to improve your health.
  • The young and talented chef, Julien Poisot, whose innovative cuisine and 3 Michelin star experience have earned him many accolades and a solid reputation
THE VERYCHIC EXPERIENCE

On arrival we were warmly welcomed by the current owner and son of Georges Vigouroux, the inspiration of the château’s rebirth as a first class hotel and winery. He told us about his father’s dream of renovating the old buildings and creating a winery in the cellars capable of supporting a huge increase in production of the renowned Cahors “black wine”, reputed to fight heart disease and to be the healthiest wine in the world. That was back in the 80s, and since then his ambitions have been fully realised. The public rooms have been designed to offer elegance and comfort without stifling their deep historic resonance. The bedrooms and suites, however, are furnished individually, reflecting various traditional and avant-garde styles. The most striking rooms are the Bishop Room and the Tower, the latter boasting a unique roof which slides back to reveal the turret above.

There are two restaurants, the main one offering an unequalled gastronomic experience in a formal setting and the more relaxed brasserie with outdoor dining on the terrace and outstanding views. Both menus exemplify the richness of the local Quercy terroir, with lamb, duck, goose and truffles featuring in innovative dishes created by the Michelin starred chef. And, unsurprisingly, there is no shortage of wine choices, starting with those from the Château itself and extending to other great wines of the region and beyond.

On our first morning, still replete from our dinner the night before, we explored the beautiful grounds of the Château in search of activities to justify another culinary experience. Opportunities were abundant, from swimming to tennis, walking or jogging on 4km of dedicated trails. Less strenuous options included spa treatments, wine-tasting and cooking lessons.

It was a couple of days before we felt the need to venture further afield. First we visited the town of Cahors to view the Pont Valentré (14th century fortified “devil’s” bridge) and roman ruins. Then we drove for 20 minutes east of Cahors to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, a 13th century village perched on the edge of a cliff, popular with visitors for its artisans’ workshops yet still relatively unspoiled. From there it was a short hop to the Grotte du Pech-Merle, famed for its prehistoric cave pictures.

BE SMART! DON'T MISS...

  • Take a trip to the miraculous village of Rocamadour and don’t forget your kneepads if you’re going to ascend the 216 steps to the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary like the pilgrims did in days of old. www.rocamadour.com
  • Sarlat, a town whose architecture and surroundings have inspired film directors across the globe making it the most filmed town in France after Paris and Nice. Come in November if you want to see the film festival. www.sarlattourisme.com
  • Step back in time at the Grotte du Pech Merle. Uncover its geological and archaeological secrets on a guided tour of this prehistoric cave. www.pechmerle.com – Pech Merle, 46330 Cabrerets
SERVICES
  • 24-hour reception
  • 30 Rooms – Non-smoking
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Gourmet Restaurant (closed Sundays & Mondays)
  • Adult Half Board (ages 12 +) available for 90€ (around £64) per person per day – Adult Full Board (Ages 12 +) available for 130€ (around £93) per person per day
  • Bar open 24h a day
  • Unheated & unguarded outdoor pool (25m x 10m), towels available in room, deck chairs available
  • 1 outdoor tennis court (Synthetic turf)
  • Baby-sitting Service (on prior reservation)
  • Mountain bikes available at the hotel (reservations required)
  • Guarded Parking
  • The establishment provides disabled and limited mobility access
  • Dogs are allowed at the hotel but not at the restaurant

CONDITIONS

  • Local tourist taxes not included: 1.40€ a night, per per adult & and pro rata of children’s ages
  • Extra child bed (ages 2-12) available for 40€ (around £28) per night in the suite only- Breakfast not included (12€/£8.5 per day)
  • Extra adult bed (ages 12 +) available for 60€ (around £43) per night in the suite only- Breakfast not included (27€/£19 per day)
  • Check in from 3pm & check out by 12pm

Classic Room

Stay in a Classic Room for up to 2 adults with the possibility to accommodate a baby
  •  - Surface area: 29 square metres
     - Bed Types: 1 large double bed or twin beds
     - Bathroom with: bath, toilet, hair dryer and complimentary toiletries 
     - Bedroom equipped with: safe, flat screen TV, satellite channels, telephone, minibar

Superior Room

Stay in a Superior Room for up to 2 adults with the possibility to accommodate a baby
  •  - Surface area: 32 square metres
     - Bed Types: 1 large double bed or twin beds
     - Bathroom with: bath, toilet, hair dryer and complimentary toiletries 
     - Bedroom equipped with: safe, flat screen TV, satellite channels, telephone, minibar

Deluxe Room

Stay in a Deluxe Room for up to 2 adults
  •  - Surface area: 40 square metres
     - Bed Types: 1 large double bed or twin beds
     - Bathroom with: bath, toilet, hair dryer and complimentary toiletries 
     - Bedroom equipped with: safe, flat screen TV, satellite channels, telephone, minibar

Suite

Stay in a Suite for up to 2 adults with the possibility to accommodate a baby
  •  - Surface area: 50 square metres
     - Bed Types: 1 large double bed or twin beds
     - Bathroom with: bath, toilet, hair dryer and complimentary toiletries 
     - Bedroom equipped with: safe, flat screen TV, satellite channels, telephone, minibar

Chateau de Mercuès ****

Route du Château
46090
Mercuès
France

The Chateau de Mercuès **** Hotel is located in the ancient Bishop of Cahors’ residence overlooking the Lot valley

BY PLANE

The closest internationally served airport is the Toulouse Blagnac Airport just under an hour and a half drive away (124km/77mi).

- From the UK: Direct flights from London are operated by British Airways and low-cost airline EasyJet. Easyjet also fly direct from Bristol. During summer months, other low-cost airlines fly from other cities, such as Jet2 from Manchester and Edinburgh or Flybe from Birmingham.

- From Ireland: Flying from Dublin, you can find direct flights offered by Aer Lingus in all but the winter months.

- From Germany: Lufthansa fly direct from Munich and Frankfurt while Air France and Germanwings fly from Hamburg. During the summer, Air France also fly direct from Berlin.

- From the Netherlands: Air France fly direct from Amsterdam all year round, but costs are high and flights are not regular; during the summer, Vueling offer indirect flights for generally lower prices.

- From Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland: Unfortunately there are no direct flights from any of these countries, nor any immediately obvious indirect routes. Toulouse can be reached by booking with a combination of low-cost airlines, with a stop-over for example in Paris.

- From France: Air France and Easyjet provide direct flights from Paris; and between Air France, Easyjet and Hop!, flights are available from cities like Lille, Lyon, Nice, Marseille and Strasbourg.

HOW TO GET FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE HOTEL

- By Car: Considering the rather remote location of the hotel, it is recommended to rent a car at the airport and drive to the hotel. You can hire a car from most major car rental companies.

From the airport, take A62/E72/E9 north for 33km. Take exit Nº10 for the A20 motorway in the direction of Paris/Limoges/Montauban for 55km. Take exit Nº58 towards Villeneuve-sur-Lot/Cahors-Centre and continue onto D800E. At the first roundabout, take the 1st exit onto D820 and stay on it until arriving in the town of Regourd. At the roundabout, take the 4th exit onto the D811 and take it until the town of Mercuès. Turn right onto Rue du Château and continue straight on this road following the signs until it arrives to the hotel.