The World of the Château Bouffémont: Exploring Montmorency Forest

Our digital newsletter keeps you up to date with everything happening at Château Bouffémont – this week, we take a trip into the beautiful forest of Montmorency

 

 

With its lavish Beaux Arts architecture and magnificent interior of wood-panelling and crystal chandeliers, the Château Bouffémont is a 19th century jewel in the heart of the verdant Val-d’Oise.

 

Beyond the Château’s own five hectares of split-level gardens guests can enjoy striking views of the ancient forest of Montmorency – our grounds are perched right on the edge of the woods, in perfect fairy tale style. Here we take a journey into the forest to discover all the magic that Montmorency has to offer.

 

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The World of Château Bouffémont: An Interview with Florist Laura le Cam

 

Appreciated for their diverse beauty and universal appeal, flowers are a staple at every important event throughout our lives – from birthdays and baptisms to weddings, anniversaries and other milestone celebrations of all kinds. We spoke to Laura le Cam, one of Château Bouffémont’s favourite florists, to discover some of her best tips and tricks for floral design.

 

 

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The World of Château Bouffémont: Braised Cod Recipe

Our digital newsletter keeping you up to date with everything happening at Château Bouffémont – this week with a recipe for fresh cod cooked à l’étouffée with lemongrass, ginger and lime.

 

It’s fully on scarf weather outside – but while the air is crisp and the sun is shining, we at the Château Bouffémont are starting to dream about springtime. The days will soon be lengthening, with the frosted foliage in our grounds to be gradually replaced with the first blooms of the coming season. So how better to celebrate than with a fresh and nutritious recipe for the new year?

 

We will guide you through a recipe for cod cooked à l’étouffée – a braising technique where fresh fish will be covered with a small amount of liquid stock to become infused with lemongrass, ginger and lime. You may use either a fillet or a cod loin per serving, depending on how hungry your party is – the recipe serves four, but can be adjusted to suit smaller or larger appetites. Laurel leaves (also known as bay leaves) were known to symbolise victory in ancient Greek mythology – the perfect motif for this recipe, they have a bittersweet and lightly spicy tang that complements the citric freshness of the lime zest and lemongrass. A simple, elegant classic for either lunch or suppertime.

 

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The World of the Château Bouffémont: A Little Art History

Our latest digital newsletter to keep you up to date with everything happening at Château Bouffémont – including recipes, interviews and activities in the local area. 

 

 

Château Bouffémont is nestled in the heart of the Oise valley – a place of striking natural beauty known for its pretty villages, grand historic architecture and idyllic pastoral scenery.

 

Thanks to the sparkle of its rolling countryside and languorous waterways, this region has drawn artists for hundreds of years, including greats like Cézanne, Pissarro and Van Gogh. Here we offer a peek into the world of the iconic artists who have immortalised Val d’Oise’s most alluring beauty spots.

 

 

L’Isle-Adam

L’Isle-Adam, located 20 minutes’ drive from Château Bouffémont, is the kind of place that gets under your skin – “my earthly paradise”, in the words of Balzac, who cherished his youthful visits to the area. This historic town is famous for its long sandy river beach, along with a beautiful 18thcentury Chinese pavilion.

 

Jules Dupré, an important figure in the Barbizon school of landscape painting, was a descendant of an ancient local family. He was raised in L’Isle-Adam – the world’s third-largest collection of his work is located here, in the local Louis-Senlecq Museum. Dupré was one of the earliest artistic champions of the area. His expressively tonal, loose and softly-lit works are representative of the period’s movement away from Romanticism and towards Realism.

 

L’Isle-Adam is home to several creative exhibitions throughout the year, including a Contemporary Art Festival and an annual international art fair each September. We recommend wandering around the town on foot. You may spot some of its wonderful sculptures – such as a resin copy of Etienne Maurice Falconnet’s infamous marble Menacing Love (1757), or Marie-Josée Aerts’ nymph-like riverside Evila Siren (1990) and Jean Marais’ so-called ‘strange angel’, SIARAM (1993).

 

 

Auvers-sur-Oise

An important place for many Impressionists including Camille Pissarro and Frédéric Samuel Cordey, Auvers-sur-Oise (the next town along the river from L’Isle-Adam) is most famous for its association with the great Dutch Post-Impressionist Van Gogh.

 

Visitors can follow the Van Gogh route around the village, to explore the places where the painter worked, lived and drew inspiration in the final months before his death. The Auberge Ravoux (now a fully-restored museum named the Van Gogh House), is a particularly moving monument. Here you can see Vincent’s tiny little attic room, mansardNo. 5, which was never rented again after he took his own life and died here. Some of the painter’s most famous and emotionally affecting works created in the area number among them Portrait of Dr Gachet, Church of Auvers-sur-Oise, and Wheatfield with Crows – all painted in the few months preceding his death in 1890. Van Gogh and his brother Theo are both laid to rest in the local cemetery.

 

Auvers-sur-Oise is also home to the Daubigny Museum, which has over 100 works by Charles François Daubigny. Daubigny painted the magnificent surrounding scenery from Le Botin, his famous floating studio, on the waters of the River Oise itself. The Daubigny Museum also offers a charmingly quirky selection of so-called ‘feline art’, with paintings, engravings, sketches, sculptures and more by the likes of Jean Cocteau, Koji Ikuta and Theophile-Alexander Steinlen – along with a temporary exhibition by WWI painter Mathurin Méheut.

 

Musée Daubigny, au manoir des Colombières, Auvers-sur-Oise

 

Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône

Maubuisson Abbey is an ancient and imposing nunnery, founded in 1236. An atmospheric Cistercian setting, it has hosted visual art installations from a variety of contemporary artists, contributing to a dialogue between heritage and modern explorations of space. From October 7th 2018 to March 17th 2019 the space is being used as an exhibition of work by Patrick Neu, who works meticulously with materials such as bee wings, soot and natural hair to assemble his strange, microscopic and fantastical creations. The next town along, Cergy, was previously home to the Street Art Park– proof of how this spirit of artistic innovation and vitality in the area continues to reign.

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg – as visitors to the Oise valley will discover, there is so much more to explore in this beautiful region. See you next time, for more news from us at  Château Bouffémont.

 

Keep in touch at @chateaubouffemont

 

How Important is Location When You Come to Plan a Corporate Event?

If you are presently organising a corporate event for your own or someone else’s brand, you will probably not need to be reminded of the critical role that the most suitable venue can play. Indeed, the venue is the most influential ingredient in any event’s success other than the event itself.

However, some of those planning company events such as a product launch, meeting, seminar or conference can occasionally be guilty of underrating the importance of their chosen venue’s location – and in particular, also not properly understanding the many ways in which location is crucial.

The location dictates so much else about your event

To get a sense of just how profoundly the small matter of location can shape an event’s structure and success, one only needs to contemplate the corporate event space here at Château Bouffémont.

Yes, it is true that this private venue appeals strongly to the heart, this monumental stone-built former residence of the Marquise of Preignes and Baron Empain exuding no shortage of aristocratic charm, to say nothing of the extraordinary wider setting provided by its spectacular manicured French gardens.

Nor do we serve up merely one corporate event space, but instead – in effect – five grand reception halls and nine magical suites which, together, lend themselves to the kind of remarkable versatility that you may not have expected from a historic French chateau.

These elements are certainly advantageous in isolation. But no less significant is the role that they are likely to play together in the structure your corporate event can take, and what opportunities you have to woo and cater to the most specific requirements of your attendees.

A well-situated corporate event space can make all of the difference

One of the most powerful reasons to hire Château Bouffémont for your organisation’s next corporate event, however, is the simple fact that it is located so close to one of the truly great global capitals – Paris.

Indeed, when enjoying the festivities of your corporate event in the tranquil setting in the heart of the Montmorency Forest, you and your guests will also be a mere 30 kilometres from the centre of the City of Lights – that’s just a 40-minute drive away.

So, not only will you be well-placed to attract residents of Paris and its environs to whom your corporate event may be relevant, but the city’s world-beating restaurants, art galleries, museums and historical sites may also serve as additional attractions enticing otherwise reluctant guests. Such visitors may be interested to read Time Out’s rundown of 50 of the finest Paris attractions right now.

Factors like these are why event planners routinely advise their clients to select a private venue located near a major centre of population.

Another thing to bear in mind is that larger towns and cities tend to incorporate extremely well-developed transport links by their very nature; sure enough, when you opt for Château Bouffémont as your corporate event space, you will be just a 20-minute journey from Charles de Gaulle Airport. This is likely to be a significant convenience for guests seeking to reach your venue from overseas, as well as return home by air once the event has concluded.

We are a simply incomparable chateau venue near Paris

Yes, there are other factors to contemplate other than pure location when you are attempting to choose the private venue that will deliver the best results for the event you are planning.

However, when you pick Château Bouffémont as the venue of your corporate event, there is no need to compromise as far as both location and non-location elements are concerned. Instead, you and your attendees can discover a true fairytale venue that will reflect positively on the taste of everyone partaking in the event.  

Contact our corporate events team now, and you will be able to learn more about why a company event held at our magnificent heritage venue could be one that every attendee remembers with affection for many years to come.

The World of Château Bouffémont: Rustic Fig Loaf Edition

Introducing a new digital newsletter to keep you up to date with everything happening at Château Bouffémont – including recipes, interviews and activities in the local area

 

Here at the Château Bouffémont, a love for people lies at the very heart of what we do – from organising an endless array of activities, to throwing an unbeatable party. It is our tightknit clan of staff, suppliers and guests that make this venue such a unique and special place.

 

To say thank you for being an important part of the Château family, we want to keep you in the loop with a new series of articles. These will let you know what is going on with us – expect interviews with team members and local personalities, recommendations for daytrips and activities in the surrounding Val-d’Oise area, and gastronomic guides to our favourite producers in the region. We will alternate between Q&As, recipes-of-the-month and informative articles to regularly provide a little slice of Château magic, sent straight to your inbox.

 

We are kicking off a new gastronomy series with this recipe from Paris-based chef Arthur Girard, who talked us through the steps needed to create his rustic salted loaf with figs and rosemary. Comfortingly warm and richly packed with flavour, this beautiful bread is destined to be a hit at brunches, picnics and get-togethers. The light tang of buttermilk combines with aromatic rosemary and juicy, jewel-like figs, finished with a sprinkling of salt to savour. A loaf for all seasons and occasions, this is the first of many delicious Château recipes to come.

 

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Inspiration for your wedding this Christmas season

Inspiration for your wedding this Christmas season

 

Winter weddings have long been associated with a certain magic – after all, they take place at a time of year that is already pretty special given the ongoing Christmas celebrations. However, it’s also true that every little touch or adjustment can help so much to make an already heart-warming and inspiring occasion even more so.

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10 French Traditions to Embrace at your Wedding

traditional french wedding

Getting married in France is a dream of many couples. This is in largely because of the many
fascinating wedding traditions that have contributed to the country’s reputation as the
epicentre of romance.

 

If, however, you are interested in not only tying the knot in France but also embracing the finest
French traditions for this most special day, here are some ideas that you may like to incorporate into
your own ceremony.

 

1. A non-bride-centric approach

To those familiar with the phenomenon of the ‘bridezilla’ – a term used in reference to brides
perceived to be self-centered and unreasonable – the comparatively little focus placed on the bride in
traditional French weddings may be surprising at first. French marriages tend to emphasise, instead,
the two families that are brought together by the union.

 

2. The wedding procession

One custom on a French wedding day is for the groom to approach his bride-to-be at her home to
‘collect’ her prior to the ceremony. As the bride, her father and musicians lead the procession,
children stretch white ribbons across the road to block their path. The bride cuts the ribbons to
allow her passage, thereby also symbolising her ability to overcome the obstacles of married life.

 

3. La mairie

This is a legal requirement that has effectively taken the form of a French marriage tradition. Those
wishing to legally marry in the country must be married by the mayor at a town hall, with the doors
remaining open to reflect the ‘public’ nature of the event and – traditionally – provide potential
objectors to the marriage with the opportunity to do so. The SmartExpat website provides more
details on the legal process of tying the knot in France.

 

4. The wedding armoire

A traditional French bride’s ‘wedding armoire’ is her cupboard or chest, which is to be filled with
linen or clothing – or to use the native term, ‘trousse’. Such items are often hand chosen and
embroidered by the bride and her mother with her married initials, and are meant to serve the
bride’s needs during her married life.

 

5. The grand entrance

It is the groom and his mother who typically walk down the aisle first to mark the big entrance after
all of the guests are seated. It is only after this that the bridal party arrives, including flower girls
scattering petals, boys carrying the ring and finally, the bride and her father. The couple then sit on
red velvet chairs for the exchange of vows.

 

6. La noce

This is a term covering all of the wedding-related festivities involving the wedding party and guests.
One tradition formerly involved the guests – or ‘noce’ – following the newlyweds to the various sites
visited on the day, such as the church, drink reception or dinner location, while making the
maximum possible amount of noise. Today, a car procession following the bridal vehicle – with the
horns blaring en route – is more typical.

 

7. La voiture balai

What can be directly translated in name as the ‘broom car’ serves the purpose of following the
bridal and guests’ cars between locations, to ensure everyone reaches the party safely. A quirkily
and unmistakably French vehicle – such as the Citroen 2CV – is often chosen for this role, and may
be heavily decorated with pans or tins that trail behind it during the journey.

 

8. The cake

Traditional French weddings do not have a wedding cake as such, but instead what is known as a
croquembouche, which essentially takes the form of a pyramid of balls or choux buns filled with
vanilla cream or custard, and held together with toffee. Alternative offerings may be chosen, such as
conical creations consisting of macrons or other French pastries. Paris-based wedding planner
Kimberley Petyt has provided further information on what you need to know for your own French
wedding croquembouche on The Good Life France website.

 

9. The champagne tower

Few French wedding traditions are more enthusiastically embraced by those from overseas than la
fontaine à Champagne! This extravagant sight takes the form of a pyramid of flutes or coupes, with
the Champagne being poured into the top glass and subsequently filling all of the glasses below. As
you might imagine, it is best advised to entrust the construction of such a tower to capable and
experienced professionals.

 

10. The fairytale chateau venue

There can surely be no finer French wedding tradition than the backdrop on which one ties the knot,
not least because this is so often a resplendent historic chateau, such as the extraordinary Château
Bouffémont in its enchanting setting of manicured French gardens.

When you seek the most unspeakably romantic chateau to rent in France for your special day, you
could scarcely hope to make a more tasteful choice than our own aristocratic property – not least
because we are also in such close proximity to Paris, the City of Lights itself.