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Press Release

Auberge Resorts Collection Continues its Expansion in Europe with the Addition of Domaine Des Etangs, A 13th Century Chateau in Southwestern France

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (February 23, 2023) – Auberge Resorts Collection, the award-winning portfolio of one-of-a-kind luxury resorts, hotels and residences, has been selected by Garance Primat to manage Domaine des Etangs, as of April 2023. Located in the charming town of Massignac, the historic French chateau is situated just three hours by TGV train from Paris Montparnasse, near Cognac and  Angouleme, France and served by the convenient Limoges airport nearby. 

The 13th century castle, previously owned by Garance Primat’s father, the late French industrialist Didier Primat, since the 1980s, served as the family’s private holiday estate for many years and was recently transformed into a uniquely French luxury hotel and art de vivre retreat for discerning travelers from around the world. Conceived as a magical place to reconnect and find balance through a harmony of art, nature and an ancient taste of French country culture, Domaine des Etangs is as much a discovery as it is a retreat. Celebrating the picturesque landscape of the Limousin region, the estate’s stunning grounds cover 2,500 acres of preserved nature, spread between diverse forests, lush green meadows, gardens and lakes that evolve with the seasons. Reminiscent of the Primat’s back-to-nature family retreats, Domaine des Etangs is now a one-of-a-kind destination where guests will come to restore balance, reconnect to simpler pastimes and explore leisure, art and wellness in an exquisite natural setting.  

“As we continue our focused expansion in Europe, we are thrilled to add this magnificent and historic property to Auberge Resorts Collection’s portfolio of one-of-a-kind hotels,” said Dan Friedkin, chairman, Auberge Resorts Collection. “We are honored that Garance Primat has entrusted us to manage another one of her family’s properties that, like Primland in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is devoted to helping travelers forge a unique and authentic connection with its locale.”

From its origin as a fiefdom of the knights of Chasteigner de la Roche-Posay to its 1860s renovation as a family castle, Domaine des Etangs is emblematic of rich French history. In fact, King Richard the Lionheart passed Domaine des Etangs’ small moat bridge many times. When Didier Primat purchased the estate more than 100 years later, a series of major refurbishments were executed to restore the property to align with his deep appreciation for beauty, nature and the great outdoors. 

Today, Domaine des Etangs embodies the absolute best of French design, blending a world class restoration of an ancient castle and original farm buildings with a sophisticated palette of curated modern art and artisan architectural interventions. The juxtapositions are fascinating at every turn, and include a world class Art-Gallery experience in an old dairy barn, a wellness  space  that is built around the original works of the old mill building it inhabits, a Thermal baths pool house, conical spires of oak beams in the tower suites that spiral up over the beds for starry night views and charming multi-story rooms carved out of restored 18th century barns. Each showcases the layered, curious minded world of Domaine des Etangs. The property is a nature-filled sanctuary that offers a chance to slow down and reconnect with the old and new traditions of the exceptional French countryside. From the enchanting grounds to the ancient architecture, thoughtfully preserved to honor its history yet dutifully refurbished to enable modern comforts that appeal to the most discerning travelers, the resort was built in deliberate harmony with nature and the local terroir. From this otherworldly haven of raw beauty and coveted quietude, guests will also enjoy convenient access to explore neighboring towns—from enjoying a drink on the terraces of the charming French village of Massignac to shopping for porcelain in Limoges to touring the exquisite cognac cellars of Cognac and, farther south, the famed wineries in Bordeaux and Medoc.

Domaine des Etangs’ owner Garance Primat notes, “Auberge Resorts Collection has been managing Primland, our family resort in Virginia, for the past two years. Seeing them in action has given me the confidence to entrust them with the management of Domaine des Etangs. At the Domaine, nature is at the heart of everything, because our health depends on the health of the earth. Committed to preserving and respecting a balanced environment, the Domaine’s philosophy is built around an art of life reconnected to nature. I am confident Auberge shares those common values with me and that they will take good care of my beloved Domaine in the future.”

Accommodations harmonious with Mother Nature

Immersed in the unspoiled countryside, six generously spaced Metairie Farmhouse Cottages dot the property, offering coveted space and privacy. In addition to the stand-alone cottages, The Longèreor ‘long house’— is home to four multi-story suites, each decorated to reflect the seasons. Traditional wood beams and room-anchoring fireplaces create a quiet haven, while interior colors mimic those found in the surrounding nature. 

Inside the main Chateau, seven more rooms and suites are at once a luxurious residence and impressive stage for art—from photographic compositions by German artist Dieter Appelt to Hermes chairs and suitcases stacked as drawers by Belgian designer Maarten de Ceulaer. On the main floor opening to the gardens, three sun-filled lounge areas are designed with different guests in mind, including an art filled lounge for adults to socialize and a room with miniature bergere chairs designed specifically for children, while the Armagnac  Lounge invites age-appropriate guests to enjoy cognac and cigars. Upstairs, The Attic serves as a recreational hub for children and adults alike, featuring a large playroom equipped with lounge furniture, trunks filled with whimsical costumes and pool tables.

An abundant landscape for discovery and play

Outside the castle walls, the diverse expanse of Domaine des Etangs offers boundless opportunities to seamlessly connect with nature. The estate’s impressive gardens, curated by celebrated landscape gardener Camille Muller, spread far and wide, offering scenic views at every turn. Over six miles of walking and biking trails invite guests to hike and marvel at the surroundings, nuanced with the splendor of each season. Complimentary welly boots equip guests with the appropriate attire for unhindered exploration—from farm tours and rowboating on the pond to catch-and-release fishing and horse riding. A floating tennis court is also available for use on-site, while a nearby 18-hole golf course offers additional entertainment for all ages. For more relaxing recreation, a heated outdoor pool next to the Chateau is open May to September. A children’s play area, located between the château and the Chef vegetable garden, boasts three in-ground trampolines, a 50-foot zipline and a playscape with swings, slides, climbing structures and a giant chess board.

Culinary experiences celebrate living off the local land 

Located at the edge of the estate, Domaine des Etangs’ certified organic farm is home to more than 600 ginger-coated Limousin cows who peacefully roam the pastures, upholding a sacred heritage of the region and driving the resort’s farm-to-table ethos emphasized through its culinary offerings. The spiral-shaped vegetable garden that supplies Domaine’s kitchen celebrates only organic produce and practices and is managed according to the principles of permaculture. In the garden, depending on the season, guests will find a variety of aromatic herbs, edible flowers, root vegetables, leafy greens, stem vegetables, aster vegetables and fruit vegetables. Nearby, the organic orchard grows varieties of fruit used in the hotel restaurant’s dishes. 

One of the few fine dining restaurants in the region, Dyades is the keystone culinary establishment at Domaine des Etangs. Offering both indoor and outdoor seating, the 40-seat restaurant features refined French cuisine in an array of colorful dishes marked by local and seasonal ingredients. In addition to the products grown at the Domaine, Dyades strives to select the best producers in the region. 

Farmhouse Cottage guests may opt for private dining inside the comfort of their home, where meals are cooked by the chef, or for those who love to cook themselves, the hotel staff will happily supply ingredients. Daily breakfast is prepared by the Domain chefs in the Chateau’s dining room and evening cocktails can be enjoyed in Chateau’s three salons and library or outside overlooking Le Moulin. Additionally, chef-prepared picnics by the pond offer a simple yet serene experience in nature. 

The grounding nature of art and wellness

Art is a rich piece of the special harmony that defines Domaine des Etangs. From the curation of an on-site gallery and its world class exhibitions to the abundance of hand-selected works throughout the hotel, art in its various forms represents both an element of beauty and a stimulus for curiosity and discovery. Paintings, installations and collected antiques decorate the halls and walls of the estate, while more formal exhibition spaces, like La Laiterie and The Past and the Future Libraries, are dedicated to spotlighting unique works of art. 

A serene stroll across a stone bridge leads guests to a former mill by the water’s edge, which houses the resort wellness center, Moulin des Etangs. Inside this rustic refuge still outfitted throughout with the floor-to-ceiling hand-hewn cogs and levers that powered the former mill, guests will encounter five treatment rooms, including a triple suite designated for families to share in both relaxing and energizing wellness experiences. A robust spa treatment menu offers customized massages, facials and skincare remedies, as well as services tenderly tailored to little ones. 

Back at the Chateau, the basement floor offers a tranquil space to relax and unwind in Gallo-Roman inspired thermal baths, an indoor pool and frigidarium.  

A commitment to sustainable living 

The Domaine’s eco-conscious philosophy, evident through its important agricultural pursuits and sustainability measures, is shared with guests and thus translates to a deeper appreciation for the destination’s enduring culture and heritage. From its commitment to preserving and monitoring biodiversity to sustainable management of its forests and soils, use of local resources and reduced energy consumption, the resort inspires guests to participate in these principles during their stay. In every respect, Domaine des Etangs is a place dedicated to protecting and loving the environment.

About Domaine des Etangs, Auberge Resorts Collection

Domaine des Etangs, Auberge Resorts Collection is a 13th century chateau set on 2,500 forested acres in the Charente region in south west France. Once the private holiday estate of the Primat family, the property was transformed into a luxury hotel and art de vivre retreat in 2015. As of April 2023, Auberge Resorts Collection was selected by Garance Primat to manage Domaine des Etangs, which, from its origin as a fiefdom of the knights of Chasteigner de la Roche-Posay to its 1860s renovation as a family castle, remains emblematic of rich French history. The chateau embodies the absolute best of French design, blending a world class restoration of an ancient castle and original farm buildings with a sophisticated palette of curated modern art and artisan architectural interventions. The hotel features a renowned art gallery, a Michelin-starred restaurant “Dyades”, a wellness space built around the original works of the old mill building, a floating tennis court, a Thermal baths pool house and charming multi-story rooms carved out of restored 18th century barns. 

For more information:

Connect with Domaine des Etangs on Instagram and Facebook at @domainedesetangs

About Auberge Resorts Collection

Auberge Resorts Collection is a portfolio of extraordinary hotels, resorts, residences and private clubs. While each property is unique, all share a crafted approach to luxury and bring the soul of the locale to life through captivating design, exceptional cuisine, innovative spas, and gracious yet unobtrusive service. With 24 one-of-a-kind hotels and resorts, Auberge invites guests to create unforgettable stories in some of the world’s most desirable destinations.

For more information:

Connect with Auberge Resorts Collection on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook Twitter and at @AubergeResorts and #AlwaysAuberge.