Medieval and modern perfectly blended
The interior has been beautifully decorated. The 19 bedrooms are all different, apart from those in the new extension beside the thoroughly modern outdoor pool. Rich decorations fill the rooms which are all different shapes and sizes.
You’ll find old tapestries of hunting scenes, ornate 19th-century style beds (with remarkably comfortable mattresses), wooden chests, and easy chairs with arms. The colors are an opulent mix of deep reds, chocolate browns, burnt orange. It’s full of quirky touches – odd frescoes of faded Renaissance beauties with huge eyes, niches in walls made into seats and old lamps.
The Alain de Codignat duplex which we stayed in was delightful. Push open the wooden door (complete with its own medieval spy hole), and there’s a bathroom to your left and a passageway leading to a two-storey sitting room. A staircase takes you up to the bedroom and a huge bed, writing desk and warm furnishing, the natural light coming from a small window set low in the wall looking onto the gardens. It made me feel exactly like Rapunzel looking for her prince.
Other bedrooms might have massive stone fireplaces and bathrooms carved out of the towers. The only drawback I found is the lack of showers in the main building. There are Jacuzzis but the venerable age and history value of the chateau means that the owners cannot install showers, so if you want a shower as well as a bath, book in the separate building beside the pool.
What to see and do in the Auvergne
You can use the hotel as a base for exploring a region where the air is pure, the skies are astonishingly clear and there’s plenty of hiking through glorious forests on the series of French footpaths known as randonées.
Nearby Clermont Ferrand has a marvelous historic old section, a cathedral, and a great Michelin museum (Clermont Ferrand is the home of the great tyre company). Venture a bit further west and you must visit Vulcania, easily a half-day excursion. Vulcania is a theme park taking you on a fascinating journey through the earth’s phenomena, from volcanoes to earthquakes, with films and interactive displays. Lyon lies to the east with its rich history, old streets and museums.
Chateau de Codignat Essentials
Tel.: 00 33 (0)4 73 68 43 03
Relais & Chateaux Member
Price Band: $$$-$$$$
What this means Extras: Cooking classes, swimming pool, tennis, karting, private plane flights, biking, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, baby sitting, helipad, dog friendly
Closed: 1 November to late March
Next: Read a Review of the Restaurant at the Château de CodignatAs is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation for the purpose of reviewing the property. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.