If you, like many of us, already feel you need something to look forward to in 2022, search no further. What could be better than getting boosted and donning an N95 and getting on a plane to take a trip to France, where instead of crowded hotels you can rent your own little slice of heaven? Perhaps, while there, you will ground yourself in the knowledge of many hundreds’ of years of history, both good and bad, that other fellow creatures not only lived through, but also made beautiful.
Indeed, an intimate acquaintance with history is unavoidable in a country with plenty of châteaux to choose from and where every building is at least a century old. France is marked by its history, from the time of the kings and queens, to its three revolutions, its political trend setters, artists, and more. In fact, it’s also a country that knows how to preserve its history, with actual laws in place to keep its historical beauty in tact for centuries to come. A true upholder of this tradition happens to be none other than French Airbnb, offering unique stays in properties with a story.
Take your pick from Julia Child’s home to Monet’s Blue House and even a medieval castle. We’ve compiled a Frenchly-approved list of historical Airbnb’s for one to stay in and indulge in French history.
What an impossibly delicious treat to stay at Julia Child’s Southern French home, where she lived and cooked. The inspirational space found on French Airbnb is a 3-bedroom cottage located on a manicured property in the French Riviera. “La Pitchoune,” as the home is called, was built by Julia and her husband Paul Child in the 1960’s and has hosted numerous cooking fiends over the years including some famous chefs. Today it also serves as the home of Okay, Perfect‘s cooking school. The property is available for rentals part time with ongoing cooking classes which go at $1500 per person. As a perk, the location features a large potager (vegetable garden) as well as a chicken coop for fresh eggs. The guests are invited to cook at the two (indoor and outdoor) kitchen spaces where the chef and author spent much time herself. We’re thinking dinner party!
There is something about staying where a great artist once slept that makes one think that maybe for a second we can approach their greatness and understand them on a personal level. This historic 12th Century apartment in the heart of a medieval walled village was owned and lived in during the 1940’s by the legendary French poet, writer and screenwriter, Jacques Prévert. The stone property is a beautifully crafted minimalist space with a medieval flair. It features two beautifully appointed en-suite bedrooms as well as ancient wooden beams, a huge open fireplace, and large vaulted-ceiling bathroom accessed through a mysterious tunnel. Finally, the true selling point of this home in the village of Saint Paul de Vence is its breathtaking vistas that look out directly onto the rolling hills of Provence.
Château St Victor la Coste offers a rare opportunity to stay at a privately-owned historical property without the corporate flair. And while this glorious property has always been quite the charmer, it gained its peak popularity of late when it became Airbnb’s most “liked” space with 76,000 likes. A true picture-perfect destination with a side of royal splendor, if you ask us! Take a retreat to this swoony 16th century castle and disconnect (as we hear that the wifi is flimsy in these thick stone walls) as you reconnect with the essence of regal Southern France. And while you’re at it, check out its little secrets: like the side garden door that leads to the little village and church. Provence at its best!
No doubt that Bordeaux is one of the most beautiful European cities marked by incredible architecture. One of such properties is this 1750’s apartment with stone vaulted ceiling and original wood parquet. In fact, it neighbors the oldest house in the city, which dates from the 14th Century (located at 4 Impasse rue Neuve) and the house of the late Jeanne Lartigue, the wife of the famous French political philosopher, Montessquieu, whose theory on the separation of powers was adopted by many nations’. And just like that, you can live within history, and walk out your doors into more of it.
Not to be confused with the Monet Museum in Giverny, where Monet lived, this house is just a minute’s walking distance from the museum and is surrounded by 1500 meters of garden space (in true Monet style.) “The Blue House (‘La Maison Bleue’) was purchased by Monet at the end of the 19th century because the garden was ideal to cultivate the vegetables he loved to cook,” explains the listing. His friend, the American painter, Guy Rose, eventually painted the home, above. Monet’s Blue House is characterized by blue doors, windows, and shutters against a white façade. Its interiors are cozy and authentic, offering true a true familial atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist-filled town.
That’s the thing about famous creatives, they like to get into the nooks and crannies like these Flinstone caves in the Loire Valley. Located just 2 miles from Amboise, where da Vinci once lived, these cave village homes are called the “troglodyte” properties dotted below the basin of the Dordogne. Carved into the region’s tuffeau rock, a green-white limestone, these were also used as secret hideaways and pathways for the regions royalty. Just miles away, the Loire Valley boasts some of the most incredible French castles, and yet just in the corner of the region are its equally stunning caves.
The Manoir de la Groye offers a glimpse at the typical French Renaissance architecture style with a flair of Tuscan touch. Located in the Anjou region, at the heart of some breathtaking southern gardens, the property is centrally located for the exploration of the region. Organic produce from the garden comprises breakfasts and dinners here and by renting this French Airbnb, one can easily visit castles, vineyards, museums and so much more on a single bike ride. How about that for a unique neighborhood?
When in Paris, pay attention to the Histoire de Paris plaques across the city as you can discover the most incredible spaces often sidelined by historic tours and books. The Hôtel Jean-Bart is one of these place in the Marais now available on French Airbnb. The courtyard last belonged to an old Parisian family called Fraguier, and now features a three-bedroom rental. Adorned with boxed Magnolias at the entrance, the true gem of this space is its grandiose interior and secret garden. Delve into true Parisian living at this old-school “hôtel.”
Stay within a slice or French history at the Château Pape Clément, a famed winemaker that has been producing wines and Grands Crus since 1252. Known to be one of the oldest Bordeaux Grands Crus, the estate vineyards were first established by Bertrand de Goth, who in 1305 became Pope Clément V, the name which was subsequently given to the Château. Wine connoisseurs consider this property as a true part of French heritage and history. The royal suite with a black Baccarat chandelier we found on Airbnb is just an introduction to this neo-Gothic-style château which is surrounded by close to sixty hectares (148 acres) of vines. Guests are invited to walk around the castle grounds, discover the botanical garden and observe an entire peacock tribe! How about that? And of course, wine tastings are available as well. You may be tempted to take home a bottle or…maybe a case!