chateau de castel novel

Photos courtesy of Château de Castel Novel








This site has been occupied since ancient times. (Excavations on the grounds have turned up Roman coins and pottery.) The oldest section of the castle is the round tower, dating back to the Middle Ages, when it was used as a military fortification.

The earliest mention of the castle in any document is 1289, when the castle was associated with the family of Pida of Castel Novel. During the Hundred Years’ War, the English captured the castle, but they gave it back nine years later. Castel Novel was once given away as a wedding gift and later sold for 2000 gold crowns. In 1500 Françoise de Beaupoil, the lady of the castle, married Gilles d’Aubusson, and the castle remained in this family for 350 years.

One of the more recent owners of the castle was Henri de Jouvenal—journalist, orator, politician, and ambassador to Rome. His wife, the writer Colette, wrote several of her novels here, and her influence is still felt.

Pamela’s Perspective

Twenty (plus) years ago when I wrote my first castle hotel book, I visited the Château de Castel Novel in a dirty car in the pouring rain, and I didn’t look much better myself having been on the road for months. A gorgeously dressed man holding an umbrella stepped out from the château, opened my car door, and told me “welcome.” I explained why I was there (I didn’t even have a publisher lined up yet), and was offered an aperitif, escorted throughout the hotel, and shown just the amazing courtesy. The handsome gentleman was Albert Parveaux, the owner.

I have loved telling this story at my shows for years because it is so typical of the wonderful hospitality you’ll find here.

Splurge a little more and go for a special room in the main château.


Château de Castel Novel

A 13th-century castle


19240 Varetz
Tel: ++33 (0)5 55 85 00 01
Hotel website
Reserve with

Fast facts

27 double rooms and suites
Some rooms are in an annex

Double rooms: from 102–282 euros
Suites: from 282 euros
Rates do not include breakfast
Packages available

Open: mid-April until end of October

Getting there

Varetz is a short distance northwest of Brive in the Dordogne region. Follow D-901, turn south on D-152, and follow the signposts to the château.

What to do

On site: tennis; swimming pool; golf (3 holes)
Nearby: canoeing; fishing; mountain biking; Dordogne (also see Aquitaine-Midi) region)


Yes. Inquire hotel for details.


Castel Novel is an utterly charming and romantic hideaway. From the time you arrive until the moment you have to leave, you are treated with every kindness and courtesy.

Each guest room is individually furnished with antiques and lovely fabrics. You’ll find a superb pair of carved wooden canopy beds in one suite, and in another, a tower room with stone walls suggests a perfect medieval hideaway.

A “Cottage” outside of the main château holds ten attic rooms with a slight mansard roof that are more simply furnished and less expensive—a good way to enjoy the hotel if you’re watching your euros.

You can dine in either a formal dining room with its grand fireplace, in a room with a charming painted ceiling, or outside on a French country-style terrace.

Something special

curlicueSuperb cuisine

curlicueLovely park surrounding the castle