escaping eco-style | les sources de cheverny

It’s a new year. The world is on fire, climate change is real and travellers are becoming more eco-conscious. So what better way to start 2024 with a zero-guilt destination?

A couple hours out of Paris is a wild little eco-escape whose whole M.O. is fostering a relationship with Mother Nature and (quite literally) living off the land. Hidden in the Loire Valley, among 110-acres of lush forest, lies the surreptitious Les Sources de Cheverny. Arranged like a fairytale microstate, there’s a bit of everything. Scattered over the ancient forest is an 18th-century French château (with turrets, gothic windows and all) and just beyond it lies a small hamlet of elegant wooden Scandi-style cabins, grouped around a lake.

This luxury sanctuary hidden in the woods is low-key but big on green morals. As soon as you make your way up the winding road leading to the estate, there’s rows upon rows of pastel bicycles by the reception for guests to use to make their way around the grounds and visit the nearby town and neighbouring vineyards.

There are two places you can choose to stay in. There’s the 18th-century Château de Breuil, which is great if you like more traditional creature comforts. The vibe is very English boarding school-esque with salons filled with gilded mirrors and antique knick-knacks. Well-loved leather armchairs are scattered about in corners to sip tea and read or put on some old vinyl records (yes, it’s old-school here). Tables are also set up for chess and backgammon and there’s a vintage pool and foosball table.

But if you want to fully immerse yourself in the green-chic vibe, the rustic Scandi-style dark wooden cabins are spacious and bright and have their own little porches looking out to the grounds. Don’t be alarmed if you wake up and see a horse looking through your window—it’s all part of the experience.

It’s not all being at one with nature and chilling in the woods, however. There’s a gorgeous Caudalie spa attached in one wing of the Château. With hand-painted murals, gorgeous decor and an offering of signature Caudalie treatments (massages are a must, here). There’s also an indoor and outdoor pool and wooden hot tubs all set in the forest.

Similar to the accommodation, in terms of food offerings, there are two restaurants. And the food here is excellent. Like everything else at the retreat, working with Mother Nature is de rigueur. The majority of ingredients are sourced between the Sologne forest and the gardens of the Loire Valley, so dishes reflect the local earth as everything—all down to the tiniest herb—is locally sourced. Les Sources de Cheverny even produce their own honey—hives can be found nestled in the grounds among the estates’ own horses, goats and chickens.

Both housed in traditional stone houses, there’s the Michelin-star restaurant Le Favori (headed by chef Frédéric Calmels) and the more casual L’Auberge. L’Auberge gives rustic bistro vibes and is ideal for lunch or when you’re hankering for some hearty comfort food. Set in an old stone farmhouse building with wooden beams and vintage tapestries hanging against the walls, there’s always an open fire burning where chefs cook, roasting anything from fillets of monkfish to cauliflower to pork loins. The atmosphere is super cozy and very nostalgic.

The Michelin star Le Favori is more for date nights and evening schmoozing. It’s all about experiencing a culinary journey to the Loire Valley and dealing in direct contact with nature—the chef himself picks herbs and mushrooms from the hotel’s land. There are some gorgeous fish and game dishes paired with experimental sauces but most dishes are very vegetable and plant-based. Unlike the usual butter-rich French fare, dishes here are exciting and unique with an array of super-unique herbs, spices and sauces in use.

A unique green bohemian escape, Les Sources de Cheverny expertly mixes elegant countryside estate with wild woodland quirkiness and proves that luxury travel and being kind to the planet can go hand-in-hand.

Book your stay at Les Sources de Cheverny at

words + photography. J. Bibi Cooper

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