Guainville, France

Domaine de Primard

Price per night from$390.55

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR360.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Bed of roses


Verdant Guainville

Domaine de Primard, a country-retreating spot a short drive from Paris, was once an 18th-century château filled with an insouciant assemblage of antiques. Now, the owners of the Domaines de Fontenille group have given the Directoire-style main house a more à la moderne makeover with licks of sage, navy and mint paints, pensive artworks and rolltop bath tubs. While the Jack Wirtz-manicured grounds (who’s previously pruned the Tuileries’ Jardin du Carrousel) – fit to an Ancien Régime template – remain as timelessly vie-en-rose as ever, encompassing an arboretum, kitchen garden, orchard, some resident highland cows and a garden with more than 250 types of roses. Plus a guinguette where champagne flows freely. And, the roll call of famed names continues, with a standalone Susanne Kaufmann spa and trio of elegant eateries with menus conceived by Michelin-star-spangled chef Éric Fréchon.  

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of Domaine de Fontenille wine. And book a 60-minute spa treatment; it’ll be upgraded to a 90-minute treatment (must be booked in advance)


Photos Domaine de Primard facilities

Need to know


40, including nine suites.


12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.


Double rooms from £337.31 (€396), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional room tax of €2.20 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates don’t usually include the Continental breakfast (€30 a person).


For those who crave some wilder encounters, a herd of shy deer also roam Primard’s meadows and there are plans to add more farmyard animals. And, it really is worth taking the time to stop and smell the flowers here – Jacques Wirtz wasn’t just concerned with aesthetics: each rose, perennial, peony and flowering tree was chosen for its harmonious scent.

At the hotel

Susanne Kaufman spa with four treatment rooms, hammam and sauna, gym, extensive grounds with a small farm, tennis court, paddle court, kids' club, guinguette bar, arboretum, vegetable gardens, orchard, plug adaptors to borrow, free WiFi. In rooms: minibar, tea- and coffee-making kit, bottled water.

Our favourite rooms

Reimagined in Rococo hues yet retaining their charmant original features (wood beams, Juliet balconies, parquet flooring), all Primard’s rooms are restful and refined. They’re spread out over the manor house (Maison sur L’Eure) and the estate’s former farmhouse. As the name suggests, the rooms and suites in the former have eye-catching views of the grounds’ bodies of water, while some in the latter have painstakingly tended private gardens.


The heated 18-metre pool – open from April to October – is set in a pretty and peaceful part of the grounds, sheltered by trim topiary, by the right wing of the main house.


The hotel holds the distinction of having the first Susanne Kaufmann spa in France, and they heed to her philosophy of complementing treatments with regional plants and herbs. Spread over 450sq m in a two-storey wooden chalet on the estate, serious pampering takes place here. The ground floor holds the sauna, hammam and hot and cold Jacuzzis. And on the upper level lie four treatment rooms (one for couples) and a gym, with top-grade WaterRower equipment. Plus there are secluded meditation decks set on the banks of the Eure and around the pond.

Packing tips

A large portion of your stay will be spent lounging in the grounds or by the pool, so bring some suitably Gallic tomes to pass the time.


Dogs can stay for €20 a night and you’ll get a little pet-care kit too. See more pet-friendly hotels in Guainville.


All ages welcome; the hotel has a kids' club, two strollers to borrow and the grounds are safe for little ones to play in, but they must be supervised near the river and pond. Baby cots or extra beds (free for under-12s) can be added to some rooms.

Sustainability efforts

The hotel’s vegetable garden runs on the principles of permaculture, and any other products are sourced locally, plus they recycle responsibly.

Food and Drink

Photos Domaine de Primard food and drink

Top Table

Come summer, pick a terrace to enjoy the grounds in full flower. Otherwise, the intimate nature of the Château’s Kitchen makes it all the more romantic.

Dress Code

Something Miss Deneuve would deem suitable for Églantine.

Hotel restaurant

There are two eateries, each masterminded by lauded chef Éric Fréchon and overseen by chef Yann Meinsel. Mirror-lined Églantine in the Maison du Verger overlooks the rose garden and orchard. Cuisine is steeped in nature – with many ingredients coming from the potager – and is informed by the Île-de-France and Normandy regions the hotel’s domain straddles. Expect wild-ride degustation menus and playful platings (with the odd touch of edible trompe-l'œil), where blue lobster comes with Versailles honey, cherry, almond and verbena; smoked-eel spaghetti and lemon cream is topped with Sologne caviar; or spiced sautéed sweetbreads are paired with candied lemon and gingerbread. Octave bistro is set in the orchard and has a terrace overhung with apple and cherry trees. It’s Anglo-Norman in style with wood panelling and exposed brick, and dining is a more casual, simpler affair here, but no less elegant. Try mackerel in white wine with horseradish and white asparagus with mint, or flame-grilled spiced duck breast, rotisserie chicken, steaks or giant prawns. A third dinner option is available for private dining at Château’s Kitchen, a Table d'Hôtes set up amidst the period fireplace of the Maison sur l'Eure.  This is a more intimate experience for two to 12 guests, where you’ll have a personalised menu and can watch the chefs fire up each dish at a huge Cornue stove. The Continental breakfast spread is laid out here too and pancakes or eggs are cooked to order.

Hotel bar

On the ground floor of the Maison sur L’Eure, there’s a cosy duck-egg-blue bar with velvet-upholstered seats and a wooden counter, plus terrace seating overlooking the river. Here barkeeps will mix you a chic cocktail or you can try wine from the hotel’s Domaine de Fontenille vineyard and different vintages of Veuve Clicquot. Those abstaining can enjoy a fresh fruit juice or fragrant tea with floral views in the roseraie’s greenhouse, and there’s more of the sparkling stuff served at a guinguette on a wooden deck over the river – a prime spot for sundowners with live music.


Last orders

Églantine opens Thursday to Sunday, from 12.30pm–2.30pm and 7.30pm–10.30pm; Octave opens daily and keeps the same hours. The Château’s Kitchen is open every day for dinner, but must be booked 24 hours in advance.


Photos Domaine de Primard location
Domaine de Primard
Route départementale 16, 28260 Guainville

Domaine de Primard is in leafy bijou commune Guainville in the riverine Eure-et-Loir department, just a 90-minute drive from Paris.


The easiest way to reach the hotel is via Paris; fly into Charles de Gaulle and the hotel is a 90-minute drive away. Alternatively, Orly Airport is just over an hour’s ride away. The hotel can arrange transfers on request.


The closest train station to the hotel is at Bréval, just a 10-minute drive away. It’s easily reached from Paris, arriving direct in 50 minutes from Saint-Lazare.


If you plan to simply wander amid Guainville’s greener bits and dinky villages then you may be able to get away with not having a car. But, being this far outside the capital, some wheels may come in handy for excursions to the Loire’s historic landmarks. To reach the hotel from Paris, follow the A13.

Worth getting out of bed for

Feel the soft grass underfoot, sit cross legged on a peaceful deck to meditate to the placid babblings of the River Eure, breathe in the intoxicating honeyed perfume of linden trees and 250 kinds of roses: Domaine de Primard is a place where urbanites can come up for air in the countryside. Star gardener Jacques Wirtz’s groomed topiary, parterre and flowering beds are all set for leisurely afternoons of laps in the pool, afternoon tea in the roseraie’s decorous conservatory, or gentle nature walks to see the resident animals (highland cows, Ouessant black sheep, horses and a pony) and diverse birdlife (white-fronted geese, teals, mallards, pintails, tufted ducks and more). The hotel can help with bike hire or arrange canoes for a paddle along the Eure, or they can help with fishing equipment and horse rides through the verdant surroundings. Guillaine is a picturesque yet peaceful spot which lends itself well to getting away from it all. Its biggest claim to fame is the ruins of an old château, but the Eure-et-Loir department is steeped in history, so there are impressive monuments to make a day trip out of: say, Chartres Cathedral, parts of which date back to the 12th century, where can you follow the meandering labyrinth pattern on the floor followed by pilgrims. Or the grand 16th-century Château d'Anet, just a 15-minute drive south, where King Henry II housed his mistress; intricately carved Évreux Cathedral; Vernon’s half-timbered houses; and, depending on how far you want to drive – and your tolerance for historic houses – the Loire Valley’s gamut of more than 300 châteaux. A 40-minute drive to the east, Giverny’s Monet-inspiring gardens will likely make an impression on you, and there’s a museum dedicated to the art movement he brought to many a wall. A 10-minute drive away, the Robert Hersant Golf Park has 18 holes set in lavishly landscaped grounds, and Rambouillet Forest is an hour’s drive away for those who simply want to wander – this was once the hunting grounds for King Louis XVI and it’s still magnificently green with, yes, another château at its heart.

Local restaurants

With a holy trinity of must-try restaurants at the hotel, with menus that beg repeat visits – and most local restaurants actually not too local – you’ll probably want to stay put. But, if your curiosity for French country dining gets the better of you, you could try Le Manoir d’Anet, just a 15-minute drive south, which has two very reasonably priced tables d'hôte menus with the likes of tarragon-oil-drizzled sea bream, sautéed duck breast in a blueberry sauce and bourbon-vanilla crème brûlée. Or book a table at Le Georges in Chartres (22 Place des Épars), where their signature dishes are locally caught brill or catfish from the Loire basin and a boozy Grand Marnier soufflé. 


Photos Domaine de Primard reviews
Ellie Pithers

Anonymous review

By Ellie Pithers, In-Vogue editor

At first glance, Domaine de Primard is the classic 18th-century château, with its elegant Directoire proportions, duck-egg-blue shutters and majestic moat. Surrounded by a 44-acre park, filled with centuries-old lime trees and bisected by the Eure river, it seems inevitable that this hotel’s grand rooms will be filled with toile de jouy curtains, gilt consoles and copious canine portraiture.  

It’s a surprise, then, to enter the petite entrance hall, which doubles as an informal front desk, and find ceramic snails crawling up the walls. Down a hallway with a ceiling boasting an installation of upturned dried flowers, the two living rooms and an adjoining bar beyond embrace a similarly offbeat aesthetic. Sculptural velvet sofas, Carrara-marble coffee tables and surrealist works by Paris-based artist Ethan Murrow lend things a sleek, contemporary feel. Dusty old manse, this is not.  

Still, Primard isn’t short on old-fashioned creature comforts. Afternoon tea was in progress when we arrived one wet and wild day in late October feeling frazzled after a rain-soaked drive from Paris. Within minutes, we’d been whisked through check-in to the country kitchen, where we were invited to load up on sugar-dusted madeleines and cups of Mariages Frères teas. Sinking into two pastel-hued club chairs by the fire, we exhaled and waited for the rain to stop. 

An hour’s drive from the French capital, the Domaine has a starry backstory: the estate was Catherine Deneuve’s bucolic bolthole for more than 30 years. Things have changed since the Nouvelle Vague icon held court here – the five-star hotel now has a Michelin-star-holding restaurant and a Susanne Kaufmann spa, while Deneuve’s fabled collection of Yves Saint Laurent couture has sadly departed the premises – but the sense of magic that first drew her to the property remains. 

Most of that magic is down to the exquisitely romantic gardens. It’s worth booking a stay to inspect the boxwood hedge alone. When the rain stopped, we headed out to admire it: shaped like a pavlova, in intricately clipped, undulating waves alongside sculpted topiary, it’s a mesmeric exemplar of the late Belgian landscape architect Jacques Wirtz, who was revered for redesigning the Carrousel Gardens at the Louvre. Today, Wirtz’s creation is overseen by Gérard Germaine, the same gardener hired by Deneuve over a decade ago. Germaine was given free rein by the new owners, the Fontenille hotel group, to plant hundreds of additional trees. Now spanning a potager, a rose garden with 250-plus varieties (some of which have spread up to metres high, flowering into the trees), a fruit orchard, a paddock of black Ouessant sheep and Highland cows, and a wildlife-filled riverbank, we could have spent hours seeking out the park’s hidden pockets of beauty. 
But, we had a massage booked. So, we headed up the sandy walkway to la Maison du Lac – the estate’s oldest building – within which we had been upgraded to a ground-floor bedroom opening onto a private garden. After a scout around – our room was pared-back and elegant, with a pleasingly rough stone floor, pale-blue-linen Pierre Frey curtains, and a huge bathroom with underfloor heating – we donned our dressing gowns and headed to the barn which houses the spa. Hoping to counteract chronic ‘laptop neck’, I had booked us in for his ‘n’ hers treatments: the Le Relaxant massage for me, the deep-tissue for Mr Smith. (Be warned: the spa fills up quickly so booking ahead is essential, as is booking separately for access to the Japanese baths and sauna.) After choosing a favourite Susanne Kaufmann oil, we succumbed to the kneading. When we emerged an hour later, fully unspooled, Mr Smith observed I looked 10 years younger. I felt it, too. 

Freshly showered for dinner, we headed to Octave restaurant at La Maison du Verger, another immaculately renovated but still suitably rustic building on the estate. The more informal of the two eateries on site (the second, Les Chemins, won a Michelin star mere months after opening, as well as a ‘green star’ for sustainable gastronomy), it’s heavy on the organic vegetables, with good reason: grown in the hotel’s permaculture garden, they bring fresh seasonality to the imaginative dishes. While Mr Smith made his way through the artichoke served with a chickpea vinaigrette, on the advice of the waitress, followed by the roast chicken, I devoured some locally-sourced scallops with root vegetables and a creamy vin jaune sauce. Next came chocolate mousse and a stack of local Normandy cheeses with plum chutney. We rolled back to our room and fell into our giant, supremely comfortable bed (an Epeda mattress with crisp Garnier-Thiebaut bedlinen, FYI).     

We woke up to more rain the next morning, but also a breakfast of smoked salmon, a hybrid baguette-croissant pastry and the lesser-spotted pink kiwi fruit (Google it…), fortifying us for a day trip to Giverny, and the former home and studio of Claude Monet. Even in late October, when the tour-bus and cruise-ship hordes were dying down, the place was humming. We took in an exhibition at the adjoining museum, then toured Monet’s bohemian house, filled with reproductions of his paintings. The buttery-yellow dining room with parma-violet doors was a highlight. Steeling ourselves for the selfie sticks, we ventured into the gardens and towards the famous water-lily pond. Though progress was slow, on account of endless photo shoots, taking in the riotously red and yellow autumn leaves reflected in the pond was pretty special. (Next time, we promised, we’d arrive 30 minutes before opening, which apparently guarantees a more seamless viewing experience.)

After butternut squash soup and more cheese at nearby eatery La Musardière (highly recommended), we headed back to Primard. Gérard the gardener had offered to take us on a guided tour; we’d also talked about taking a dip in the outdoor pool or luxuriating in the Japanese sauna, and I’d been scheming about a canoe trip, one of many activities the hotel offers. Plus there were grand plans for karaoke – because, yes, this 18th-century château has a karaoke room. But, with rain outside and the Domaine to enjoy for the last day, we decided to cancel everything and do the last of our stay in Deneuve style: sipping negronis by the fire.

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Price per night from $390.55