STAY IN A ROMANTIC HILLTOP CHATEAU IN FRENCH CATALONIA

CHATEAU DE RIELL | MOLTIG-LES-BAINS, FRANCE

[MOLTIG-LES-BAINS, FRANCE] — So, here I was last April sitting in Skoura, an oasis town in Morocco, and I had to make a choice.

Fed up with my stupid job, I’d quit and left for a little sabbatical for a month in Portugal and Morocco. My plane to the States left the next day, but I wasn’t ready to go back. So I cancelled it.

I flew back to Barcelona, walked up to the Hertz desk and asked “Can I rent a car for a long time? Like two months?” “Si!” So they hooked me up with a sweet little upgraded BMV and I headed towards the Pyrénées.

I had no plans, no goals; just no big cities, only small towns. Places I’d never been. My compass was a triangulation of Relais & Chateaux and TabletHotels, leading the way down the autoroute and AutoGrills toward whoever had open reservations.

And a nice pool.

After jumping rocks and eating lamb in the Spanish Pyrenees,  I rode the toboggan ride road down the Gorges de la Castellanerel into France, hooked a left and headed North.

That’s how I ended up here.

Moltig-les-Bains, a famous Old School spa town were people have been coming to “take the waters” for generations.

Driving around the gorges and canyons tucked between these gentle green mountains, you see one road sign after another leading to towns with names ending in -les-Bains.

“The baths.” Something’s goin’ on under these mountains…

Chateau de Riell is located in one of those Les Bains. Moltig-les-Bains, a famous Old School spa town were raisins have been coming to “take the waters” for generations.

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Ya know, I undershot the landing at this peaceful place. Found it and booked only days before and I shoulda stayed more than a couple of days.

Heck, the hotel has its own beautiful spa I never got to dip a toe into. And never got to explore the surrounding mountains… because, you know, all the napping and all.

Plan on three days, minimum to really sink into the mellow spring vibe. Oh, also, during the shoulder seasons, that great restaurant is only open certain days of the week, so time accordingly.

Last visited May 2015

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