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Located in Provençal lands, not far from Aix-en-Provence, Château Virant is an unusual place. The rock that has watched over it since the Stone Age has a godly status in the owners’ eyes. Vineyards lay quiet over winter before bursting into life in the autumn, whilst the summer months cover the olive trees with white flowers. The estate lives and sways to the rhythm of the seasons, exposed to the sun and the mistral winds. Château Virant is not, however, just a place for quiet contemplation. The property is above all a winemaking and olive growing estate with a keen focus on the future and production. It is more ‘brought to life’ than managed or directed, a sense of spirit is at the heart of everything this passionate family does. They gladly open their doors to share their expertise and love of vineyards and olive trees. This thrilling discovery of the challenging work they do reveals a deep respect for the cycles of nature. If on holiday in Provence, do not hesitate to visit them. Their enthusiasm is contagious.
Château Virant is above all the result of family passions and adventures. It all started in 1974 when my parents, Robert and Noëlle Cheylan, bought this abandoned property. Their parents had been winemakers and olive growers for three generations. It allowed them not only to make use of their expertise, but also to begin their own story. Château Virant has almost 250 hectares of vineyards and sun-drenched olive trees whipped by the Mistral winds. It produces distinguished wines and olive oils. My parents gave this dry land an identity, whilst my sister, Christine, and I have gradually modernised it. The estate is still developing every day.
The vaulted cellars from the 17th and 18th centuries are undoubtedly the chateau’s most remarkable feature – they are located on the hillside amongst the vineyards and olive trees, overlooked by a majestic rocky peak. The 17th century sheepfold, which is now a reception area, also has distinctive dry-stone walls and arches. They are inspiring places, rich in history, which we have restored with great care. We wanted to protect the property’s extraordinary heritage whilst also adapting it to the modern day. This mix of tradition and modernity has come to define the spirit of Château Virant.
Known of since the Stone Age, the rock of Château Virant has lived several lives. It was once a place of worship and sacrifice before becoming a shelter and refuge for the population. The rock is intimately connected to the property’s lands, it is thought to watch over Virant and share its strength. After buying the chateau, our family named it after the rock – it is, after all, the true owner.
We offer guided tours of our estate, the wine cellars, the oil mill and the vineyard museum. Through total immersion, we help our guests to discover the history of Château Virant and our wine and olive oil trades. Highlight of the visit: the tasting (which always goes down well) of products from the estate. For nature lovers, we also organize walks through our vineyards and olive groves to the famous Château Virant Rock. Visitors reach a breath-taking panorama of the region and the Provencal mountains. Climbing enthusiasts or those on the more adventurous can even scale the rock.
The area is full of excellent restaurants and exhilarating walks. Truffle enthusiasts will enjoy the Cardine farm in Lançon-Provence. For foodies, I would recommend the Rabelais in Saint-Chamas and the excellent ice cream maker, Le Quillé in Miramas-le-Vieux. The Roy René sweet shop with unforgettable calissons in Aix-en-Provence is not to be missed. Guests couldn’t possibly leave the region without seeing the Flavian Bridge and Roman road that crosses the Touloubre river in Saint-Chamas. The same goes for the hiking trails in Sainte-Victoire. If visiting Marseille, we would recommend the Old Port and the Calanques. If thinking of taking a small gift home for friends, you will find some great ideas at the Marius Fabre soap factory in Salon de Provence, or at Les Temps Heureux in La Fare-les-Oliviers which offers carefully selected delicatessen goods.
Ideally situated in the heart of the Provencal countryside between Marseille, Salon-de-Provence and Aix-en-Provence, Château Virant is perfect for hosting seminars, conferences, press lunches and other business meetings. The two hundred square meters of the sheepfold can accommodate 120 seated guests, or more than 180 for cocktails. The terrace and the gardens provide a pleasant break between heavy meetings.
The Vineyard and olive tree museum proposes to reveal to the visitors the trade secrets of the typical products of Provence, the olive oil and wine.
Enthusiastically led by a member of the Cheylan family, the guided tours cover key areas of the estate (cellars, oil mill, etc.) and are a fun, lively way to discover the Chateau’s history and production. They include a whole host of interesting details and anecdotes and finish with a tasting of products from the estate.
Olive oil tasting The reputable Chateau Virant olive oil, which has won several awards, is a well established product. Christine Cheylan shares her experiences and her passion during classes with a sensory approach. Two options are available: initiation (one hour) or seminar (one morning). The amateurs discover the basics of olive oil tasting, the different tastes, the qualities, the defects, the various types of fruit, the work that goes into making a vintage, etc.