in 16 ha of woods and meadows, near Caen in the French department of Calvados
Paris is 240 km away via the A13 motorway. Caen, its large infrastructures and its airport, with flights to Lyon and the south of France, as well as its train station, with 2-hour links to the French capital, are 10 km away. The Channel coastline is some 15 km away. The nearest market town with local shops is a 4-minute drive away.
The origins of this noble estate date back to the 13th century, whilst the chateau itself was constructed in the 14th century. A high-ceilinged cellar, with ribbed vaults and corbelling, also remains from this era.
In the 16th century the chateau was greatly reconstructed: a main building and a rear building were set at right angles to form an L-shape above the cellar. Inside the corner thus formed, an extension houses the chateau’s Renaissance stairway. Whilst outside of this corner, a small building houses the chapel, adjoined by a polygonal tower and its stairway. It is topped with a small bell-tower.
In the 17th century, a narrow building was added to the end of the main building. This extension is composed of two square rooms flanking a terrace on both of its floors. Works were also undertaken at this time to decorate the vast bedroom on the first floor of the main building.
Major conversion works were carried out in the chateau during the 18th century. A majestic stairway was created on two levels in the main building.
In the 19th century, a long building, housing stables and a “charreterie” where carriages were stored, was built at right angles to the main building. Whilst inside the latter, the large room on the ground floor was transformed and became oval.
The entrance door set in the centre of the main facade opens into a vast hall, paved with cement floor tiles and housing the majestic stairway.
This hall acts as a link to a large, oval room, with a wide door opening on to a covered terrace. This was the dining room.
Moreover, one of the two doors in the entrance hall leads to a room, paved with stone, which contains a triple door supporting a large sculpted decorative feature. One provides access to the medieval cellar. The second gives access to the rear building via a hall area. And the third opens on to the Renaissance stairway. The second door in the entrance hall leads to a small room, with a cross-ribbed vaulted ceiling, laid out under the majestic stairway.
The hall area behind the Renaissance stairway not only provides access to the cellar and a room in use as a toilet, but also to the rear of the chateau, via a glazed door, and to the Renaissance kitchen, via a vaulted opening. The kitchen precedes a little corridor leading to a room, with a stone fireplace featuring a bread oven. Three openings lead, on one side, to an adjoining room, the wall of which is hewn with alcoves where loaves of bread were stored, and, on the other side of the fireplace, to the old latrines, that still have a packed mud floor and a stairway that goes to the other floors in this independent end of the rear building.
These rooms in the rear building were once the chateau’s utility rooms. Illuminated by large windows, their floors are paved with wide flagstones.
The majestic stairway goes up to a landing, paved with stone. It provides access, on one side, to a room in the main building, used as a study and illuminated via a large window. Its floor is covered with strip pattern parquet flooring, featuring inlaid marquetry stars. On the other side, the landing leads to the music room, the chateau’s emblematic room. In this vast room, on the opposite side to the fireplace and on either side of the glazed doors leading out on to the 17th century terrace, two openings lead, one, to a room with three windows, parquet flooring and arch moulding on the ceiling, and the other to a bedroom.
An intermediate landing on the majestic stairway provides access to the chateau’s living rooms, laid out above the 14th century cellar, continuing (notably to bedrooms) in the rear building.
Reached via the Renaissance stairway, the second level is composed, on the one hand, of large rooms in the main building and, on the other, of attic space in the rear building. The two large rooms are illuminated via hanging roof dormers, topped with curved pediments. The floors are either paved with stone or laid with strip pattern parquet flooring. A stone fireplace decorates a wall in each room.
Reached via the Renaissance stairway, the attic space above the main building comprises two vast adjoining attics. A high opening in the first attic provides access to the small bell-tower above the Renaissance stairway.
The Renaissance stairway
This stairway is housed in an aedicula adjoining the rear facade. This stairway, notably its stone railings, is richly sculpted and is illuminated via two large windows. This is a right-turning newel stairway, with a radiating slab ceiling, which has but one spiral. It leads solely to one door which opens on to a second smaller, less ornate, left-turning stairway. Its particularity is that of being offset in relation to the Renaissance stairway. It is part of the main building. Outside, it is topped with an impressive stone finial and decorated with gargoyles.
The Renaissance kitchen
Although the dimensions of this vast room are outstanding, they are overshadowed by the size of its stone fireplace that spans the entire dividing wall. The mantel is supported on two stone columns that delimit the central hearth and two side alcoves. The surface area of the fireplace is in the region of 8 m², making it one of the biggest in France. A second fireplace was installed inside this fireplace at a later date.
A dividing wall, together with two columns, has been added at the other end to this fireplace. The room thus created notably houses vestiges of the old well and its stone pool.
The music room
Restored in the early 20th century, the decor in this room is one of the chateau’s emblematic features. Its decor is concentrated on the ceiling, divided into nine sections, each comprising a canvas painting, enhanced with sculpted edges, and on a fireplace with similar features.
The artwork on the ceiling represents eight Muses, the ninth one appearing on the fireplace in the company of Apollo and Pegasus.
The floor is laid with Versailles pattern parquet flooring. The room is illuminated by large windows and, facing the fireplace, by wide glazed doors which provide access on to the terrace of the 17th century extension.
The living rooms in the chateau
A door leads from the majestic stairway to a panelled lounge and an adjoining dining room. Floors are laid with herringbone pattern parquet flooring. A door in the lounge opens on to a corridor which provides access to five bedrooms, a dressing room, a bathroom with a shower and a separate toilet, as well as to a shower room. A door in the dressing room gives access to the Renaissance stairway. A door in the dining room leads to a kitchen laid out in the chateau’s old chapel.
The old chapel
This square building features a flagstoned floor and a 7 m high ridge. It is crowned with an octagonal cupola supported on the walls and on four flat squinches with shoulder courses. It is illuminated by a large window, featuring a semi-circular arch. This preserved chapel, “one of the greatest Italianisms of 16th century French architecture” appears to be the oldest in France (J.M. Pérouse-de-Montclos).
The independent house in the 17th century extension
This house is to be found at the end of the main building. An outside stone spiral stairway, illuminated via oculi, provides access to the three levels. On the ground floor, the lounge walls have exposed stone lower sections. A large window illuminates this room, the two doors of which lead, one, to the terrace and, the other, to the kitchen at the back. A bedroom on the second level communicates with the music room, on one side, and a shower room, on the other. A second bedroom takes up the third level. A door on the top floor landing opens into a large room above the music room.
The independent rooms at the end of the rear building
At the end of the rear building, a door in a utility room opens on to a stairway that provides access to rooms awaiting renovation. The biggest of these rooms, spanning a floor surface area of approx. 44 m², is illuminated by four windows looking out at the horizon from four different directions. A few steps lead to two other rooms as well as to an attic room with a sloping ceiling.
The 19th century outbuilding
This long building, constructed in the 19th century is set at right angles to the main building. It was used as a “charreterie” where carriages were stored, workshops and staff bedrooms. Four of the twelve openings on the ground floor are carriage doors.
A flat, reached via the polygonal tower stairway, is laid out on the first level. It comprises a large room with an open-plan kitchen, a bedroom, a small mezzanine as well as a shower room and toilet.
This flat is above the carriage doors which open into a vast summer lounge.
The other section of this outbuilding houses a vast room with exposed beams and joists as well as exposed quarry stone block walls. This vast room is preceded by another room and its adjoining kitchen. A stone stairway goes up from this kitchen to a large room, illuminated by 3 windows, on one side of the first floor, and to two bedrooms, down a few steps on the other side.
The third landing of the polygonal stairway tower leads to the attic space above this outbuilding, illuminated by roof dormers featuring triangular pediments, and to a passageway on the other side, made through the wall of the main building, between the balustrade and an attic which continues to the end of the facade.
Other outbuildings are set out around a grassy courtyard behind the 19th century outbuilding. They are constructed from quarry stone blocks and are used for storage and workshop purposes.
Large lawns, planted with trees many hundreds of years old (oak, plane, walnut, lime and Lebanon cedar trees), surround the chateau. These verdant areas are set in the midst of small woods and groves, notably planted with poplar trees. The millrace, by the ruins of its mill, crosses the property and feeds the lake.
Well-concealed amidst its parklands, adjoining those of another two chateaux, this historic monument typical of the Renaissance period in Normandy reveals its richly sculpted facade. This is, however, but the first step towards other discoveries which come to light during a journey through the ages. Each era has its own mark or signature. Character features are as eloquent as they are numerous. There is no doubt that continuation of the restoration works will help to reinstate the equilibrium of this residence which can sometimes be glimpsed through the trees.
|Land registry surface area||16 ha 75 a 81 ca|
|Number of bedrooms||5|
|Main building surface area||1000 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||435 m2|
Brune Boivieux +33 1 42 84 80 85
NB: The above information is not only the result of our visit to the property; it is also based on information provided by the current owner. It is by no means comprehensive or strictly accurate especially where surface areas and construction dates are concerned. We cannot, therefore, be held liable for any misrepresentation.