an outstanding, listed castle and its 1,143 hectare forest estate
About an hour’s drive to the south of Nancy via the main road or A31 motorway.
2¼ hours from the city of Luxembourg, 2½ hours from Strasbourg, 3 hours from Basel, 3½ hours from Paris by car.
1½ hour TGV train links to Paris via Nancy from Neufchateau station 3 km away.
Metz-Nancy airport, with several regular daily flights, is 1¼ hours away.
Épinal-Mirecourt airport for all private and business flights is 40 km away.
5 km from a civil aerodrome with a grass runway.
It is possible to land a helicopter in the castle’s parklands.
The historic Domrémy (Joan-of-Arc’s native village) and Grand (with its surprising Gallo-Roman site) are but a few kilometres away.
The nearby small historic town of Neufchateau has all shops, schools and administrative amenities (a hospital, supermarkets, a sixth form college and an SNCF train station).
The spa town of Vittel and its international golf course are 37 km away.
The castle comprises two wings of buildings that form an almost perfect L-shape: one east-facing facade, looking down on to a small rural village, dominates the entire valley and displays four extremely elegant, round towers with candlesnuffer roofs to the surrounding area. A large corner tower links the east-west-facing wing to another wing facing north-south which features vast ground floor windows opening on to the parklands and the main inner courtyard. Two other lower, round towers, used as accommodation for the caretaker, complete this north-south wing.
Thus delimited by the north and west facades of the castle’s two wings, the main courtyard provides visitors with access to the building, after they have followed one of the alleyways through the vast parklands which surround it on all sides. This west-facing courtyard was redesigned at the end of the 1930’s by Achille-Duchêne, a famous landscape gardener specialising in French formal gardens, who created the lawns and the peripheral topiary boxwood trees. A magnificent lime tree adorns its centre and its north side constitutes a terrace which has an exceptional view of the Meuse hills, the village of Domrémy and the surrounding grasslands where Joan of Arc, known as “The Maid of Orleans” grazed her sheep.
The east-west-facing wing, and more especially its east facade, features the alignment resulting from the 16th century works. The facade stretching from the corner tower includes three other towers, two of which are in the centre and flank a large door topped with a triangular arch. Three wrought, Renaissance-style balconies adorn the door, the facade and the large tower. The windows on this facade, of various shapes and sizes, are for the most part richly decorated.
The opposite side has a succession of three buildings. The first, on the left-hand side, is flanked in the centre by a stairway turret, built outside the fabric of the carcass, with, on its right-hand side, a chapel, the Chapel of Saint-Vincent, from the Renaissance era with its door topped with a recess and a richly decorated gothic arched opening. The main building is set back in relation to the two others and comprises a semi-circular arched entrance door that opens into a through vestibule, connecting with the large door on the east facade. Lastly, the building on the right-hand side is higher than the two others and is characterised by an outstanding Renaissance porch way, topped by a semi-circular arch, which houses the access door to the large corner tower, providing access to the castle’s two wings.
The north-south-facing wing is plainer in appearance with wide arched openings on the lower level of the south side and a succession of French windows, on the north side that open on to a narrow terrace, running the length of building and looking down on to the main courtyard. Two round towers flank the end of the building and thus contribute to the architectural coherence of the building.
Numerous decorative features (wrought stonework balconies, wrought mullioned windows, a triangular arch above the door, an oculus, loopholes at the foot of the towers, arched arcades) as well as stylish openings of varying sizes adorn the facades. The roofs, featuring flat tiles alternated with Angers slate on the towers, provide colourful views and impressions that change with the light throughout the day.
At the foot of the east facade, a terrace-alleyway planted with lime trees looks down on to a vegetable garden with a greenhouse dating from the “Belle Époque” and a French formal garden that was also designed by Achille-Duchêne, where it is possible to stroll whilst appreciating the exceptional panoramic view of the Meuse Valley.
Vast parklands, enclosed by fencing and spanning approx. 85 ha, extend around the castle. They are composed of various deciduous species of trees and vast grasslands that are steep at the sides of the buildings and flat in the continuity of the castle, set on the highest point of the promontory on which it is built.
Miscellaneous outbuildings (stables, former sheepfold, dovecote and wooden farm shed) are to be found in the parklands, all bearing witness to the way of life of a big castle. There is also a mountain-style chalet.
On either side of the chalet are a swimming pool and a tennis court, constituting much appreciated leisure areas.
The castle stands in the middle of its large parklands at a distance from the neighbouring rural village that it looks down on. Behind it, and on all sides of the surrounding hills are vast, game-filled forests, composed of various species of deciduous trees. At the foot of the castle, the Meuse Valley and the small adjoining valley are dotted with pastures and ploughed fields. There are no nuisances to disturb the peace and quiet.
All the castle’s facades and roofs are included on the French Historic Monument list, together with the Chapel of Saint-Vincent and the French ceilings in the first-floor lounge.
Such a listing makes it possible to benefit from some interesting tax advantages and grants.
One section of the parklands (32 ha) is governed by a Simple Management Plan supervised by the French Forestry Commission; it is therefore subject to forestry tax laws.
The building spans a total floor surface area (excluding attic space and attics) of more than 2,000 m². It comprises three levels, two of living space and one of attics and attic space, with the exception of the section of the east-west wing that adjoins the large corner tower and comprises three levels of living space.
The state rooms and most of the bedrooms are on the second level (1st floor) whereas the ground floor, apart from the Chapel of Saint-Vincent, comprises the utility areas (boiler room, laundry room, linen room and cellars under the towers), vestibules providing access to the first floor, a 4-roomed flat, a vast reception room in the north-south wing and, lastly, accommodation for the caretaker at the end of this same wing.
This large castle therefore has a total of 5 lounges, a library, 2 dining rooms, a large reception room, 16 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and 2 kitchens (excluding the caretaker’s lodge).
This castle is accessed via the large, through vestibule in the centre of the east-west wing. It contains the monumental stairway that leads to the rooms on the upper floor. In the corner of the courtyard, under the large, Renaissance -style porch, a door provides entrance to a self-contained, 4-roomed flat in the east-west wing and, on the other hand, to the rooms in the north-south wing predominantly comprising the old orangery. The latter has been transformed by the current owners into a vast, bright, through reception room (133 m²) with its wall coverings, its limestone flagstones and its French ceiling. This is followed by a linen room and the caretaker’s lodge which take up the floor surface areas through to the end.
A majestic winding stairway, with three intermediate landings and wrought iron railings, leads from the large, through vestibule in the east-west wing up to numerous state rooms on the first floor. It opens initially on to a landing and a gallery dubbed the “music room”.
The landing provides access, on the left-hand side, to a large lounge, with its listed, painted, French ceiling, followed by a dining room, also of a good size, partially decorated with painted panelling, adorned with scrolls featuring musical motifs. The main asset of the great lounge is its double aspect, facing west over the courtyard and east over the Meuse Valley, which makes it extremely luminous all day long and provides superb, dominant views of the surrounding panorama.
Following on from the dining room are several large rooms that form a self-contained flat with, in particular, another large lounge, a study decorated with old panelling and overlooking the main courtyard, four bedrooms and their bathroom as well as a vast kitchen that takes its rounded shape from the tower in which it is housed. With its own central heating system, this flat makes it possible for the owners to live comfortably in the castle during the colder months without having to heat the entire building.
The gallery provides access to all the large rooms on the right-hand side of the central monument stairway.
The first is a vast library on two levels where a small concealed stairway provides access to the shelves on the upper level. The light-coloured oak wood of the shelves and an impressive Renaissance-style fireplace both illuminate and decorate what is also a reading room.
This is followed by the lounge known as the “Anglure lounge”, with its impressive wall panelling, its French ceiling with decorated beams and its polychrome fireplace. The next lounge, dubbed the “brown room” is also completely lined, including its fireplace and its mantelpiece, with the warm hues of its Hungarian oak wood panelling. As in all the preceding rooms, herringbone pattern parquet flooring enhances the decor. All these rooms are also east-west facing, through rooms with outstanding luminosity and, of course, views over the parklands, on one side, and the valley on the other.
This last lounge, which marks the end of the east-west wing, provides access to the landing of a stone 16th century stairway, located on the corner of the castle’s two wings which leads down to the ground floor on the courtyard side, up to the floor above and to the 1st floor in the north-south wing.
This wing comprises a suite with 5 superb bedrooms, all facing south and enhanced with bathrooms. A wonderful, long gallery provides access to said bedrooms and also, at the end, to a dining room and a large kitchen.
Only the building forming the east-west wing, adjoining the large corner tower, has a third level of living space; 4 large bedrooms and 2 bathrooms compose the floor surface available here and provide further accommodation possibilities.
Built during the Renaissance period, the Chapel of Saint-Vincent, with its flamboyant Gothic style, constitutes one of the oldest sections of the castle. It was later encompassed in the structure of the north-south wing rebuilt in the 16th century. Illuminated by a wrought gothic opening, it is adorned inside by numerous statues and houses the grave slabs of the Anglure family.
The so-called “Good Samaritan’s chalet” was built in the 19th century by the Princes-d’Hénin in the same style as a mountain chalet. Its name comes from an old, nearby wash-house topped with a superb, 16th century sculpture representing the parable of the Good Samaritan giving Christ a drink. With modern-day home comforts, it spans two levels and includes, upstairs, a flat with 3 bedrooms, a lounge, a dining room, a kitchen and 2 bathrooms and, on the ground floor, a surface area set out as a pool-house with a changing room and shower, used by those playing tennis or taking a swim.
A vast brick building, once used as a sheepfold, stands in the middle of the parklands. It could be used for storing the equipment required for maintaining this vast estate.
There are also stables, storage areas and a wooden farm shed.
The swimming pool
The heated swimming pool, complete with its safety cover, on one side of the chalet can be used in clement weather. On the other side, a tennis court with a hard, somewhat worn surface is ready for tournaments held amongst family and friends.
The gardens surrounding the castle have the particularity of having been designed by Achille-Duchêne, the famous 20th century French landscape gardener and fervent admirer of André-Le-Nôtre, who championed the revival of the French formal garden. Much in demand, he was responsible, amongst other things for the renovation of the gardens of Château-de-Vaux-le-Vicomte. He created the garden in the main courtyard and the French formal garden located below the terrace at the foot of the east facade. Divided into three sections, a vegetable garden and its “Belle-Epoque” greenhouse, a large parterre and another smaller one, all bordered with lime and topiary boxwood trees on three sides with a wall on the fourth side where apples trees are trained along espaliers. The overall view from the castle’s reception rooms and the terrace constitutes a landscaped decor featuring great classical, harmonious elegance with the horizons of the Meuse Valley in the background.
The 85 ha parklands are enclosed by fencing and surround the castle on all sides. They comprise vast grasslands, interspersed with copses and bordered by some 32 ha of woods. Several tarmac lanes wind their way across the property, making it possible to cross it to get to the three access gates located on its various sides. Numerous tall trees of noble species are to be seen as are the roe deer that come to graze in the pastures.
The forest estate
A varied estate, spanning 1,143 ha, predominantly divided into three main forest tracts:
- A first tract, spanning 350 ha, following on from castle’s parklands.
- Two adjoining tracts, spanning a total surface area of 182 ha, laid out as an extension of the first tract.
- And lastly, the biggest of the tracts constituting the estate, spanning a surface area of 450 ha, just a few kilometres from the castle, on the other side of the valley that runs alongside the first two tracts.
The forest region, that of Lorraine’s limestone plateaux, is renowned for its first-class deciduous trees. Here, oak, beech and other high-valued hardwood trees make up most of the forest stands. Heritage of successive generations of foresters, this estate has been carefully managed to ensure the continuity and good development of its forest stands. Consequently, all age classes are represented. Such management has also resulted in a specific, well-designed and maintained set of tracks. The relief, composed of plateaux and slopes, makes it possible to move products throughout the estate without any major constraints.
In addition to the three main forest tracts, this property also includes five other tracts spanning surfaces between 17 and 60 ha.
The breakdown of the estate’s forest stands is as follows:
- light deciduous seedling forest: 34%
- Natural ingrowth and sapling stands: 27%
- Dense deciduous seedling forest: 21%
- Deciduous pole stand: 8%
- Resinous pole stand: 4%
- Resinous seedling forest: 3%
- Mixed seedling forest: 2%
- Tree plantation: 1%
A detailed presentation file, itemising each tract, can be obtained on request.
The hunting grounds
Wild life is abundant in the midst of the estate, animals are frequently to be seen, sparking rife emotion. The layout of the grounds which includes the chateau’s enclosed parklands is particularly well-suited to hunting. The estate, for instance, is home to a large population of wild boar as well as roe deer and the parkland meadows form a habitat conducive to small game. The two forest tracts following on from the chateau’s parklands, together with the latter, span almost 620 ha. With the chateau’s 85 ha of enclosed parklands, alternating large meadows with sparsely wooded copses, residents can devote themselves to the hunting of small game. The plots of forest on the edge of the parklands also shelter roe deer. The enclosed section does not harbour any wild boar, but the two forest tracts extending the parklands does and the hunting plan for the current 2019-20020 season comprises 61 wild boar and 24 roe deer. Culling of roe deer has been stable for ten or so years and varies between 20 and 30 animals per season. Wild boar culling is very often subject to a new request during the hunting season, hence the total cull for last season was 92 animals. Furthermore, the first hunting estate features a superb hunting lodge which stands in the centre of the tract. Vast, it can accommodate up to 20 hunters or beaters for meals. Electricity is laid on and its kitchen is big enough to be converted so as to provide pleasant convivial moments. The second forest tract, spanning 450 continuous ha, makes it possible to organise beats in complete safety. The numerous rectilinear pathways and varied forest stands form an ideal habitat for big game. These grounds also include an old hunting cabin. Without electricity, it awaits reconstruction on the southern edge of the forest tract. A cooler, more secluded depression in the centre of the tract encourages the proliferation of wild boar, resulting in a continual increase in culling which has totalled more than 40 animals over the last three years. The relatively stable population of roe deer has led to the culling of 6 to 8 animals in the same time period. And lastly, culling on the small peripheral tracts that complete the estate has totalled some 7 to 8 wild boar and 4 to 5 roe deer. The two main forest tracts are currently rented to two different local teams, but the grounds will be free of any tenancy agreement on the day of the sale.
This is without doubt one of the most beautiful castles in all of eastern France and it has all the assets that one could wish for in this type of building: a dominant position with an exceptional panorama, a vast stretch of surrounding parklands, an interesting wealth of architectural features bearing witness to the history of France, a comfortable and good general state of repair as well as absolute peace and quiet.
A castle that can be seen from a very great distance, it is a symbol of the region that it dominates for as far as the eye can see.
It is one of those castles that demands admiration and respect.
To be able to lay claim to living in such a monument is an incredible opportunity that only its future owners will have the chance to fully appreciate.
But it is not simply a matter of being able to afford it. Its new owners will have to want the best for it, know how it should be lived in as well as prove that the new page of its future history will recount a peaceful 21st century.
This castle is not and never will be a property like any other as it is one of those castles that, throughout the centuries, come but rarely on to the market.
|Land registry surface area||1228 ha 34 a 14 ca|
|Main building surface area||2000 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||1000 m2|
Gilles Larosée       +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.