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Medieval ruins have such a wonderful way of bringing the imagination to life. They certainly inspired some of the greatest artists of the 19th century. They offer a timeless subject that explores the erosion of time and the resistance which opposes it. The ruins here form a majestic setting with two former service buildings that have been transformed into a home. Surrounded by a preserved grove that longs to be explored, they are something of an ode to "retreating" and vacationing rather than combat. The two guest rooms upstairs quietly look out over the main courtyard where several famous figures have walked. In the surrounding area, the striking view of the chateau's remains (ultimate sentinels of the old times) will enchant history lovers and romantic souls alike.
It was a classic case of "falling in love", as our Anglo-Saxon friends would say. Twenty years ago, I was looking for somewhere that was not too far from Paris and Mayenne certainly offered this. I first invested in a property in southern Mayenne which I restored. One day in February, an unremarkable advert led me to the north of the department where I fell head over heels: a ruin from the Middle Ages, abandoned for ten years, with undeniable charm despite its deplorable state. The decision was immediate, I wanted to live here! Sixteen years later, I still feel incredibly lucky. The surrounding countryside is a dream: meadows, a stream, a green route and no immediate neighbours.
The château de la Chasse-Guerre is a retreat chateau, which may seem surprising in such a hilly area. It is well hidden from sight because it is located at the lowest point of the town. It origins date back to the Middle Ages. After reigning over the region for centuries, all that remains today is a 120m long and 40m wide fortified wall surrounded by moats on about three hectares of land. The entrance is a monumental doorway to the north in vermiculated stones, and a pedestrian gate that has replaced the old drawbridge. In the main courtyard, two elegant service buildings face each other with the ruins of the seigniorial building to the south. At the back, a promontory walk around a central garden proves just how splendid the ensemble would have been in the Renaissance.
The chateau was built around 1280 and rebuilt in the 14th century. Jehan du Logé, escuyer manceau, was appointed governor of the chateau in 1419. The lands later belonged to the Champagne family until about 1912. It was then the Count de Mérode's property, president of the Belgian Senate, whole sold the estate to a farmer from the region who harvested some of the land, sold other parts and rented out the buildings. Some famous people became owners by birth or through marriage such as Brandelis de Champagne, the marquis de Villaines, Talleyrand Perigord, the Comte de Choiseul who were all from the same family. Major restoration work led to significant changes during the Renaissance and the seigniorial building was burned during the Revolution. The chateau remained abandoned and only the service buildings were lived in after the 19th century. It had previously reigned over the five neighbouring communes. A pond, a dovecote, a mill and the main farm still remain as well as the many other farms, plots of land, the wood and a chapel.
We offer overnight stays in the two guest rooms overlooking the main courtyard. Located upstairs, the rooms are quiet with all the necessary amenities. In the evenings we invite guests to have dinner with us. The dinner is mostly made using produce from the garden or the local area. The meat comes from a nearby livestock farm and everything is cooked by us in an authentic and local style. Breakfast is served by the fireplace in the winter or outside in the summer if the weather permits. All the breakfast products are also homemade: bread, jams, yoghurt, cakes, fruit salad, etc. If requested by guests, it is always our pleasure to arrange an architectural and historical tour of the property. We are both passionate about architecture and history - my husband is a retired architect and I have a degree in architectural history from MIT University in the United States. Having restored the site ourselves, we share our experiences and expertise with enthusiasm - roofing, masonry, plastering, woodwork, gardening etc. Our guests are treated as friends as soon as they walk through the entrance.
Our guests can enjoy private tours of the Bernard Chardon museum and meet the artist himself. A book about the artist is available in each room and his work is displayed throughout the property. The museum contains some 3,600 paintings and in the summer a gallery with exhibitions of other artists is open in Lassay-les-Châteaux. We recommend our guests to visit the villages of Sainte-Suzanne, Jublains, Lassay-les-Chateaux, Ambrière, Mayenne as well as Bagnoles-de-l'Orne, the castle of Carrouges and the Maine Normandie Natural Park in the nearby department of Orne. For those who enjoy sport, we are happy for them to borrow our bicycles. The entrance to the La Francette cycle route (which is about 700km) that links La Rochelle to Ouistréam is about 200m from the property. Guests can also run, walk or go horseback riding along the route. A stable overlooking it organises horseback rides just 5km from here. There are plenty of small restaurants and we tailor our suggestions to the preferences of our guests. For those who want to relax, we are 30 minutes from the Bagnoles-de-l'Orne spa which offers body treatments, relaxing massages, relaxing spas, as well as a very active casino, a racecourse and a forest which is great for mushroom picking when they are in season. There is also a Michelin starred chef in Mayenne for food lovers.
75 € - 190 € per night
Both bedrooms are upstairs and have a shower room. Towels, dressing gowns and homemade cosmetics are provided. In exceptional circumstances and if requested in advance, it is possible for guests to reserve another room for two people and a large dormitory that sleeps eight with a bathroom - it would be well suited to a group of friends for example, or a group of hikers or riders. Given the exceptionally quiet and serene environment, there are no televisions in the bedrooms. A large library with about five thousand books is open to keen readers. The park is also open to guests who must be responsible for themselves when close to the moat.