This land of woods and water, forests and limestone appeals because of its beautiful landscapes. The natural potential, between hills and plateaux, marshlands and lakes, encourages the preservation of flora and fauna. The surroundings are crisscrossed with hiking trails, leading to places where nature’s treasures can be explored. Near to a large town, these ruins dominate a very old market town, once enclosed by walls. A rich, historic and, above all, medieval past is reflected in the houses, buildings and vestiges along steep, narrow streets, with their terraced gables, houses with corbelling, decorative features and age-old sandstone stairways, just waiting to be explored.
This castle, in a peaceful setting with a panoramic view over the village, looks down on the surrounding countryside and its grazing lands as well as the river valley and the nearby town. The main regional towns are less than 30 minutes away and the sea barely an hour. The French capital is about 140 km away.
The parallelepiped-shaped building, with round towers flanking its corners, was built towards the beginning of the 11th century, in keeping with a classical layout.
It was reconstructed in the 14th century and then completed in the 16th and 17th centuries. It suffered significant damage during the First World War.
Nevertheless, its vestiges remain impressive and picturesque.
The property is now subject to regular maintenance and restoration works, financed from public funds.
The site, spanning almost a hectare, has been classified as a French Historic Monument for more than a century.
Several famous people have visited or stayed here, such as a letter-writing baroness, a 19th century poet and novelist as well as painters and sculptors who created several drawings and engravings of it. All of which proves just what an inspirational site it is.
Featuring several openings, the ramparts and fortified doors are impressive. The drawbridge is no longer in existence.
The south door provided access to the main, strategic section of the fortress. It had two openings, side by side, each fitted with a drawbridge.
One gothic entrance is wider and was used as the carriage entrance, whereas the other semi-circular arched entrance was used for pedestrians. It was, moreover, through this one gateway that traffic between the two large neighbouring towns passed. The Lord’s men-of-arms could then control and claim turnpike money from travellers.
The west door is decorated with two coats-of-arms, set above the gothic arched passageway. Opening on the side, it only led to the lower section of the castle, to the inside of the ramparts and to the collegiate church. Situated away from the moats, and installed in a recess in the rampart, it had but one portcullis. It currently opens on to a village street which is a continuation of a stone stairway. Opposite was the site where the old parish church was to be found in bygone days.
The castle, collegiate church became the parish church when the latter was destroyed.
In addition to the actual fortifications, vestiges of the stately home, such as the kitchen, two cellars, the latrines, the prison and the pavilion, still remain and are still of particular interest.
Stairways and numerous underground passageways are also an invaluable source of information, together with the outside areas, the main courtyard and the parade ground.
A small garden in front of the pavilion was transformed, several years ago, into a traditional medieval garden with its four planted squares.
These ruins, filtering the daylight, stand on a hilltop. The initial feeling that they provoke is one of romance. These vestiges are, nevertheless, sufficiently numerous, eloquent and significant as to arouse curiosity and a hunger for knowledge, creating a desire to reconstitute the castle’s history. This site dominates its surroundings just as the lords’ once dominated the local population. It is well worthy of an ambition that ten centuries of trials and tribulations will not disappoint.
|Land registry surface area||10000 m2|
|Main building surface area||30 m2|
Bruno Van Montagu +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.