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In a park crisscrossed with paths in the middle of the Angevin countryside, Écharbot has the allure of a large residence that has seen many ages come and go since it was born in the 17th century. The customs and ambitions of the owners have since made their mark on the property. The memory of past splendour, which the many salons and ballrooms make no secret of, is so present that it almost reappears during getaways or receptions in this well-preserved setting with a few contemporary touches scattered here and there to surprise you.
It was love at first sight when I stood before the chateau's gates. I embarked on the adventure of restoring the property in order to breathe life into a place that had been somewhat dormant for years. Echarbot (meaning scarab) alone is a symbol of restoration! The region also enchanted me with its beautiful countryside, architectural heritage and history.
The chateau already existed in the Middle Ages, but its current construction dates back to the beginning of the 17th century. It embodies country classicism with its farmhouses, symmetrical outbuildings and chapels. In the 19th century, a Minister of the Navy decided to implement a harmonious enlargement of the facade on the north side in order to create a ballroom and new rooms above for large receptions. Inside, a staircase with an ornate 17th century banister leads to the bedrooms on the first floor.
As the name of the commune of Saint-Sylvain-d'Anjou indicates, it was, at the very beginning, a forested land of knights with a seigneury and a coat of arms. The lands were used for hunting and there was a defensive castle linked to the Dukes of Anjou. The 17th and 18th centuries saw the arrival of advisers, secretaries and lawyers of the king, as well as canons, aldermen, procurators, squires and generals of the royal army. The Duchess of Sully would have also been there. Admiral Hamelin, Minister of the Navy under Napoleon III, first made an appearance here in the 19th century. Very interesting archives are available on site.
The property, imbued with serenity, has been carefully restored step by step with materials and tones that remain faithful to the 18th century. The interiors feature a unique mix of contemporary art work, 20th century designer furniture and high-end period furniture that creates a unique atmosphere and a new French way of life. The chateau is surrounded by lush nature. The two large paths leading to the chateau and the light at dusk and dawn add to the romanticism of the place. A letter found in the archives already celebrated this, a person who once stayed here wrote: "The land of Echarbot is one of the most pleasant that I know. A perfectly distributed park, an abundance of running water, magnificent plantations, and, above all, a soil so fertile that the vegetation is a force to be reckoned with... ”. The early morning and evening light are remarkable inside and out. The property also allows guests to immerse themselves in an artistic universe thanks to the painting workshop on site.
Although Écharbot tends to make us feel as though time has stood still, the region is full of spots that are not to be missed. Good local products such as Denéchaud honey can be found in Andard (some of the beehives are under the centuries-old lime trees of Echarbot); the nearby Stéphane Bourdillat chocolates; the biodynamic wines of the Coulée de Serrant made popular by Louis XIV, the colourful and original pastries of Artisan Passionné in Angers, tours of the Association of Parks and Gardens of Anjou's private gardens, and finally the flea markets including the one on rue Toussaint which takes place on the first Sunday of the month.
The 1000m2 chateau with twenty-one rooms, many outbuildings, and two chapels (one in good condition and the other to be restored) is perfect for filming and photo shoots. Its park and the surrounding hectares (meadows, woods, lake, canals, three paths lined with hundred-year-old trees, and fields) are also available. The chateau has spaces that have already been restored and some that still remain in their "original condition".