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For a long time, the rhythmic work of machines and men (first millers then blacksmiths) echoed around this property and the banks of the Loire carried away the fruits of their labour. The hamlet, which once lit up the Nivernais countryside with its steel fires, is now experiencing life as a peaceful resort nestled between fields and forests, where the silence is only broken by the sounds of nature. The renovated buildings, still testament to their original vocations, now welcome guests in the warm comfort of a family-sized hotel. Right from the doorstep, on the border of Burgundy and Berry, guests can explore the heritage of these ancient provinces rich in history and varied landscapes.
As a teenager, I fell for the charms of the last wild river, the Loire, and the historical monuments which overlook it at La Charité. So I decided that this part of the Nièvre by the Loire would be my countryside and my forest. In fact, just a few kilometers away is a state forest of hundred-year-old oaks that spreads over ten thousand hectares. It was there, during the weekends, that I discovered an almost abandoned 18th century industrial facade for sale in the heart of a hamlet. I began to wonder what lay behind the name “Vache" and why a historic industrial building was surrounded by all this nature. I wanted to know the answers and save all the large buildings in this hamlet from ruin. It was like a premonition, a new opportunity and a new direction in my professional Parisian career.
I therefore set about discovering that the Renaissance manor house from 18th and 19th centuries was the former residence of the masters of the mills and then of the forges, that the 18th century outbuildings housed the stables, that the blast furnace and the partially collapsed ore hall form a perfect copy of the model steel buildings in the Diderot d'Alembert encyclopedia and that the two houses were used for the foreman and the bread oven respectively. The ensemble spread over three hectares of land including a park, a 19th century greenhouse, a very large slag heap and a stream know as “La Vache” which borrowed its name from the source located upstream in the forest.
The first historical research was etymological. Why was it know as "La Vache" (The Cow) if it was located in the forest? In vernacular language, cow means water (cf. Plateau des Mille Sources, Plateau des Mille Vaches). Water is at the heart of everything here, whether it be mills, industry, springs, ponds, waterfalls or dykes. The monks of La Charité therefore built mills here from the Renaissance onwards. Then, at the instigation of Colbert, significant investments were made to create steel units. They took advantage of the metalliferous and wood resources of the Bertranges forest and were scattered around the Forges de La Chaussade serving a virtually captive customer, the royal navy. The Forges de La Chaussade produced anchors for the navy which were transported along the Loire to Nantes. In the middle of the 18th century, Louis XVI bought the company and it became the Forges Royales de La Chaussade. It was then nationalised during the Revolution and all the buildings, including those of the La Vache blast furnace, appear in the first registry (Guillaume Perrin) exhibited in the Arsenal department at the Marine Museum in Paris. The last master of forges shut down the furnace in 1850 as the steel industry was being relocated to the north and Lorraine.
In this historic “here”, the "now" we offer is an ideal holiday resort that provides silence, scenery, renewal and human interaction thanks to the many different ways we can host our guests. Reorganised into a hotel building, without its architectural character having been altered, the Manoir du Domaine welcomes visitors into the discreet atmosphere of a large residence marked by charm and elegance. Old restored floors, oak and cherrywood parquet floors and terracotta tiles are enhanced by the cream toned walls showcasing a collection of framed canvases, landscapes or flowers, and are surrounded by a subtle mix of vintage and contemporary furniture.
The tour circuit offers guests the chance to discover La Charité-sur-Loire (a world heritage site and City of Art and History) the Royal Forges in Guérigny and the vineyards of Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire. The walking and hiking circuit (the area is on the GR 654, Vézelay route) features very beautiful trails through the forest and, on hunting days, paths through the Loire nature reserve. For food, we can recommend a few good restaurants such as L'Auberge de la Poule Noire in La Charité, or Le Chat in Villechaud with a very creative chef. Lovers of great chocolates should be sure to visit the Chocolate Factory with a tea room in the garden which is also in La Charité. Last but not least, in our village of Raveau, Daniel Pabion's cellar has some excellent wines from the Côtes de La Charité.
500 € - 650 € per week
There are two gites on the estate: La Cerisaie and Les Trembles. With a surface area of 90m2, La Cerisaie was once the caretaker's house and can accommodate up to nine people. The house consists of a living room, a kitchen, two double bedrooms, a triple bedroom with a shared bathroom and a private terrace with direct access to the park. Les Trembles was the former bread oven of the estate and can accommodate up to six people. It is made up of a living room, a dining room, a kitchen and two large bedrooms upstairs.
2400 € - 3000 € per week
With eight bedrooms, the house can accommodate up to sixteen people. The entrance is through a first large room which opens onto the dining room by a large veranda. The bedroom located on the ground floor has a bathroom, a vestibule and direct access to the private terrace. A staircase tower leads to two upper floors. On the first floor are five bedrooms, two of which can be adjoined and have an en suite. On the second floor are two bedrooms and a very large library with exposed beams.
Classical concert season, IMPROMPTUS, chamber music. One concert per month by reservation with or without dinner.
Temporary contemporary art exhibitions in the park.
The manor welcomes musicians, lyrical singers and plastic artists in residence all year round.