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High up at the edge of the village, this old keep and its outbuildings sit like an immutable sentry gazing over the arid lands of the Vivarais and the distant Ardèche below. Despite this defensive appearance inherited from the Middle Ages, a resolutely modern lifestyle has taken hold behind the walls. Simplicity and sophistication have found their way into every corner. The complete tranquillity that emerges is made all the more striking by the lush nature and rare plants that surround it. At the Château d’Uzer, time has not quite come to a complete stop, but it flows as gently as the spring water that quenches the garden.
We were searching for a place to create our guest house for a long time, we wanted a property we could restore, taking care to preserve its authenticity. For at least three years, we travelled around the Gard, the Vaucluse, the Bouches du Rhône, the Drôme Provençale and unearthed extraordinary places that corresponded, beyond our expectations, to our needs. The bankers, however, were less cooperative, and it was a little out of spite that we found ourselves at the château d'Uzer in Ardeche one morning in January. The house had already been restored and was also a guest house. It suddenly became obvious that we had found the place for us - a house that radiated positive energy, comfort and well-being! We bid farewell to the restoration project, the creation of a guesthouse, Gard and the Bouches du Rhône! The southern Ardèche, between Provence and Cevennes, is an extraordinary region. It is well preserved, full of charm and combines rivers, garrigue and mountains (and that's just the south!).
Our house is a small village chateau of medieval origins. It has undergone many changes. The oldest part of the property is the keep, there are dungeons below, a guard room and the 'aula' (the seigniorial dwelling), all of these date back to the late 12th/early 13th century. The monumental staircase and the old medieval chapel with casement windows date back to the 15th century. There is a winter garden on the first floor of the house, it is a magical place with a large glass roof and a mural with a bucolic design. This small chateau is very comfortable, even in winter. The strength of the chateau and park, which compliment each other perfectly, make this property unique.
With a tower from the middle ages, the chateau was initially a defensive building before it became a stately home. At the beginning of the 20th century, it became a bourgeois holiday home. The history of the villages in Ardèche begins in prehistory and continues into the Middle Ages. Megalithic burials and Gallo-Roman tombs were discovered above the village of Uzer on the 'Gras'. The village was on the route of a medieval road that linked Aubenas to Alès, it still benefits from this strategic position today. The chateau took its place on this through-route at the end of the 12th century. The history of the chateau is marked by the Ardèche families who lived to the rhythm of their alliances here: the Balazucs, the Julliens, the Baume d'Uzers, the Vernades, the Chalendars. Some families, such as the Baume d'Uzers, carved their coat of arms onto the locks and consoles of the chapel's casement windows. Others left their name on the chateau, such as the Chalendar de la Mottes. The keep's tower was part of the defence belt of chateaus that surrounded the silver lead mines of Largentière during major clashes between the bishops of Viviers and the Counts of Toulouse in the middle ages. Thanks to their height and strategic position, these chateaus were able to communicate with each other, day or night, using optical signals, fires or fumes. General Joseph-Émile Mangin bought the Château d’Uzer in 1925, he then moved here in 1929 on the advice of his doctor who recommended the dry and hot climate of the region. He then began a huge amount of restoration work. He is to thank for the astonishing mural painting that adorns the 'winter garden', the large rooms and the magnificent park. The restoration carried out by Muriel and Eric Chevalier in the 2000s has given the chateau a new lease of life. When we arrived in 2013 and created our own atmospheres and harmonies.
Our house was built around an old defensive keep. It is nestled in the small medieval village of Uzer surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and chestnut trees in the heart of southern Ardèche, at the foot of the Cévennes ardéchoises. The chateau's kitchen garden allows us to serve healthy, natural and seasonal products at our table d'hôtes. The Château d’Uzer opens its park and rose garden, planted with a collection of ancient and contemporary roses, to the public. The park is classified as a "remarkable garden". The mix of sun, shade and exuberant vegetation creates an undeniable freshness. It was designed in the early 20th century in a romantic style with a collection of exotic trees. The library installed in the old medieval chapel from the 15th century contains classics, books on art, great painters, travel books, photography books, interior design books, novels, dictionaries, non-fiction and children's books and comics. The works of contemporary artists such as Jean Arene, Ingrid Christoffels, Pamphyle and Franck Girard are displayed in each room. Traditional and contemporary board games are available for quiet moments when you want to relax, indulge, let off some steam, exert yourself or improve your knowledge. There is also an authentic table football, and a Garlando for frenzied matches! We offer two electric bikes. Last but not least, what could be more pleasant in autumn or winter than snuggling up by the chateau's large chimney as you warm yourself by the heat of the wood fire and listen to it crackle?
The house is close to the Gorges de l'Ardèche nature reserve, the famous Pont d'Arc, the Vans, Balazuc, the brand new Caverne du Pont d'Arc and the replica of the Chauvet cave. We recommend the Château de la Selve at Benoit and Florence Chazalon's, they produce exceptional wine and Eric Martin produces one of the best olive oils in the world. There is also Veronique's small shop - "La Cerise sur le Château" - where one can browse her creations, her line of clothes and objects with the same feel as the chateau. Most importantly, we know some beautiful bathing spots in Cevennes torrents where one can enjoy a secluded dip.
210 € - 230 € / week
The cottage is located in the old stables of the chateau that date back to the 14th century, two beautiful vaulted rooms and a private terrace on one level of the inner courtyard are available. It consists of two bedrooms, one of which has a monastic appearance and a surface area of 45 m2. It is equipped with a queen-sized bed, a bathroom and a toilet. The patio doors open onto the courtyard and the small, narrow windows overlook the park. The other bedroom is equipped with two single beds that can be pushed together to make a queen sized bed on request. The bathroom and toilets are shared for both rooms. Meals are offered on site.
150 € - 240 € / night
The Château d'Uzer has five guest rooms, including two double rooms and three family suites. There is no TV or Wifi in the rooms and smoking is not permitted. The rooms and suites are on the first floor of the chateau's main wing and the second floor of the oldest part of the chateau. All rooms and suites have en-suite bathrooms. The suites with a surface area of 45 m2 are composed of two rooms. Two of them are equipped with a double bed for the first and two single beds for the second. The third suite is equipped with two double beds in both bedrooms.
Massage in the guard room for a moment of relaxation and complete relaxation. Reservations required. Prices on request.
The castle regularly hosts small concerts and intimate shows: jazz, singing and baroque music, theatre groups, storytellers ... Where they take place depends on the circumstances. We host them in the winter garden (thirty places maximum), in good weather they are in the courtyard (in May, June or September) or in the park and under the very large tent on the lawn at the bottom of the park (eighty seats). For larger concerts we even organise them in the village church.
Véronique, a dancer from her first profession, graciously welcomes you to her morning yoga session.
The Château d'Uzer is also a gallery that displays and sells art: artists include Ingrid Christoffels, Claude Perget, Patrick Leclerc;;;
The chateau welcomes and hosts artists: painters, photographers, musicians, writers, directors. It offers them a calm place to relax and we do everything we can to encourage their creativity.
The Château d'Uzer park is classified a «Remarkable Garden» and is open to visitors all year round, by reservation. The mix of sun, shade and exuberant vegetation creates an undeniable freshness. It was designed in the early 20th century in a romantic style with a collection of exotic trees. With majestic lime trees and old cedars, paths lined with boxwood, bamboo, palm trees and an arbor with the scent of old roses, jasmine and solanums, it is pleasant place to relax any time of the year. The fountain is fed by stream that has been in the park since the middle ages. The pond is populated by goldfish and koi, red, white and black carp that are happy to be touched and will eat from your hand when approached gently.