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Nouvelle Aquitaine - The Castles

Château Saint-Loup (Deux Sévres)


Château de Saint-loup is located at Saint-loup Lamairé (on the Thouet River) where you can Canoe, wind-surf or fish on lake Cébron or go to Moncontour for the amateurs of speed and waterskiing. Between FUTUROSCOPE, PUY DU FOU, LOIRE CHATEAUX, and MARAIS POITEVIN for the principle touristic axes...A dream stopover for long-haul travelers who cross France from the North to the South.

One of Saint Loup's treasures is the intact Archives of the Chateau, Park and Garden as they existed in the 17th and 18th century. This is an exceptional patrimony, both historical and botanical as many French gardens have been transformed or even been denatured by the romantic vision of the 19th century. The restoration of the gardens and buildings undertaken in 1992 at the initiative of the French Department of Culture and Charles Henri de Bartillat is still underway. The park has been designed according to the rules of French classical gardens epitomized by Versailles.

The site of Saint-Loup is located at a strategic position where two rivers meet: the Thouet and Cébron. It lies on the border of the flat plain of Poitou and the hilly landscaped Bocage Gatinais. From the early days it was surrounded by military constructions, of which the Château constituted the northern link. Edward of Woodstock (the black Prince), after defeating the French at the battle of Poitiers in 1356, imprisoned the French King, Jean le Bon (John the Good), in the dungeon of the chateau. Address: Château de Saint-Loup; 79600 Saint-Loup sur Thouet. TEL: +33 (0)5 49 64 81 73
Text above from Website (English) Château Saint-Loup


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Château de Rochebrune (Charente)

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A 16th/17th century castle, located on the road "Richard Coeur de Lion". It is an old medieval principality, whose aspect was embellished in Renaissance style in 1570 by the Marshal Blaise de Montluc. Hidden within a forest, in the village of Etagnac, Rochebrune has been the seat of the Lords of Chabanais since the 11th and 12th centuries. The main part of the castle with 4 round towers at the corners is surrounded by a moat. Coats of Arms of the owners of the Castle decorate the walls. Rochebrune houses many items dating from Renaissance and Empire periods. The dining and billiard rooms, have stone fireplaces and ceilings richly decorated with Coats of Arms of the Lords of the area. The Vaulted staircase leads to the sitting room and it ante-rooms; all contain many fine examples of furniture, travel souvenirs and paintings depicting the victories of General, the Count Dupont.
Visits - From June 1st to June 30th and from September 1st to September 16th, open from 2 pm- 6 pm every day except Tuesday. From July 1st to August 31th, open from 10 am-12 am and 2 pm- 6 pm, every day.

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Château de Peyras (Charente)

Every year the "les Compagnons de Peyras" in collaboration with other associations of the region, present a unique spectacle. An open medieval meal with dancers, jugglers and musicians precede the spectacle. This medieval castle of the XI, XIII & XV century is open to the public from 14:30 to 18:30 hrs on Sundays all year. All visits are guided and you will enjoy the many authentic displayed objects on tables in 9 rooms (as well as valuable other artefacts in glass protected cabinets. For week days, call in advance and the committee will accommodate your visits. Visits are free for children and at 4.00 Euros for adultes. For information, call 05 45 71 25 25 --- Web Site (in French): http://isabellejulien.free.fr/peyras.htm

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Château de Rochefoucauld (Charente)

Towering above the town of La Rochefoucauld by the River Rardoire in the Charente, the Château de la Rochefoucauld is an impressive castle, with its original 11th century square keep flanked by Renaissance towers. It is still the residence of the La Rochefoucauld family, one of the oldest noble families in France, and has been in almost continuous ownership since it was first built (during the Revolution, some members of the family were killed, while others fled to the United States). Parts of the château are open to the public - there is no garden - and highlights include the beautiful 16th century staircase, highly ornate Renaissance detailing in the ceiling and windows, and the courtyard with its Italian archways. These as well as the kitchen, the dungeon and guard rooms can be seen without the need to take the guided tour. However, to see the salons, including a small room with painted wooden paneled walls and ceiling and the libraries with their antique maps and prints, you have to take the tour which is included in the ticket price. The tours occur at regular intervals and English is spoken. When buying your ticket you will receive a brochure, in English, giving the history of the castle and explaining its architectural features. Children will love the dressing up room where they - and their parents - can put on medieval costumes and pretend to be lords and ladies of the manor. Contact:
16110 La Rochefoucauld -- Tel: 05 45 62 07 42 -- Website (French): www.chateau-la-rochefoucauld.com

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Château de Crazannes (Charente Maritime)

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Crazannes: built at the end of the 14th century, this amazing castle has been referenced as ancient monument for its brilliant condition. It still has an amazing gothic façade displaying different mythical characters. Given the name of "Château du Chat Botté " in reference to one of its old owners,the Marquis de Carabas, the castle is found between Rochefort and Saintes in the department of Charente Maritime. It is classed as a Historical Monument. The Black Prince and King François 1st sojourned at the castle. The castle is located in the middle of a forested park of 8 hectares, on the left side of the Charente river.
Crazannes is opened all year round. It has six prestigious chambres d'hôte but has also lodgings (weekly) at the castle itself, the dungeon, the relais house or at the Garden House all with period furniture. The castle can be hired for seminars, weddings, meetings 'up to 150 People). There is a heated piscine, you can have a quiet stroll in the garden with centenary trees. At Saintes, you can indulge in golf, tennis and equitation. Website (French): www.cazannes.com
Not far from the village of Crazannes, there is the historical town of Taillebourg and its castle where Richard Coeur de Lion stayed.

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Château de Jonzac (Charente Maritime)

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The most notable building in the town is the Chateau de Jonzac. The chateau was built in the 15th century on the site of an earlier castle that had been destroyed during the Hundred Years War. Extensive changes were made during the 19th century, part of the original castle demolished, and the moat filled in, but significant parts of the medieval castle remain including the two main round towers and several other interesting architectural details. Still in active use, the chateau now houses the town hall and also an archaeology museum(in the cloisters).

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Château de la Roche Courbon (Charente Maritime)

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A castle was built around 1475 by Jehan de Latour. In the 17th century, the Courbon family, which had occupied the castle for two centuries, transformed it into a more comfortable residence but it was eventually sold in 1817 and then abandoned. Paul Chénereau (1869–1967), a local man, bought the château and restored it to its former splendour. It is actually his daughter and son-in-law, who now live there. Today, the Château de la Roche Courbon is open to visitors and is a favourite location for wedding photographs. Address; Chateau de La Roche Courbon, 1825 Saint-Porchaire - TEL: 05 46 95 60 10
Open to the public everyday 09:00 to 19:00 hrs from 1st May to 30th September
Cost: €12 (includes a guided visit of the Chateau and gardens) €7.00 Gardens only; includes caves, prehistoric musuem, exhibitions and games in the feudal caves of the chateau)
Website (in French): www.larochecourbon.fr

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Château de Javarzay (Deux-Sévres)

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Re-built in 1514 (by the Rochechouart family) on the old ruins of an old castle which had twelve turrets; only two remains today. The castle is a typical example of Renaissance architecture in the department of Deux-Sévres:. Entrance to the castle is via a superb gatehouse flanked with four turrets with corbelling and conical slate roofs. The castle houses a museum with over 400 bonnets and headdresses. The Commune now owns the castle since 1982. Château de Javarzay is only a few kilometres on the outskirts of the town of Chef-Boutonne. There is a large open space around the lake at the rear of the château, ideal for picnics, kite flying, leisurely walk or simply just enjoy the Sun.
Open Easter to October, Tuesday to Sunday 3pm - 6pm and Bank Holiday Mondays. Mid June to mid September Tuesday to Sunday 10am - 12pm and 3pm - 6pm.
Contact: Château de Javarzay, Chef Boutonne.
Tel: 05 49 29 86 31

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Château de Niort (Deux-Sévres)

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The Donjon de Niort (Château de Niort is mostly categorised as a dungeon - donjon in French). It is a medieval castle consisting of two square towers, linked by a 15th century building and dominates the Sèvre Niortaise valley. The castle was started by Henry II Plantagenet and completed by Richard the Lionheart. It was defended by a rectangular curtain wall and was damaged during the Wars of Religion. From the 18th century, the castle served as a prison. During the Hundred Years War in progress, Niort was alternately under French and English domination. Finally, in the 14th century, the town of Niort was securely placed under the French crown.
Classified as a monument historique in 1840, the castle housed the families of municipal employees or was used to store départemental archives. In 1870, the Département gave the keep and its land to the town, but continued to occupy it until the start of the 20th century. Following the first national congress of ethnology in France, held at Niort in 1896, the keep began to take on its present function as a museum, initially housing the collection of Poitevin costumes.
The castle houses the following museum collections:
1. archaeological museum on the ground floor with Bronze Age, Gallo-Roman and Middle Ages exhibits
2. museum of chamois leather and glove making on the first floor
3. a reconstructed Poitevin interior from 1830 is found on the second floor, as well as a nationally important collection of costumes, headgear and jewelry.
4. From the roof, there is a beautiful view over the town and the Sévre Niortaise.

Website (in French) for details of exhibitions and events at: www.agglo-niort.fr

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Château d'Oiron (Deux-Sévres)

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The Château d'Oiron is located in Oiron, in the Deux-Sévres departement. It has its origins in the 15th century war with the English for control of France when a victorious Charles VII of France gave the domain and great forest of Oiron to Guillaume Gouffier who became governor of Touraine. The château went into severe decline and in 1793 was ransacked by Revolutionaries. For many years the château lay abandoned until the government of France took possession just before World War II eventually converting it to a museum. One of the galleries contains one of the most prestigious works of art from the French Renaissance period. Recognized world wide, the museum is dedicated to contemporary art. In 1993, The Year of Solar Burns was commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture for permanent installation in the Château d'Oiron. The château has been listed as a historical monument by the Ministry of Culture since 1923 (Open all year).
Château d'Oiron- 10 rue du Château - 79100 Oiron
Tel. : 05 49 96 51 25 Fax. : 05 49 96 52 56 - GPS : 46.95393,-0.07907 Email= oiron@monuments-nationaux.fr
Website (French) = www.oiron.fr
Facilities:
Animation themes, workshops, temporary exhibitions , shops, parking, amimals welcomed, individial or group visites (guided if prefered), seminars.
Opening times:
1st June - Everyday - 10:30 to 18:30 hours (17:30 hours from October)
Rates: Adults = 7.0 euros - Students (18 to 25 years) = 5.0 euros

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Château de Montaigne (Dordogne)

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The château of Michel de Montaigne, squire of Montaigne (1533-1592) sits on the borders of the Bordeaux and the Périgord areas. Dating originally to the 14th century, this château has been rebuilt several times, particularly after the huge fire in 1885. It's now a private property. The château tower, saved from the flames, was Montaigne's refuge and can be visited. On the ground floor, there is a pretty chapel dedicated to Saint Michael. The first floor houses the bedroom of Michel de Montaigne, where he died in 1592 but most importantly you must visit the top floor, the Library, where he wrote much of his famous 'essays'. Some of the engravings he made on the beams of the Library still remain.
During the summer months the chateau is open daily, except for January when it is open Monday to Friday (parking on the property). Website: www.chateau-montaigne.com

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Château de Touffou (Vienne)

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This stately home, Castle Touffou, in time immemorial, invites you to discover its history. The maze of corridors will take you to the times of King Francois 1st; you will be immersed in the life at the castle with all its intrigues and secrets revealed to you. Please note that the prison is not far! The three gardens, nestled against its solid foundations, bring a delicate touch or sensuality to all the art and craftsmanship seen. Each garden, with its own particular personality will hold you spellbound with their harmonies of colors and geometric shapes. A weekend of enjoyment and peace with your family or on your own in this anthology of colors. The bewitching castle environment that has retained its nobility of yesteryear will live in you even when you have said good-bye!

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Château de Saint Mesmin (Deux-Sévres)

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As in your favorite childhood dream, allow yourself the pleasure of living in the Middle Ages at the time of the castle of Saint-Memin. Enjoy this XIV century fortress where you will meet troubadours, knights and soldiers, lords and villagers who will teach you the art and pleasures of medieval life. So do not be just a spectator as you enter into the adventure, teach yourself to art of swords in the arms room, practice the art of forging or juggling and share with many other guests a banquet with wine of hypocras.
Syndicat Mixte du Château de St Mesmin La Ville
79380 St Andre-sur-Sevre

Tel: 05 49 80 17 62 - GPS : 46.799604,-0.7172656
Email: chateau.saintmesmin@nordnet.fr
Website (French) = www.chateau-saintmesmin.fr

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Château de Barbezieux-sur-Hilaire (Charente)

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Barbezieux (full name Barbezieux-sur-Hilaire) is a town located south-west of Angouleme and in the south-west of the Charente department (Nouvelle Aquitaine region).

The town is best known for the Chateau de Barbezieux, an imposing 15th century castle. The castle has known many uses over the centuries, among them a prison, a girls school, and a hospital. The present castle was built on the orders of Marguerite de La Rochefoucauld to provide work during a time of famine in 1453. Sold during the French Revolution, the south east corner was strengthened by the département and used as a prison until 1820. In 1844, the castle was bought by the town which flattened part and restored the rest for a variety of uses. The castle now also houses the Barbezieux tourist office, a theatre (created in the original castle barn) and a small local museum of archaeology. The tourist information office is situated in the Barbezieux castle. The castle has been listed since 1913 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.


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Château d'Angouleme
(Charente 16)

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Former Counts of Angoulême castle. In 1840, the town bought the castle to house the Town Hall. The mayor, Paul Joseph Normand de la Tranchade, commissioned the architect Paul Abadie to develop the project, who dismantled a portion of the medieval buildings. The keep and a tower were preserved thanks to the pressure of the Archaeological and Historical Society of Charente.
The present remains including the polygonal keep, called Tour de Lusignan, the châtelet, and the round Valois Tower date from the 12th to 15th centuries. The polygonal keep was built 1282–1302, and the Valois Tower was built in the late 15th century. During the 15th century, a square pavillon was added to the Tour Marguerite. This pavillon included a polygonal turret containing the staircase. At the end of the 15th century were constructed star shaped fortifications; two turrets remained in rue Bélat and rue du Sauvage. The medieval parts of the castle have been listed as monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1929.

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Château de Bayers
(Charente 16)

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A jewel of a castle near the town of Aunac in the farm country. Built on a hilltop near the River Charente, Whilst a castle has existed on this site since the XI century, the current castle dates back to XV century. Sold after the Revolution, the building gradually fell into ruin before a restoration project commenced in 1970. Open to the public during July and August from 2pm to 6pm. Admission: around 4 Euro (free to under 12s)
Le Château
16460 Bayers
TEL: 05 45 22 54 74

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Château de Vernon
(Vienne)

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Museum of Classic Cars Collection
Over 40 cars and fire engines
from 1920 to present time

20 Km South of Poitiers (off the N147 towards Gençay).
The castle was built in 1677 on the place of an old fortified farm of the 14th century. The castle is classified as "Monuments Historiques de France".
1, rue du Château - 86 340 VERNON
TEL: 05 49 45 28 72 Open: Juily and August
Tuesday to Sunday 14:00 to 18:00 hours
Juin and September
Sundays 14:00 to 18:00 hours
October to May: by appointment only,
Rates:
Adults: 5 € - Children: 2,50 €
(Free for under 6 years old)
Website (French):
www.chateaudevernonpoitou.com

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