|Location||Neubourg, Upper Normandy, France (Google Map Location)|
|Open for Visitors||Yes|
|Owned by||Jacques Garcia|
|Official Website||Château du Champ de Bataille|
The Château du Champ de Bataille is a Baroque castle in the countryside of France’s Neubourg region. Nestled between the Risle and Iton Rivers, the Château is famous for its vast gardens and luxurious interiors. The Castle was built in the 17th century by Alexander de Créqui. After sustaining damage and being raided during the French Revolution, the Château du Champ de Bataille was abandoned and fell into a state of disrepair. Not until 1992 the renowned architect Jacques Garcia bought the Castle and restored it to its former glory.
The Château du Champ de Bataille is famous for its splendid gardens designed by Jacques Garcia. The Castle and its gardens are open for visitors. Exploring the site allows one to witness firsthand the architectural genius of Jacques Garcia, whose designs were inspired by the Greco-Roman Antiquity style.
The history of Château du Champ de Bataille starts in the 10th century. “Champ de Bataille” translates to “battlefield” in English. The Château’s name refers to a large battle fought between the Count of Cotentin and the family of Guillaume Longue Épée in 935. The latter, led by Bernard le Danois, an ancestor of the Harcourt family, emerged victorious. The battle united the region of Normandy.
In the mid-17th century, a series of civil wars were fought in France in a movement called the Fronde. Supporters of the Fronde aimed to control the growing power of the royal government. In 1651, Mazarin, who was then the ruler of France, sent Alexandre de Créqui into exile for rebellion. De Créqui was a friend of the Prince of Condé, who led a rebellion against the absolutist monarchy in the spirit of the Fronde.
During his exile, De Créqui inherited a hunting rendezvous Sainte-Opportune-du-Bosc from his mother. He sought to build a magnificent palace to remind him of his days of splendour in the royal courts. The construction of Château du Champ de Bataille was completed in 1665. After his death, the Castle was passed on to his nephew, the Marquis of Mailloc. The Marquis did not reside in the Castle, which was his nephew, Anne-Francois D’Harcott, the Duke of Beuvron.
D’Harcott held a high position in the government of Normandy and made Château du Champ de Bataille his main residence. He attempted to further develop and renovate the Castle but made little progress due to the ongoing French Revolution. As with many other castles and noble residences during the time, the Château was looted and abandoned. The Castle lay in ruins during the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1992, Jacques Garcia, a renowned architect, purchased the estate and began renovating the Castle. Many of the century-old trees in the castle gardens were struck by lightning during a large storm in 1993, after which Garcia began his work of restoring the gardens to their former glory.
The Château du Champ de Bataille is a Baroque castle designed by Louis le Vau, one of the greatest architects of the 17th century. A large square courtyard is enclosed by the Castle and the stable, both made of brick and stone and have slate roofs, while the main building faces an ornamental lake. The Château’s interiors are popular for their exquisite design and antique collections. Interior décor from the eras of Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI adorn the Castle, with the dining room and galleried library being some of the main attractions.
The gardens designed by Jacques Garcia are the castle’s pièce de résistance, inspired by Greco-Roman Antiquity. The Castle leads into the garden’s diverse and serene vegetation, which was inspired by the Biblical journey of humankind. The Groves of Eden and Erebus represent heaven and hell, while the Temples of Cyparis and Leda represent the animal world. The gardens stretch out across 120 acres of carefully landscaped designs.
The Indian Palace is another remarkable part of the Château du Champ de Bataille and was made from specially imported stones and minerals from India. It is open for visitors once a year during the Castle’s Heritage Days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was the Château du Champ de Bataille built?
The Château du Champ de Bataille was built by Alexander de Créqui, who was exiled during the reign of Mazarin in 1651. De Créqui aimed to build a castle that reminded him of his glorious days living in the royal courts and reflected his noble stature.
Who built the Château du Champ de Bataille?
Alexander de Créqui commissioned Louis le Vau, one of the 17th century’s greatest architects, to build the Château du Champ de Bataille. De Créqui was a close friend of the Prince of Condé, who led a rebellion against the absolutist monarchy, after which de Créqui was sent into exile.
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