in more than 16 ha of grasslands, woods and lakes, near to Vitré
This property is set in the east of Ille-et-Vilaine, a dynamic department combining the wealth of its architectural and cultural heritage, with its green open spaces and its economic activity. In unspoilt surroundings, composed of undulating countryside on the edge of the Marches-de-Bretagne, Vitré’s medieval and classical heritage has been awarded the French “Town of Art and History” distinction. This estate is in the midst of a region, abounding in paths for walking through forest as well as rural areas and alongside lakes. It is also near to schools and shops in Vitré, its train station providing 1½-hour links to Paris and 20-minute links to Rennes.
This castle was constructed on the site of a 13th century fortress, of which remains the ruins of an impressive square keep and three corner turrets with corbelling. Built as a home for a marquis in 1570, it was constructed by the architect, Ricand. Rectangular in shape, its shale stone walls are topped with a gable roof, covered with fish-scale “lauze” stone slabs from Corrèze.
The main facade comprises three bays, topped with resolutely Renaissance style roof dormers with triangular freestone pediments, corner pilasters and sculpted apron walls bearing coats-of-arms. The walls are covered with a light-coloured rendering, from which stand out the horizontal and vertical sandstone lines framing the openings and the inset panels of blue schist. The main building is extended on one side by a higher projection from the same era, then a turret, set back from the general outline of the facade, with a domed roof featuring a roof dormer. On the other side, the building is flanked by several towers and turrets, with gothic-style hip roofs featuring numerous roof dormers.
The rear facade, bathed in sunshine, reflects the style of the facade facing the courtyard, composed of four bays and a projection, together with similar quoins and string courses as the main facade. It looks out over a landscape of lakes and woods stretching for as far as the eye can see.
The first of the turrets, the bartizan of which is reminiscent of the military function of the Middle-Ages, features a mid-16th century door, decorated with exquisite Renaissance style sculpture. This door is flanked by two united pilasters, topped with a delicately crafted lintel. Above the lintel, two escutcheons are topped with a crested helmet, shown in profile, supported by two savages. A hammered pennon bears eight allied escutcheons. Several wrought lintels are aligned one above the other higher up.
The castle’s main entrance door opens into a vast hall with herringbone parquet flooring. The panelling on the walls and the ceiling, as well as that in the reception rooms and the bedrooms, was decorated by Jobbé-Duval, a local, 19th century artist who notably decorated a hall in the Breton Parliament. The ceilings are very high. A main, monumental, 3-straight-flight stairway dates from the 18th century. It is adorned with stringers featuring geometric motifs and square baluster railings.
A door leads to a lounge. The fireplace reflects the Renaissance style. Made of freestone, it is greatly sculpted and decorated with fleur-de-lys, scroll and palmette motifs. The mantel is topped with a trumeau composed of a floral painting, flanked by raised friezes and crowned with a motto and two coat-of-arm medallions. This lounge is widely illuminated via tall windows, giving views out on both sides of the estate.
A door opens into an adjoining dining room. The decorative features, such as the parquet and the fireplace, reflect a similar style. The fireplace is equally outstanding. The jambs are adorned with lion’s heads. The mantel is topped with a trumeau comprising a still-life painting, flanked by geometric friezes and columns topped with Corinthian order capitals.
Following on from the dining room, a door opens into a kitchen, its high ceiling featuring exposed beams. It is illuminated by a large, splayed, glazed door set in the castle’s sunny facade.
A storeroom, a laundry room and a shower room, with a toilet, are laid out behind the kitchen.
The main stairway goes up to a first landing that leads to an intermediary level, providing access to the rooms laid out in the oldest tower, dating from the 15th century. This level comprises a bedroom, with a marble fireplace, three small rooms, a toilet and a shower room. A spiral stairway goes to the upper floor as well as to the basement, housing the cellar and a boiler room.
The monumental stairway then continues up to the first floor of the castle and to a large, sumptuously decorated room, spanning a floor surface area of approx. 100 m². The floor is paved with two-tone, glazed terracotta tiles, the walls are lined with wainscoting. The wrought panelling in this room is adorned with gilt monograms and coats-of-arms. The fireplace is impressive. The mantel is decorated with gilt scrolls, monograms and a mantelpiece crafted with friezes. The jambs are composed of columns wound with strands of ivy. It is topped with a trumeau decorated with caryatids, cupids, animals and monograms, as well as a sculpted cornice. The ceiling goes up to a height of more than 5 metres.
A corridor, with strip pattern parquet flooring, provides access to four bedrooms and a shower room, with a toilet. Another outstanding fireplace embellishes one of the bedrooms. It is flanked by Doric order columns wound with laurel branches. The mantel, with its gilt decoration, is topped with a trumeau featuring floral sculptures, caryatids, coats-of-arms and a black marble back plate.
Reached via the spiral stairway with monolithic steps, which is illuminated via several openings with their window seats, the attic spans a large surface area of available floor space. A bare landing comprises an old fireplace. The original roofing framework of the oldest turret is exposed, with rafters forming trusses, closely aligned and pinned. A door leads to a corridor providing access to five bedrooms and two small adjoining rooms. There is parquet flooring throughout, with the exception of one bedroom which has multicoloured terracotta floor tiles reflecting the patina of time. One of the bedrooms includes a freestone fireplace, with a terracotta tile hearth and a cast iron back plate, featuring a coat-of-arms.
The caretaker’s cottage
Constructed from granite stone blocks in the 19th century, its hip roof is covered with fish-scale “lauze” stone slabs from Corrèze. It spans two levels. The ground floor is taken up with a dining room, with a fireplace, and a self-contained flat comprising a kitchen-dining room, a lounge, three bedrooms, a bathroom and a toilet. Upstairs, a corridor provides access to five bedrooms, two attics and an old drying shed. The conversion potential is approx. 400 m².
These outbuildings, adjoining the caretaker’s cottage, comprise a garage and an old stable, with a carport at the back. A short distance away, an old stone cowshed, with a slate roof, completes the outbuildings.
A dovecote with more than 800 dove-holes is a vestige of the old castle which, at the time, dealt out justice in the village.
This estate, with a surface area of approx. 16 ha, is composed of 5 ha of parklands and grasslands, 3 ha of woods and 8 ha of lakes.
A canal and two lakes are encircled by a steep little lane, bordered by tall trees. A driveway that used to lead to the gardens, goes through their centre. The river feeding them, as well as the moat, flows alongside the estate. It is spanned by an old, triangular-arched bridge.
Elegance evidently abounds in this castle where sandstone string courses match the towers and their pointed roofs. At the same time, the soberness of the facades conceals the rich profusion of decoration inside. Various eras meet here. The Renaissance period inspired the castle interiors, whilst its facades and turrets bear witness to the 15th and 16th centuries. With its old keep and dovecote, the estate still has features from its medieval past. Its lakes help form a verdant setting that can be admired from all the castle windows and notably its reception rooms. The castle is steeped in potential, not only because of its history, but also because of the size of its rooms and its architecture. It will appeal to enthusiasts of old stone or investors interested in the tax benefits to be gained from this listed historic monument, both will know how to continue the meticulous conversion works that it deserves.
|Land registry surface area||16 ha 80 a 94 ca|
|Main building surface area||1000 m2|
|Number of bedrooms||9|
|Outbuilding surface area||800 m2|
Béatrice Viel +33 1 42 84 80 85
NB: The above information is not only the result of our visit to the property; it is also based on information provided by the current owner. It is by no means comprehensive or strictly accurate especially where surface areas and construction dates are concerned. We cannot, therefore, be held liable for any misrepresentation.