In the Berry area, a medieval fortress,
a group of buildings with French MH listing
Nevers, CHER center-val-de-loire 58000 FR

Location

Where the Burgundy, Centre and Auvergne regions meet, on land with a rich architectural heritage bequeathed by more than 2,000 years of history. This chateau is easily accessed despite standing in the midst of a village and unspoilt natural surroundings near to the river Loire as well as Nevers and Bourges, the historic capital of Berry, with its cathedral classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO and the “Printemps de Bourges” music festival that brings numerous entertainers together every year.
The A77 motorway is 20 minutes away and a nearby train station provides 2-hour links to Paris-Bercy.

Description

The fortress, one of the Berry region’s most important military sites, bears major witness to the medieval art of constructing castles. The buildings stand on the village square.
A fortified entrance with a drawbridge originally provided access to the lower bailey, built within quadrangular perimeter walls, surrounded by a moat and protected by four corner towers, of which only the round one adjoined to the main building remains. Built for both defensive and residential purposes, its construction is said to have started in the 13th century and continued until 1312, a time when French king, Philip IV the Fair, began arresting the Knights Templar. Major redesigning works were carried out in 1460 by Jean-de-Villaines, lord of the castle, prior to its demolition in 1569 by a war of religion. The old corner tower of the castle perimeter adjoins the main building with a square stairway tower, built outside of the carcass. Buildings, covered with flat tiles and a Mansard style roof, were adjoined to the keep in the middle of the 18th century. The stable, originally dating from the 15th century, was transformed in the 18th century, followed by the more recent construction of outbuildings and a caretaker’s cottage.
Historic characters have stayed here: the prince of Asturias fleeing the English stayed in a bedroom above the chapel; King Louis XI stayed here in March 1482 during a pilgrimage and Henri IV for services rendered. The castle was besieged during the Wars of Religion, a time when Berry, outpost of the royal land, was continually under threat from the English and the Anglo-Burgundians.
Two entrances provide access to the property, one via a first monumental gateway, featuring wrought iron gates decorated with scrolls, and the other via solid, chest-high gates, providing access for vehicles. The parklands, partially enclosed by walls, are completely unoverlooked despite the proximity of other houses.

The listed manor house with its chapel

This rectangular building spans three levels above a cellar. A stairway tower, built outside of the carcass, adjoins its facade. This is the main entrance which is raised by the foot of the spiral, stone stairway. The latter provides access to the cellar and the floors in the main building. The facades feature mullioned windows with rendered, quarry stone block surrounds. The house is completely covered with an oak wood roofing framework and a slate roof, featuring roof dormers with broken pediments. It still has all of its original architectural features, wrought ironwork and door fittings.


Cellar
Site of the boiler room and the oil tank.
Mezzanine floor
A low, oak wood door provides access to a chapel. it is topped with a cross-ribbed vault, supported on moulded bases. One of the walls features the gothic arch of a walled-up window. The floor is paved with limestone.
First level
This level houses a reception room where a 15th century monumental stone fireplace is adorned with an oval medallion, decorated with a 17th century garland of leaves. The room is illuminated via mullioned windows and the floor is paved with terracotta tiles. The ceiling is enhanced with moulded beams. An oak wood door provides access to a kitchen, illuminated via a window overlooking the parklands.
Second level
This level comprises two bedrooms, separated by a bathroom and a toilet. One of the bedrooms is decorated with a monumental stone fireplace, identical to that in the reception room. The ceilings are enhanced with oak wood beams and the floor is paved with terracotta tiles. The second bedroom can be reached via an oak wood stairway, affixed to a wall, which joins the spiral stairway upstairs.
Third level
A landing, spanning approx. 5 m² and protected by a wooden guardrail, provides access to a bedroom. An oak wood door opens into the attic space.

The listed keep

The keep can be accessed by each of its facades and the entrances communicate with the old house, built in the 18th century.
Jean-de-Villaines, captain of Louis XI’s armies, is said to have been responsible in 1460 for the construction of the keep, intended for both defensive and residential purposes. Its four levels, simply covered with wooden flooring, span a total surface area of approx. 600 m². The tower is a 38-metre tall, oblong keep, with 1.50 m thick walls. It is flanked by two quadrangular turrets and topped with an old lookout room, crowned in its upper section with covered machicolation, supported on corbelling, thus forming an external wall walk. The row of stone above the corbels is enhanced with blind arcading and covered with a flat-tile roof. The windows on the first two levels were transformed in the 19th century; those on the upper two levels are either mullioned or square. The projection on the facade corresponds to the latrines.


Ground floor
Two state rooms each feature a monumental fireplace. The ceilings are enhanced with oak wood beams. One has parquet flooring and the other has floor tiles with inlaid decoration. One of the rooms includes a toilet with a cloakroom and a spiral, stone stairway that goes to the cellar and the upper floors. Another stone stairway goes to the kitchen and the “bakehouse”.
First level
This level was used solely for receptions. The fireplaces are monumental and the ceiling is 4.60 m high.
Second level
Converted in the 19th century, it currently comprises three comfortable bedrooms.
Third level
This level still reflects its primitive and authentic character, with square openings and a cupboard with a false bottom used as a safe.
Fourth level
The site of the old lookout room, it features nine square windows that illuminate the widely splayed, external wall walk. Its roofing framework, approx. 17.50 m high, is shaped like an inverted ship’s hull.

The listed keep house

This dwelling, constructed in the 18th century, adjoins the south side of the keep with a Mansard style roof covered with flat tiles. It houses a 2-storey dwelling, an old kitchen and a room known as the “bakehouse” which communicates with the keep via a stairway. It cannot currently be lived in as it is in need of restoration works.

Our opinion

Despite the trials and tribulations that have influenced its history, this castle still stands proudly on its medieval foundations and the timeless gems embellishing it have not escaped the notice of those responsible for national heritage, thus justifying its listing as a French historic monument. Although this property will delight all enthusiasts of the Middle-Ages, it could incite some potential buyers to carry out a variety of artistic projects or start a hotel and a catering activity. With the proximity of the banks of the river Loire and the town of Nevers just 20 minutes away, the region is also of great tourist interest especially as it encompasses villages steeped in historic heritage.

Exclusive sale

830 000 €
Fees at the Vendor’s expense


See the fee rates

Reference 107189

Land registry surface area 17665 m2
Main building surface area 270 m2
Number of bedrooms 6
Outbuilding surface area 150 m2

French Energy Performance Diagnosis

Consultant


Nelly Parisot +33 1 42 84 80 85

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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.

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