A 19th century chateau, inspired by the works of Palladio, in 18 ha of parklands
overlooking the river Loire between Nantes and Angers
Varades, LOIRE-ATLANTIQUE pays-de-loire 44370 FR


This estate, in the French department of Loire-Atlantique, is in a countrified setting, equidistant from Nantes and Angers, on the outskirts of a little town with all amenities.


Railway engineer, François-Briau, highly influenced by his numerous trips, especially to Italy, entrusted the creation of a Palladian-style residence to architect Edouard-Moll in 1854. Andrea-Palladio had created the symbiosis of an architectural style and a landscape that is reflected by many Italian villas. Inspired by such creations, the building stands amidst terraced parklands that, looking down on to the river Loire, include a view of Saint-Florent-du-Mont-Glonne Abbey. A gateway opens off of the main road on to the estate and a lane which, deserting the old main driveway, winds its way between the outbuildings. A chapel stands on the boundary of the property, on the edge of a meadow. An old bridge, reached via the parklands, once crossed an arm of the river Loire, making it possible to get to the village train station via a long driveway, closed by gates.
The entire estate, with its buildings and landscaped gardens, has French historic monument listing.

The palace

This residence is laid out over three levels with utility rooms in the basement. The rectangular layout, the symmetry around a median axis, the alignment of windows on each level and the regularity in the organisation of the openings are all signs that Edouard-Moll drew his inspiration from the work of Palladio. The Serlian windows on the second level further reinforce this heritage.
The central bays form a projection on one facade and an indentation on the other. These breaks in alignment make the building appear lighter by creating different sections and increasing the number of low, slate roofs.
Both main facades are more or less the same, constructed from dressed stone and pink brick. Inset pilasters flank the three central bays. The windows, laid out in pairs, feature square lintels and some are topped with triangular pediments. Protruding moulding surrounds the windows. The chateau’s quoins are enhanced with corner pillars.

This level, spanning almost 400 m², was partially the realm of the domestic staff: a dining room, a kitchen, a linen room and, strangely, a bathroom intended for use by the owners. This level also includes the cellars and part of the ingenious work of François-Briau, notably an electric circuit board awarded a prize at the 1865 Universal Exhibition.
Ground floor
An impressive iron, cast iron and glass canopy takes up the centre of the north facade, protecting the entrance which provides access to the gallery. The latter runs from one side of the building to the other and leads to a floor-to-ceiling bay window, topped with a terrace and looking out over the parklands. The floor, inlaid with marble and comblanchien stone, enhances the walls, featuring stucco decoration, and the trompe-l'œil panelling. On either side, reception rooms comprising a large and a small lounge as well as a dining room, still have their herringbone pattern parquet flooring, wall decor and furniture set in the panelling. Relaxation rooms, such as a smoking room, a library and a billiard room, also contain furniture, decor and fabrics from the palace construction period. A monumental stairway, decorated with frescoes by Jules-Etienne-Lenepveu and Jules-Joseph-Dauban, and enhanced with busts of Roman emperors on corbels, goes up to a landing on the first floor looking down on to the ground floor.
First floor
The landing opens on to a corridor providing access to four main bedrooms, each with a bathroom and toilet, restored in keeping with the estate’s spirit, as well as a lounge, spanning more than 90 m², with a view over the river Loire.
Second floor
A wooden stairway going up to the second floor leads to a corridor providing access to twelve bedrooms which have changed little since the chateau was constructed. A shower room was installed more recently.

The outbuildings

Two buildings are currently in use: the caretaker’s cottage near to the property’s old main entrance and the press-house at the entrance to the outbuildings. One is used as a holiday rental accommodation unit and the other as a guest house for visitors. The chapel, constructed on a promontory, in which lays François-Briau, is in a good state of preservation. The orangery, the roof of which is used as a terrace in the parklands, is outstanding courtesy of the use of reinforced concrete, a completely innovative material at that time. A bakery, a wash-house, an aviary, a farm and a round kennel all await full restoration works.

The parklands

An 18-ha belvedere looking out over the Loire Valley. The terraced gardens, laid out over three levels, were designed to give a panoramic view of Mont-Glonne Abbey, nestling on the opposite bank of the river. These landscaped parklands reflecting both English and Italian styles, lead via a maze of boxwood and Laurustinus alleyways to the discovery of numerous decorative follies as well as the ruins of a medieval castle.

Our opinion

Landscapes and the old castle inspired Joseph-Turner who immortalised them in his travel sketchbooks. François-Briau fell in love with them and made his dreams come true by building a palace here. This residence is both an outstanding architectural work and a masterpiece of 19th century ingenuity and modernity. The current owners have breathed new life into the chateau as well as the parklands and enabled numerous visitors to share in the excitement linked to this captivating palace.

2 100 000 €
Fees at the Vendor’s expense

See the fee rates

Reference 953707

Main building surface area 1200 m2
Number of bedrooms 18


Nadine Riant +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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