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Awarded the "2016 Prix du jeune repreneur d'un monument historique" (prize for young buyer of a historic monument) and supported by Patrice Besse and Dominique de la Fourchardière under the aegis of the Foundation for Historic Monuments, the owner of the Chateau du Taillis has dedicated 18 years of his life to saving this castle from the state of neglect that it had fallen into. He patiently restored the four centuries of architecture that characterise the property and his achievements certainly deserve some recognition. A visit with him to the castle, which is now classified as a historic monument, and the gardens planted with rare trees is not to be missed. Nor are the numerous events that are organised here throughout the year. With its stunning appearance and exquisite rooms, its chapel that has been transformed into a small theatre, the orangerie, the manor and the Museum of August 44 that is devoted to the end of the Battle of Normandy, Le Taillis is not lacking in resources for exclusive events.
When one thinks of the Seine, the busy maritime traffic often comes to mind. But the loops of the river, which form large curves, are also an opportunity to discover a more natural valley that is scattered with exceptional architectural heritage. It was here that we discovered our castle and fell in love with the atmosphere that emanates from it. We felt compelled to save it at all costs.
When admiring the main facade, it is important to remember that there are nearly four hundred years that separate the first and last stones that built it. The chateau, which was built around 1530, is a very fine example of Italian-inspired architecture. The Second Renaissance inspired this facade with elaborate and striking decorations - on it are pilasters that are both Doric and iconic and friezes and niches that alternate seamlessly like a musical symphony. We were fortunate enough to preserve 12 seigniorial coats of arms that are carved into the centre of the facade in golden stone that was transported by boat from the Parisian basin. The addition of two Louis XIII style pavilions that frame the main body of the chateau, a half-timbered mansion that was added during the first extension of the 14th century, and the more classical changes made in the 18th century are oddly what gave the chateau its symmetrical and harmonious feel. The Chateau du Taillis is above all an accurate representation of Normandy's architectural history.
A 14th century stronghold house was originally built on the site. Jean du Fay du Tailly ordered for it to be demolished in the 16th century to make room for the new chateau. But the impressive project, that was set in motion by the Cardinal Duke of Amboise, was not finished in his lifetime. The construction of the chateau was not resumed until the 17th century and was completed almost a century later. After the French Revolution, the lords of Tailly left the property and it was owned by various famous families, including musicians and shipowners, before it was abandoned. It was only in 1998 that we bought it and began restoring it.
We give our visitors the chance to discover the estate, its history and the gardens. We offer them a no frills glance at life in a castle in the 21st century. We were keen to set up a calendar of annual events, add a Second World War museum and to host weddings and meetings in order to revive the castle's spirit and ensure its restoration.
The Chateau du Taillis is in an ideal location just twenty minutes by car from Rouen and half an hour from Paris. It is situated in Auclair, a part of Normandy where small villages sit by the river, the opposite bank can be reached by ferries. Not only does it encompass the historic route of the Abbeys of Normandy between Rouen and Jumièges, but it also includes the 'Route of Fruits' which is best explored by bike and offers the chance to meet apple, pear, cherry and plum producers. There is an abundance orchards in this part of France that is bursting with nature and nestled between the sea and the river.
Four salons - the Salon de Cristal, the Salon de Porcelaine, the Salon Chinois and the stunning Petit Théâtre are available for organising receptions. These rooms are decorated with wood panelling, marble and parquet floors. They are all adjoining and allow all guests - up to 150 for seated meas and 250 for cocktails - to see one another. The Chateau du Taillis lends itself perfectly to outdoor events with its outbuildings that are modelled on the Greco-Roman style orangery and the English style park that is lined with three-hundred-year-old trees.
«Commemoration of 8th of May 1945», during three days from 10am to 6pm. Three days to discover the history and relive the atmosphere of the Second World War in the Chateau's park with an exhibition of more than 80 vintage vehicles and more than 250 soldiers in uniform. A life-sized historical reenactment.
«Murder mystery party ». Treasure hunt, for more information, visit the website.
«Rendez-vous in the gardens», national annual event. A guided tour of the chateau's park and gardens that are newly developed and embellished each year. An exhibition and plant sale are also organised at this event. Guided tours are available during the rest of the year but only if booked.
«Candlelit visit». Guided tour of the castle, park and outbuildings in the light of more than two thousand candles and torches. Light snacks are provided at the end. Guided tours are available during the rest of the year but only if booked.