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From the 15th century staircase tower to the Renaissance section, the 17th century wing (which was altered a century later) and the unforgettable remains of fortifications erected during the Wars of Religion, this harmony of buildings bears witness to the succession of evolutions that has marked them. On the borders of Maine, Perche and Vendômois, the Château de la Barre is a lesson in history and architecture written in stone and tells the story of a family that has lived here for six centuries. A recent restoration campaign has revived a certain French 'art de vivre' which reached its peak during the 18th and 19th centuries. With family furniture, crockery, silverware and emblazoned linens, chandeliers, portraits of ancestors, wallpapers and fabrics, the decor leaves little to be desired. Its elegance will enchant even the most discerning of guests.
What sets the Château de la Barre apart is that is has remained in the same family since its inception. At the beginning of the 15th century, the Vanssay family acquired it through marriage and still live here to this day. It is therefore a family and private residence, discreetly located in the middle of a forty hectare park, with a rich history and varied architecture to which many generations have contributed. In 2002, we left our respective international careers to breathe new life into the family stronghold by bringing in guests from all over the world.
The Château de la Barre is almost the only example of a fortified manor house with bastions in the Perche and the Sarthe. In the resolutely medieval “fire room” there is a monumental fireplace. The small dining room is decorated with post-impressionist canvases and the pink salon is adorned with numerous portraits of our ancestors. The large dining room, typical of the 18th century, still buzzes with the passionate conversations of the “honest men” of the Enlightenment under the large china cabinet from the same period. The large salon, which has hardly changed since 1778 when it was renovated for the wedding of the fourth Marquis de Vanssay, exudes all the graceful and luminous elegance of the twilight of the Ancien Régime. Two small towers were added to the eastern part of the chateau in the 19th century to give a second access to the bedrooms. And a family chapel, now used for small weddings, was built on the foundations of one of the 14th century defense towers.
A stronghold known as "La Barre" existed in this region as early as the 11th century, but it is impossible to know if it was indeed this site. In the 14th century, La Barre depended on the seigneury of the Cour du Bois in Conflans-sur-Anille. The name "La Barre" comes from the fact that tolls and justice were practiced here. This site belonged to the Bellanger family, then the Chouëts and finally to the Vanssay family through marriage in 1404. They were a family of epee nobility originally from Brittany and still own the property to this day. During the French Revolution, the chateau remained in the family. The Marquis de Vanssay was even named head of the Republican Guard by the people of the village in recognition of his dedication to the region and the people. During the First World War, the large dining room was transformed into a hospital; it was spared such commitments during World War II.
The Château de la Barre is testimony to the grandeur of past centuries. All this and less than two hours from Paris! The challenge was to share an aristocratic and authentic art of living with irreproachable comfort in an elegant, attractive and lively way. We welcome our guests like friends coming to stay for a while to taste the real life "chateau life". We strive for both elegance and simplicity. The flower garden at the bottom of the fortifications is a haven of beauty and peace. The four stone benches are perfect for reading, conversations and picnics. The forty-hectare private park features a pond, a meadow, a river, woods and grazing sheep; there's no better place for a nice walk. We have a well-stocked cellar with a fine wine list, wine and cheese tasting dinners are served on the terrace or in the fire room, and even “Grand Siècle” dinners can be held in the prestigious 18th century dining room.
For wine, we recommend a tasting in the troglodyte cellars of the Lelais family in Poncé. Domaine Huet in Vouvray or Marc Brédif, which organises wine games. Domaine Philippe Alliet, kingdom of great Cabernet Francs, Château de Parnay for Saumur Champigny or Domaine de la Chevalerie for an excellent Bourgueil. Do not miss the most English of French gardens, Sasnières, or the most romantic of gardens, Le Petit Bordeaux. In season, a historic chef, master craftsman of France, serves excellent and fun Renaissance breakfasts at the Clos Lucé manor. The charming Loir valley (far from any tourist hubs) and its medieval villages with small artisan shops, such as the Glassblower in Poncé (trained at Lalique and Bacarat) or the saddler Hervé Noiras in Montoire (trained at Hermès). Just a stone's throw from the Château, Le Bistrot Poitevin serves small gourmet dishes of excellent quality. Next to Trôo, Le Manoir de Saint Quentin, with only 4 tables, is really worth a detour as the chef's dishes are excellent and served with great attention to detail.
During weddings, guests have access to the entire chateau which consists of four reception rooms, the park, the chapel as well as the bedrooms and the gîte. For receptions over thirty guests, a tent is set up in the flower garden with a view of the chateau.