The interiors of the Château de Champchevrier
The interiors include eleven sumptuously decorated rooms that give you glimpse of the castle life style from the owners and their guests - including the King! - to the staff.
You can feel the heart and soul of the castle thanks to the owner’s family. The art works are of museum quality.
However it’s really not a museum and you can feel the homely feeling everywhere, making the Château de Champchevrier the "Downton Abbey" of the Loire Valley.
The castle lifestyle
Inside Champchevrier we discover a refined decoration which testifies to the taste of the owners and their way of life between receptions and management of the estate.
The state rooms
After the beautiful staircase decorated with Renaissance painted woodwork, we discover the apartments of the Duke de Roquelaure, who sold the castle in 1728 to the ancestor of the owners.
The vast portraits gallery with its Italian marble floor is suitable for formal receptions. Nowadays the owners like to open their doors for visitors to share their lifestyle in this grand house. All of the paintings on the wood panelling represent the generations of Champchevriers who have lived in the castle since it was bought by the family.
In the music room, all kinds of arts are brought together for the pleasure of the guests.
The furniture of the Royal Chamber is a splendid example of the Touraine silk which covers all the furniture.
This room, like the king's cabinet, is decorated with exceptional, world-renowned tapestries.
The exceptional collection of tapestries of Champchevrier
A set of exceptional tapestries – stunning say the experts - is preserved in the castle and reflects the importance of these pieces for the art of decoration during the XVIth and XVIIth centuries.
Three workshops are represented:
- Audenarde: tapestry from Flanders representing a hare hunt (end of XVIth century). This is the oldest tapestry shown and the power and simplicity of the drawing is remarkable.
- Amiens: series of tapestries the Loves of the Gods and Ulysse’s Journey (early XVIIth century). All from sketches painted by Simon Vouët who, on his return from Rome, became the painter of Louis XIII. The freshness of the colours is remarkable and this collection is considered to be unique in the world.
- Beauvais: series of tapestries representing foliage (end of XVIIth century). On each one, a bird, a river, an exotic animal…
Note: this set inspired contemporary artist Diego Movilla, who this year presents his installation "Le fil Perdu".
The old kitchen and laundry
In the old days, the staff needed to run the castle provided the livelihood of many local people.
In the old kitchens and laundry one can see the day-to-day lives of the people “below stairs” who shared the owners’ lives.
On the kitchen side in the extensive sets of copper pots and pans with their numerous saucepans and covers and other utensils, Marie, the Baroness’ cook, prepared the meals with love.
On the laundry side much care was taken in handling the fine linen. You can see how hand washing was done with wooden beaters and the first mechanical washing machine from America which was supposed to ease the work of the laundry maids and also a magnificent collection of big and smaller antique irons!
The park (free visit)
The park allows you to understand the architectural collection of buildings (castle, outbuildings, farm, dovecote, chapel, etc.).
You can also discover the kennels of the pack of hounds and the breeding. Explanatory signs are placed at points of interest.
This year we also have an outdoor photographic exhibition "The Fabulous Journey of the Honor Gate".
Deck chairs allow you to rest under the 200-year-old chestnut tree in the inner courtyard where climbing roses add color to the ancient stone walls.
The chateau café is also located in the park.
Life on the estate
At the Château de Champchevrier, life is integrated with that of the forest that you can discover by a beautiful walk. More than a setting, it's a way of life. Ice is collected from ponds to conserve food. We always apply ourselves to a sustainable management of wood, respectful of the environment. We plant trees, we make selective cuts, which will partly be used for heating thanks to the large fireplaces. And for centuries we have hunted in the forest, to maintain a fair balance of wildlife. The trophy room bears witness to this.
The Champchevrier hunt is the oldest remaining in Europe. It was reconstituted in 1804. In 1825 the Prince of Condé saw his own hunting pack decimated by disease and it was Baron de Champchevrier who provided him with dogs to reconstitute it. In gratitude, the Prince de Condé gave the baron de Champchevrier the privilege to wear the Condé livery, which colors are « belly of hind » with « amaranthine » facings. We still wear these colors today.
Outside, the barking of the dogs sometimes breaks the silence and adds to the magic of the place. The kennels are home to a pack of 70 Anglo-French tricolor dogs who only hunt stags. Breeding is provided on the property and reminds - if necessary - that we live there all year round.
Map of Château de Champchevrier
1. South façade : Pavillon Francis Ier (16th century)
2. East façade (18th century)
3. Chapel (16th century)
4. Dovecote (16th century)
5. Gate of Honor