The Castle of the Battlefield
The Château du Champ de Bataille, located in Normandy, in Neuburg, in Eure, was built in the 17th century for Count Alexandre de Crequi-Bernieulles.
The Chans de Batailles is located 5 km from Neubourg, in Sainte-aux-Bosques, in the department of Eure.
It was built in the heart of the countryside of Neubourg , a few kilometers from the town of Harcourt , where there is another wonderful castle in Normandy .
Origin of the name
Scholars, historians and toponymists do not agree on the origin of the name Champ-de-Bataille . Several hypotheses are put forward:
- In 935, a great battle was to take place on this site between two families: the one that reigned over the Cotantin, led by the Count of Cotantin, against the family of Guillaume Longuet-Epe, commanded by Bernard the Dane, an ancestor of the Harcourt family. After the victory of Guillaume Longuet-Epe, the unity of Normandy was strengthened. This is the most frequently cited legend;
- the name would be associated with the ownership of the field by a certain Mr. Bataille;
- the name was to refer to the boar fights which occasionally took place on the spot where the castle was built;
- it would mark the victory of the Harcourt family over their rival Tancarville .
Construction in the seventeenth and seventeenth centuries
In 1651, Alexandre de Crécy, a rebel and friend of the Prince of Condé, was exiled by Cardinal Mazarin who ruled France during the minority of King Louis XIV under the regency of Anne of Austria.
Alexandre de Crécy, under house arrest, inherited from his mother, René de Vieuxpont, the forest where the meeting place of the hunters is located, near Neubourg.
He then decided to build a palace there that would remind him of the splendor of the court of the French kings, a palace he would never know again. The work lasted from 1653 to 1665.
About this castle, the only known documents are two plans of the gardens attributed to Lenôtre .
Due to a lack of prosecution in court, Alexandre de Crécy died in debt on 5 August 1702 in Paris and was buried on 14 October in the church of Saint-Hopportune-du-Bosque .
His nephew Gabriel René, Marquis de Maylock, would inherit the castle and debts. When he died childless at Champs de Bataille on September 11, 1724, he left the castle to his widow, Claude Lydie d’Arcourt, daughter of the first Duke of Harcourt . Much younger than he was, this one lived until 1750.
In May 11, 1753, the heirs of the Marquise de Mailock sold Bataille to Simon Zachary Palern, squire-general treasurer of the Duke of Orleans of Lyon, but he was forced to resell it in May 1754 by right of withdrawal from the family tree for £473,500 to Ann-François d’Arcourt , then to the Marquis de Bevron, nephew of the Marquise de Mailock .
The property of the house of Harcourt
In the middle of the XVIII – th century, Anne-François d’Harcourt , in 1784 became Duke of Beuvron is the castle of the main residence of Champ de Batim. Born in 1727, he was 27 years old when he bought the dilapidated house in 1754. He did not observe the kits of the XVII – th century.
The Duke of Beuvron carried out major works, notably the improvement of the present main staircase, the present vestibule, the present chapel and, in the outbuildings, the theater building, like the one designed by his elder brother, the 5th floor Duke of Harcourt , Chateau Harcourt Thury Harcourt .
In 1765 he expanded his holdings by purchasing the neighboring barony of Neuburg, which had originally been partitioned by the seignory of Champ-de-Bataille.
During the Revolution, work was suspended and the castle was unfinished. Duc de Beuvron did not emigrate, but withdrew to Amiens, where his security seemed better assured.
The castle, uninhabited and isolated, was plundered in 1795, after which it remained unoccupied.
In 1802, the heirs of the Duke of Beauvron, who died in Amiens in 1797, sold the castle and its 1,400 hectares to the Countess of Vieux.
This one, Marie-Louise de Marais de Saint-Aubin (Rouen, parish of Saint-Amand, June 2, 1759 – Rouen, July 4, 1844. ), was the widow from the first marriage of Alexandre Charles Marie du Mussel, Marquise de Torsy , Lord de La Rivière-Bourdet , president with a stump in the Normandy parliament , and remarried from 1790 Jean – Pierre Firmin – de – Vieux, a dragoon officer, colonel of the National Guard of Rouen under Restoration , chevalier of Saint Louis and in Legion “honor , died September 29, 1828.
On August 26, 1840, the widowed Countess Vieux resold the Château of Champ-de-Bataille and its holdings to Antoine Prieur, a businessman from Elbef .
A speculator, this one would resell the field, parcel by parcel. When he died in Elbeuf in 1843, he still owned the chateau, but it was no longer surrounded by a small area.
In 1903 it was bought from the latter by Count Charles d’Arcourt (1870-1956), then deputy senator of Calvados, a descendant of the Duke of Bevron, who restored it again, lived there, but sold it in 1936.
It was then purchased by the city of Neuburg for use as a shelter. After the war it was used as a prisoner of war camp and then as a women’s prison.
In 1947, the city of Neuburg put it up for sale again and François-Charles, the 11th Duke of Harcourt, nephew of Count Charles Harcourt, bought it.
The 11th Duke of Harcourt has restored facades, roofs, frames, replanted the park which has 110 hectares of woods with 50 km of tracked “star” and 15 hectares of French gardens.
He also restored the interior, furnishing it with family memories from the Château d’Arcourt in Tury-Harcourt, burned in 1944 by the German occupiers and of which he was heir.
In 1957 he opened the Château de Bataille to the public.
In July 1966, the thousandth anniversary of the House of Harcourt was celebrated with great pomp there with about 120 members of the French and English branches of the family.
Unable to pass it on to his family, the 11th Duke of Harcourt (1902-1997), in turn, sold the Château du Cham de Bataille in 1982.
After 1982, the Château was bought and maintained by an individual, Mr. Gilles Boutrolle d’Estaimbuc, who established in 1990, in part of the park, in the golf course , on the Champ de Bataille golf course .
Numerous lights and sounds and horse-drawn carriages surrounded the château until 1992, when it was sold to decorator Jacques Garcia .
Since its purchase in 1992, Jacques Garcia has been renovating the Champ-de-Bataille. He wanted to restore the interior of the château to a condition that would be in keeping with the Ancien Régime . The art and furniture collections are on display here.
The most important modification in the distribution of the rooms is the division of several smaller rooms in order to restore the large original volumes, and the creation on two levels in the private part of the castle of a vast library. the upper floor of which is served by a gallery. The library is supplemented by rarity cabinets .
Jacques Garcia keeps a collection of Japanese armor and ancient oriental weapons in the lobby of the private part of the castle.
The castle is the subject of several protections as a historical monument from May 14, 1952. : ratings in 1952 (some elements of the exterior), in 1971 (around the castle), in 1995 (outbuildings, park) and entrance in 1995 (park).
Description of the castle
Built according to a square plan, the castle consists of two large buildings facing each other according to identical architecture, each responding to the other symmetrically on each side of the courtyard.
On the entrance side they are connected by a gallery topped by a balustrade and pierced by a portico; to the side of the park is a low wall with pilasters connected by bars: in the center a monumental door is surmounted by allegorical statues representing the four elements.
The dwelling house and outbuildings are 80 meters long, with a brick and stone facade on two levels, topped by a slate roof.
The style of architecture is classical, the play of colors and volumes forms a harmonious whole.
The central pavilion of each wing is decorated with a triangular pediment with battle trophies.
The main facade is decorated with busts of Roman emperors. This principle may resemble the arrangements made by Jules Arduin-Mansard at the Palace of Versailles on the facades overlooking the marble courtyard.
In the watchtowers adorning the corners of the building, there appears to be a resurrection of the military functions of the building’s sponsor.
The chapel dedicated to St. Alexander was completed in 1785.
A current visit to the Grand Apartments reveals in particular the impressive Hercules Salon and the sumptuous Parade Hall.
The public can visit:
- The vestibule of honor, converted by the Duke of Beauvron during the reign of Louis XVI;
- The guardroom or the salon of Hercules;
- the porcelain cabinet, which has a collection of Chinese porcelain and seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Japanese acquaintances;
- Salon of Louis XV;
- ceremonial hall;
- large dining room;
- corporate lounge, which has retained much of its original decor;
- billiard room.
The gardens are labeled as a ” Remarkable Garden.
In 1993, a violent storm knocked out most of the century-old trees.
Only part of the drawing escaped oblivion – a drawing that today is attributed without certainty to André Lenotre . This document describes the location of the Grand Terrace, the drawing of the boxwood embroidery, the old groves on either side, and the proportions of Diana and Apollo squares. These rare historical elements have been restored to the current gardens.
Refusing to allow the French gardens to be renovated, Jacques Garcia, owner of the château, in collaboration with Patrick Pottier, decided to create a modern work rooted in antiquity and the philosophy of humanity. This choice is illustrated by the symbolism of the seven stages of creation. These stages move from the material universe, symbolized by the body of the house, to the immaterial universe.
On more than 100 hectares of these gardens are scattered groves, French-style flowerbeds, boxwood embroidery, ponds, terraces, green staircases, ponds, fountains, modern and ancient factories and sculptures. Planted 60 thousand boxwoods, 10 thousand arbors, 35 thousand yews, 2.5 thousand lindens.
The first, mineral, includes the main building of the castle, the Grand Terrace and its outbuildings, the stone steps with sphinxes and the two swimming pools called the Cabinet de Marbre .
The extension of the Grande Terrasse leads to the Portico on the right, with the castle behind you and to the Alley of Sphinxes on the left. The Portico causes civilization.
Degree of Vegetation.
The Degree of Vegetation extends along the great axis to the circular pool. It includes the Dentelles de Buis (symbol of sprouting) in the center . They are bordered by green lockers.
On the right is the Bosquet de l’Erebus . Ereb was a creature that existed before creation. Son of Chaos and brother of Nix (the night), Ereb symbolized death in its fertile and necessary dimension because it is reborn. It resembles chaotic vegetation. In it, the remarkable Tree represents the primeval forest.
The Grove of Eden on the left . Eden refers to an earthly paradise. This Hebrew term belongs not to Greco-Roman mythology, but to the Old Testament. It encompasses the perfect, complete, and admirable being that experiences creation. It resembles orderly airy vegetation (a symbol of purity and abandonment).
The central part of this space, with its boxwood trees, is decorated with authentic statues from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The vases of the same period were brought by the present owner.
The degree of the animal.
At the limit of the plant and animal stages, the round pool, called the Source , is the embodiment of the original ocean; the dolphins inhabiting it already symbolize the realm of sea animals.
The animal step extends on either side of the promenade behind the Source .
On the right, surrounded by rose bushes, is the Salamander’s kiosk, reminiscent of the reign of the reptiles. It symbolizes rebirth at the end of Ereb.
On the left is the Ant-hill, symbolizing the insect kingdom. It symbolizes the perfection that dominates Eden. To the left stretches the Water Swan, which is crossed by pairs of black swans. It is reminiscent of the realm of birds. It is adorned by the Temple of the Treasury of Leda . Leda was the wife of the king of Sparta. Jupiter loved her and, to please her, transformed himself into a swan. From the eggs she gave birth came two pairs of twins, Castor and Pollux, Helen and Clytemnestra.
The Temple of the Treasure of Leda is an amazing resurrection of ancient Greece with its temple , and on either side of reflecting pools, arbors and vines. The temple, which is the pendant to the triumphal arches of the entrance to the castle, is in the Roman style. It is, however, the creation of Jacques Garcia. It consists of columns and antique statues from the Roman period cornice and stone blocks from the city wall of the Rouen corps dating back to the 13th century. The interior is lined with semi-precious stones. Built in 2003.
The degree of humanity
The degree of humanity includes an axis, a perspective called the Path, surrounded by two rows of twelve levels of water, which symbolize the dual material and spiritual progress of man.
The Path is lined with overhanging paths; the first on the left opens in the center at the place of representation, Théâtre de Verdure , evoking sociability, the second on the right opens at the place of meditation, the Hermitage (abandoned).
Degree of Consciousness
The Degree of Consciousness corresponds to the area of the water ladder called the Steps .
It symbolizes the transition from earthly life to heavenly life. Is this why the huge golden frogs are advised?
On the transverse axis to the right is a pavilion called the Volière d’Actéon (inaccessible in 2012 due to work related to the expansion of the garden). Often depicted in paintings for violating Diana’s privacy in the bathtub, this great hunter was turned into a deer by the goddess and thus eaten by his own dogs. He symbolizes mutation.
The factory on the left consists of items from the Château de Tuileries, destroyed by fire in 1870 during the Paris Commune.
The steps of the staircase framing the great waterfall are of Phoenician origin and are more than 2,000 years old. The great waterfall, in turn, is directly inspired by Saint-Cloud Falls, from which Jacques Garcia was able to make lead casts of masks and vases.
Degree of Light
The Degree of Light corresponds to the area of the great channel called the Reflection . It symbolizes the radiance of the spirit.
Le Reflet is 550 meters long. It is an artificial lake of one hectare.
Degree of Spirit
The Degree of Spirit reaches its highest point in the Sphere at the top of the column.
This garden, just after the Temple of the Treasure of Leda, is inspired by the Italians. A circular staircase leads up to the tower, which acts as a belvedere (public access is forbidden). From the top you can admire the park at 360 °.
This is one of those factories scattered around the park, less functional than the beautiful ones, but designed to delight the eye and the exotic and mysterious atmosphere they exude.
Between the Tuileries and the Belvedere Gardens the alley is lined with ancient statues, emphasizing the Italian character of this part of the park.
Squares of Diana and Apollo
The proportions of this part of the gardens were reconstructed on the basis of several documents found in the 17th and 16th centuries.
The squares are framed by aviaries on the garden side, where the chickens breed, and greenhouses on the outside of the park. One of them, the Orangery, serves as a Chinese salon (it cannot be visited). In the center of the Orangery is a summer lounge, high up on a loggia with a magnificent view of the gardens (closed to the public). At the foot of the loggia is the Diana Pool. It is a fountain decorated with many pearl shells (porcelain).
In this whimsical garden, mixed boarders are treated as a nourishing vegetable garden. The slopes, framed by green obelisks, are cut in such a way as to follow the shape of waves. In the middle, the basin is round, with a stream in the center. Throughout the basin, potted agaves with mottled foliage alternate with oaks.
Dream Palace Garden.
Its completed but not yet open to the public in 2014 (Update).
Château du Champ-de-Batailles, located in the Haute-Normandie region, between the communes of Neubourg and Sainte-Opportune-du-Bosc, in the department of Eure, is a 17th century Baroque castle built for Maréchal de Créqui.
A great battle took place on this site between two clans in 935 – the clan of Guillaume the Longsword, owner of the Normandy lands, and the clan of Robert of Denmark, owner of the Cotentin lands, who laid claim to the Normandy lands. Legend has it that Guillaume the Long Sword won and Normandy gained its independence.
Marquis Alexandre de Crécy-Bernielle (1628-1703) was arrested and sent to the provinces in 1650 by Cardinal Mazarini. There he built the Château du Champs de Bataille (1653-1665).
1992, when it was sold to decorator Jacques Garcia so that he could fully restore it, and continues the current garden creation in the French manner.
It was inspired by sketches of the original garden, long gone, showing the placement: the large terrace, broderies and bousquets, and the proportions of the Carrés of Apollo and Diana.
These features have been carefully reproduced, while the new features of the garden have taken their “manner and tone” from the model of the original. The garden is ranked by the French Ministry of Culture as one of the Famous Gardens of France.
Unfortunately, the history of this castle I found was very short. If you know any more interesting material about this beautiful castle, please let me know.
From Trepor to Mont Saint-Michel, history has left deep traces on Norman territory. Long centuries have crowned these lands with glory and recognition. Traditionally, since the first camps of Viking sailors in the ninth century, the Normans have been recognized as skilled builders of fortresses and religious structures.
Normandy’s Romanesque heritage is well represented by its numerous abbeys: the grand structures of Saint-Georges de Boscherville, Jumieges and Saint-Wandrille overlook the banks of the Seine; the remarkable Abbey of Men and Women (Abbayes aux Hommes, aux Dames) is situated in Caen (Calvados). Ambi (Hambye) at Manche, La Trappe at Orne, and Bec Hellouin (Ves Hellouin) at Éire were also the chosen sites of European spirituality. Mont Saint-Michel, with its abbey built on a rocky island in the center of the bay of the same name, remains to this day one of the most beautiful monuments in Europe. The Gothic period is embodied in all its splendor on Norman soil in its cathedrals. A special modest and peculiar charm comes through in the numerous small village churches, surrounded by thousands of years of yew alleys.
Normandy is a land of castles and fortresses, among which the Chateau-Gaillard, towering over the Seine Valley at Les Andelys, or the castles of Chateau d’O, Carrouges, Harcourt, Champ de Bataille and others. The peculiar character of Norman architecture is evident in stone and brick manor houses, in half-timbered houses with ledges, as well as in dovecotes and thatched-roof houses surrounded by apple orchards.
A historical mural would be incomplete without talking about the landing of Allied troops on Normandy beaches during World War II. Now in Normandy, the land of liberty, there is an opportunity to visit a veritable open-air museum where pivotal moments in human history come to life. Eight historical and cultural itineraries and major museums such as the Memorial de Caen or the Arromanches museums will help you better understand this page of history.
And I’ll remind you of my favorite chateau in France: the Chateau de Chambord of the Loire. Check it out!