25 June 2006

Le château de Carrouges (and others nearby)

Carrouges is a village located about 30 km/18 mi northwest of the town of Alençon in Normandy. That puts it about 180 km/110 mi west and slightly south of Paris. Other towns near Carrouges are the spa called Bagnoles de l'Orne and the hilltop walled town of Domfront. Le Mans, Chartres, and the Normandy coast are all within easy driving distance.
The Château de Carrouges seen from the village, located on a hill to the north

The main attraction at Carrouges (pop. 800 or so) is an immense château that dates back to the 12th century. The red-brick buildings are surrounded by a 25-acre park.

The red-brick château at Carrouges

At Carrouges you are free to stroll around the grounds of the château. The main building is surrounded by a moat that is full of fish and has geese and ducks swimming on it. Guided tours of the interior of the château are available, but it wasn't convenient for us to take one.

The gatehouse at Carrouges was built in the 16th century

The moat with the gatehouse in the background. In the distance,
you can see the church located in the village of Carrouges.

The Michelin guide describes the château de Carrouges as "austere" and "imposing." The buildings that remain today were built mainly during the reigns of Henri IV and Louis XIII, between 1590 and 1630. There is, however, a bedroom called La Chambre de Louis XI, named for the king by that name who visited on August 11, 1473.

Moss-covered slate rooftops over red bricks at Carrouges

Nice brickwork and dormer windows at Carrouges

One of the things I especially enjoyed about wandering around the grounds at Carrouges was seeing all the animals living there. In the moat there were geese and ducks, along with large schools of fat carp.

The gander and the goose racing to greet the photographer,
hoping for some food I'm sure

Very near the château, I saw this small herd of cattle and
a man cutting weeds with a sickle. One of the bovines decided
to go for a swim and was soon joined by others.

In a channeled stream that fed the moat,
dozens of croaking green frogs splashed around

* * *

There are two other châteaux within 10 miles of Carrouges. One is the Château d'O, a moated structures that Michelin describes as "a highly original example of the fantasy employed by early Renaissance Norman architects." It was owned for many years by the O family, aristocrats who were close advisers and confidants of several French kings.

Le Château d'O, near Sées and Carrouges

Also nearby is the 18th century Château de Sassy, with intricate formal gardens and wide terraces.

Le Château de Sassy

1 comment:

  1. "The gander and the goose racing to greet the photographer,
    hoping for some food I'm sure"

    Mais, non, c'était uniquement pour ton charme :-)

    Sais-tu que la Queen of England a dormi en 1967 au château de Sassy (qui abrite de remarquables tapisseries) ? Et oui, ces têtes couronnées ne descendent pas dans les hôtels de chaîne, comme le dit mon "Routard" ;-)

    Bon, quand on ira voir les cousins qui habitent dans l'Orne, faudra qu'on aille visiter tous ces beaux châteaux :-) Bises. Marie qui n'a aucun mal à se distraire de ses copies vu... le temps pourri d'aujourd'hui... Ne souris pas, j'te vois déjà la moustache frémir, lol !!! Fait un temps à... aller à la Fête du Cinéma, ah, ces foutues copies...


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