24 June 2015

Le Château de La Chapelle-d'Angillon

How's that for a long name? The village is called La Chapelle-d'Angillon, and it features a château on which construction began as early as the 11th century. I could do a lot of research about it — mostly looking for information in the Michelin guide to the old province called Le Berry, in central France. Problem is, our main collection of books is behind plastic right now.

Angillon, an 11th century château that, like most, has been modified and enlarged over the centuries

Walt's office room, just off the living room and sort of behind the fireplace, is being refurbished. There was an ugly crack in the ceiling, and some sections of wall were still covered in ugly, decrepit wallpaper that we never got around to taking down over the 12 years we've lived here. A contractor came in yesterday and started stripping off the wallpaper and filling the cracks. He carefully wrapped the built-in cabinets in the room in protective plastic, meaning we can't get to our books until the work is finished.

These geese were swimming around on the small lake next to the château.

So I've told you just about everything I know about the Château d'Angillon. Well, there is information on the internet, as you can imagine. The town of La Chapelle-d'Angillon has about 700 residents. It reached its highest level of population — nearly 1,000 — back between 1880 and 1910. It's located in an area about 90 minutes by car east of Saint-Aignan and about 40 minutes west of the famous wine village of Sancerre. That makes it about an hour south of Orléans and half an hour north Bourges.

The Château d'Angillon is available for weddings and other events.

It seems that in medieval times there was an little sovereign principality in this area that is now square in the center of France. It was called Boisbelle and nobody knows exactly when it was first founded. For a time, it was the fief of the princes of Henrichemont and Boisbelle, including the famous Duc de Sully, a powerful finance minister under the good king Henri IV of France (he was assassinated in 1610). For centuries, Boisbelle remained independent from the kingdom of France to the north and the dukedom of Berry to the south. It was finally sold to the French king in 1776.

Lily pads floated on the glassy waters of the lake at La Chapelle-d'Angillon.

Nowadays, the old Boisbelle territory is very rural and forested. Little towns and villages dot the landscape. As far as I know, no major train lines run through it, and no main highways either. It is crossed, though, by the Sauldre River, and many of the towns are called "whatever"-sur-Sauldre — Argent, Vailly, Brinon, Ménétréol, and so on. CHM and I had a good lunch in the town of Vailly-sur-Sauldre, you might remember. I posted about it here and here.

The writer Alain-Fournier, author of the novel Le Grand Meaulnes (1913) and a casualty
of The Great War of 1914-18, was born in La Chapelle-d'Angillon.

Okay, I've probably lost you by now. This is what happens when you have "an embarrassment of photos" — if photos are actually "riches" — and you don't know much about the places where you took them. You can either do a lot of research, turning your blogging into a real work assignment instead of the simple pleasure it ought to be, or you can just post the photos and blather on about incidental and tangential matters to fill in the gaps between images.


  1. wow great castle and setting..

  2. Fortunately for us readers of your blog, each and everyone of your posts is much more than blathering ...on about incidental and tangential matters to fill in the gaps between images. And, BTW, these images here are extremely good.

  3. I've heard blather, I've read blather, and I admit that I've blathered. So I know blathering, and what you do isn't blathering, Ken.

    Wait--am I blathering right now?

  4. I agree with Gosia, chm and Carolyn. You are connecting us with la belle France in a genuine way. I had never heard of Boisbelle before.
    BTW those Canada geese really get around!

  5. Ken

    Great pics and thank you about this bit on Alain Fournier. Didn't know about his birth place. Very interesting/edifying novel when one is only 15 y.o to read in French Litt.

  6. Well, the photos are great to look at, no matter how many :)
    Can't wait to see the big reveal when the work is finished on the room where the books are.


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