This 13th Century French Chateau is a Sleeping Beauty Waiting to Get Revived
In the town of Les Trois-Moutiers in France, stands Chateau de la Motte-Chandenier.
Surrounded by a medieval moat in the middle of a large wood, the chateau is truly a sight of marvel.
But the place has been left in ruins for so many years. With each passing day, nature is winning; another stone becomes dislodged by an overgrowth of strangling vines and what remains of its roof sinks a little lower.
The chateau was once the stronghold of the Baucay family in the 13th century. It was taken by the English twice during the Middle ages, but was repatriated later on. It then become one of France’s most popular castles, known for hosting lavish parties. The chateau was sacked once again during the French revolution.
In the early years of the 19th century, a wealthy businessman tried to restore it, adding a vineyard to the property. It was then passed on to a baron and esquire of Napoleon the III who rebuilt it into a romantic-style castle in 1870.
Fast forward 1932, then owner Baron Lejeune Edgar had just installed a new heating system when a fire broke out in the middle of winter. Only the chapel, the dovecote and the outbuildings survived.
Today, you’ll see it in pretty much the same state as it was after the terrible fire. Okay, maybe 75 years worth of decay and neglect had made it even more grim.
But just look at this place... even at this state it still inspires wonder and awe.
The chateau does have an owner by the name of marc Demeyer, a former math teacher who bought the property in 1981 from a family of farmers. He was hoping he could make the chateau rise from the ashes.
However, in 2013, in his interview with the local newspaper, he mentioned that after spending two years “killing himself” ironing plans for the chateau's revival, his efforts were “torpedoed by some people.” He didn’t mention who those people specifically were or why his noble efforts were being sabotaged.
One thing is known, in the 1980s, the forest land surrounding the property was sold to the French bank, Credit Lyonnais. The bank then sold the forest and woods piece by piece to several people. So today, the estate of the Chateau is actually owned by a number of people, some living within the outer moats.
Without the outer land for revenue, revival and preservation efforts has become more difficult than ever. A bitter subject for Mr. Demeyer.
A small group of people, made up of locals and heritage preservationists, and call themselves the Friends of the Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers, are trying to mobilise the preservation effort with petitions so this magical ruin can rise again – and hopefully open up to the public.
Sadly, their effort has thus far gone unanswered. In one of the last posts on the group's website in the “updates” section, the forum manager states that they’re giving up due to lack of motivation and interest in the chateau. It looks like they just hit one too many walls.
Hopefully, someone can get this architectural and historical gem rightfully recognised as a national heritage site, before it’s too late.
Here's a stunning drone footage of Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers I stumbled upon that got me writing this article.