Friday, May 26, 2017

France, Loire Valley - Château de Serrant I

Château de Serrant is a Renaissance castle situated on the Loire Valley, 15 km west of Angers, and it is open to visitors.

Built over three different centuries, Chateau de Serrant has somehow managed to keep a unified look and it stood the test of time - 
a credit to its creators and builders. 

In the 14th century, Péan de Brie starts building the chateau on the foundations of a medieval fortress, 
but the project was halted with only the North Tower and half of the main building completed due to serious financial problems.

Ownership of the castle changed several times before Guillaume de Bautru, a State Councillor, purchased the property in 1636. 
De Bautru restarted the construction that had been halted earlier by using de Brie's original plans, 
and ensured that there was a design continuity. 
The central halls, two wings and the South Tower were added. 
Jules-Hardouin Mansart completed the work of de Bautru by building the chapel.

In 1749, the estate was sold by the last surviving descendant of the de Bautru family 
and was bought by Antoine Walsh, a ship-owner whose family were exiled Jacobites. 
As well as redecorating the interior of the castle, 
the Walsh family built an English style garden around the castle, pavilions, 
and the massive entrance gate complete with the family crest.

The château ownership was eventually transferred from the Walsh family in 1830, 
when Valentine Walsh de Serrant married the Duc de La Trémoïlle, 
descendant of one of the oldest French family (dating back to the 11th century), 
who joins its destiny with the castle. 
La Trémoïlle assigned Lucien Magne the task of restoring the castle and added several features, 
including parapets and cornices, and the coat of arms of La Trémoïlle family placed above the main entrance. 
In the 20th century it has been modernized (with cellars and the introduction of electricity) and embelished.

Today the chateau de Serrant is the private residence of Prince and Princess de Merode-Waterloo, 
who are descendants of the La Trémoïlle family.

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