Mothe-Chandeniers Castle (France)
Nouvelle-Aquitaine See list of castles in Francia
La Mothe-Chandeniers, in Les Trois-Moutiers in the Poitou-Charentes region, about 200 miles south-west of Paris, has a fairy-tale air with its turrets and moat but has never been officially classified as a historic building.
Its oldest parts were built at the beginning of the 13th century by its owners, the Bauçay family. It was taken twice by the British in the Middle Ages and was sacked during the French revolution. In 1809 it was bought by a wealthy Parisian businessman, François Hennecart, who restored the building and planted a vineyard in the park, but retained much of the original medieval building.
Over the years the property passed to various descendants, and was inhabited by Baron Edgard Lejeune, who undertook a massive reconstruction in 1870 in a romantic style, and threw lavish parties in the castle.
In 1932, shortly after the installation of central heating, the fire devastated the building, destroying much of its contents, including an entire library of rare books, antique furniture, tapestries and priceless paintings. The region's firefighters fought to extinguish the fire, but could save only the chapel, the annexed buildings and a dovecote tower. It is estimated that the damage was estimated at several million francs at the time.
In 1963, the 2,000-hectare estate, including 1,200 hectares of forest, was bought by a retired industrialist, Jules Cavroy, before being acquired in 1981 by a former secondary school mathematics teacher, Marc Deyemer. Deyemer said he was unable to stop the gradual decay of the impressive building despite his best efforts. Since then, nature has taken over, with the green that emerges from the stone windows, from the turrets and from the balconies.