Château du Champ-de-Bataille – the Castle of Your Dreams
TEXT: JAMES RAMPTON | PHOTOS © CHÂTEAU DU CHAMP-DE-BATAILLE
Spectacular landscaped gardens, Louis XIV interiors and an Indian Palace make Normandy’s Château du Champ-de-Bataille one of the most impressive chateaux in France.
Lying between two rivers – the Risle to the west and the Iton to the east, the Baroque Château du Champ-de-Bataille was built by Alexandre de Créquy-Bernieulle between 1653 and 1665.
Facing an ornamental lake the main building is in the style of Louis Le Vau, architect of Versailles whilst the interiors date from the eras of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI. Highlights include the dining room – with the dining table prepared as if you were about to sit down to an 18th century royal dinner, an impressive galleried library, royal bedchambers and the ‘Salon Louis XVI’.
In 1992 the Château was bought by internationally renowned architect, interior designer and garden designer Jacques Garcia, who has restored it and returned it to its former glory.
The gardens are as much of an attraction as the chateau itself. With over 120 acres of exquisitely landscaped designs, they include fountains and waterfalls, the Boxwood Lace Gardens (“Les Dentelles”, based on a drawing by Andre Le Notre), an eye-catching folly – the Temple of Leda, the Grove of Eden and the Grove of Erebus – designed to conjure up Heaven and Hell. Elsewhere there are rose gardens, aviaries, as well as tropical greenhouses with over a hundred varieties of orchid.
Another feature is the ‘Indian Palace’ which took some 10 years to build, with stones and materials directly imported from India. In the summer the gardens host open-air opera productions and musketeer shows. Domaine Château du Champ-de-Bataille is open seven days a week from 1 March to 31 December. The Indian Palace and tropical greenhouses are opened specially once a year on the castle’s annual “Heritage Days.”