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What makes the stately home of La Montchevalleraie so delightful and affords it such special charm is being able to share day to day living with its owners. This feeling stems from the period furniture in this beautiful residence with its paintings and decor, a burning fire in the grate and the wonderful estate in which it is set. Clearly, La Montchevalleraie, a VMF (Vieilles Maisons Françaises) listed historical heritage site, personifies the art of gentrified country living, unobtrusive, cultured and in keeping with tradition. There are two guest rooms where you can enjoy a culturally enlightened stay, far away from the tumult of large cities or tourist centres.
There is an elegant triple bay window in the centre of the castle roof; a stylish pirouette, whose lines and mouldings suggest a Roman triumphal arch. © La Montchevalleraie
The castle’s beautiful dining room, laid out for a banquet. © La Montchevalleraie
Built in 1780 for notables in the Angevin region, La Montchevalleraie mansion is a sober, harmoniously proportioned home, typical of the attractive rural residences of the end of the 18th century. A central hall extends through the living quarters and ends in an elegant circular staircase. Extending on both sides are the two reception rooms, a dining room and the kitchen. There is a chapel in the west wing near the service quarters. This is easy to spot as it has an ornate belfry on top. The property remained in the hands of the same family for nearly 200 years.
See the 360° virtual tour of the castle.
The 1826 registry plan clearly shows the ‘U’ shaped plan of the mansion. © La Montchevalleraie
Programme of “Prince of Madrid” with Luis Mariano (1967)
In the 1960s, the castle became the residence of Marcel Lamy, director of Théatre du Châtelet in Paris. This prestigious theatre, the largest in the capital under Napoleon III, used to put on predominantly concerts and musical performances, including Diaghilev’s celebrated Ballets russes. It became known for its successful operettas and musical comedies. Quite a few stars and actors of that time would stay at La Montchevalleraie. Luis Mariano, who was a personal friend of Marcel Lamy and a frequent visitor, even organised one of his memorable birthday celebrations there.
Luis Mariano in the castle’s green salon on his birthday in 1968 © La Montchevalleraie
Whole sheep and pigs could be roasted in the vast kitchen fireplace. © La Montchevalleraie
Christian Boulmant Nomballais, who bought the castle in 1995, devoted many years to restoring it to its former glory. Following this renovation campaign, La Montchevalleraie has now once again become the elegant family home that it was in the Age of the Enlightenment. A knowledgeable collector, the new owner has furnished his home with numerous antiques, period furniture, Angevin paintings, silverware and porcelain, statuettes and stylish objets d’art. Not to mention old tomes, hunting trophies and kitchen utensils.
A perfect place to read in this little corner of the green salon. © La Montchevalleraie
The names of the guest rooms have not been left to chance: Marie-Antoinette, Princesse de Lamballe and Roi René… The castle’s proprietor will be delighted to guide you in your choice.
Among the paintings in Christian Boulmant Nomballais’s collection is a large, 18th century watercolour and pastel of a beautiful lady in all her finery playing a guitar. This is a portrait of Marie-Madeleine Guimard, a dancer at the Opera who was also a well known actress and courtesan in the 1760s. An astonishing lady, whose charms and artistic talents facilitated her introduction to the entourage of Louis XV – an environment where her talent found free reign in artistic salons and on stage. The painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard was one of her protégés. He painted several portraits of his libertine patron.
This fine pastel of “La Guimard” has been recently showcased in an exhibition entitled “The myth of courtesans” held at the Musée Maxim’s in Paris. © La Montchevalleraie
The landscaped park lands of La Montchevalleraie are just as famous as those atmospheric salons. The large pond opposite the chateau entrance is surrounded by a meadow dotted with ancient trees: sequoias, green oaks, Himalayan cedar, larch, tulip tree, Scots pine, etc. A little box tree feature can be seen in the main courtyard, while a pergola of traditional clambering roses, an attractive orchard and neatly trimmed hedges complete the picture, making it ideal for a walk.
A corner of the park on a sunny day. © La Montchevalleraie
La Montchevalleraie is located a few kilometres away from the Loire, celebrated for its plethora of castles. Those built by the kings of France and their courtesans from the end of the Middle Ages to the dawn of the Renaissance are absolutely remarkable – which is why they have been put the “World Heritage” list by UNESCO. To mention just a few: the castle of Plessis-Bourré, built by the treasurer of King Louis XI; the castle of Brézé, with its impressive underground passages; the castle of Montsoreau, made famous through Alexandre Dumas’s novel; the imposing castle of Brissac, seven stories high, or the castle of Saumur, residence of King René, the last Count of Anjou.
The castle of Plessis-Bourré is frequently used as a backdrop for historic films, as its period atmosphere has been so well preserved. © @lain G
The sculptor David from Angers is famous for the very expressive monuments of celebrated historical figures he created, many featuring artists. © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
In Angers, whose powerful fortress now houses the vast Tapestry of the Apocalypse, you can also admire the museum dedicated to the sculptor David of Angers, in the illustrious Toussaint abbey. The old town is a kind of open-air museum in itself, as its age-old facades have many a tale to tell.
The golden glow of a sweet wine after maturing several years. © Le Vin Parfait
There is a wealth of other discoveries awaiting you in the region, particularly if you enjoy wine and freshwater fish. The Loire Valley is famous for its white, rosé and light red wines as well as some delicious sweet wines. Among the names that have made the Angevin vineyards famous, are Anjou, Chaume, Saumur and Côteaux-du-Layon. These wines accompany freshwater fish so well, and are at the heart of local gastronomy: pike, perch, eel, carp, pike-perch, etc. And let us not forget game and poultry dishes as well as some elegant desserts: apple tart, candied pears and plum pie.
To fully appreciate the period atmosphere of La Montchevalleraie, do not hesitate to enhance your stay by reading a few books (nothing beats a good historical novel to bring old stones back to life). Listening to some period music may also be a good way to transport you back in time… A few suggestions:
Learn and understand
Books to savor during your stay
The perfect setting for a little music
Le château est superbement entretenu et le jardin est très romantique et apaisant. Au fond de son allée, comme protégé des curieux. Seuls les connaisseurs accèdent à ce château au charme et à l'élégance raffinée. La chambre de la princesse est très sympathique avec ce jaune qui rappelle les couleurs de jardin. nous avons aussi été touchés par les souvenirs de famille du chatelain.
Un bien bel endroit. On se croit vraiment plongé dans l'histoire et on revit les émotions que vivaient les aristocrates au 19eme siècle.
Le petit déjeuner aussi était très sympathique. Beau et Bon !
Nous avons fait aussi une promenade dans le jardin qui est ravissant et très bien soigné. Merci encore au propriétaire pour son accueil qui a su nous mettre à l'aise et nous donné des idées de visites dans la region.
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Château de La Montchevalleraie
Mr Boulmant Nomballais
Château de La Montchevalleraie
+33 2 41 61 32 24
Chateau’s own website
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