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The Chateau de Gérigny – Nevers

History of the house

For rent – a little chateau from the Hundred Years War which nestles among the vines in Western Burgundy

Will the Chateau de Gérigny with its 7 bedrooms, vast reception area and two spacious dining rooms become your “family” residence during your stay along the banks of the Loire? Its 15th century architecture and age-old decor are reminders that the splendid vineyards where it is located, just a stone’s throw from La Charité-sur-Loire, have a rich cultural heritage and exciting historical past.

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The large room of the dungeon, especially evocative © Chateau de Gerigny

An old medieval Motte

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The priory of La Charité-sur-Loire © Yann Gwilhou

The “Motte-and-bailey” of Gérigny is the first feudal construction built on the castle site. It was probably just a simple tower erected on a high point and protected by a wooden or stone palisade, like many others in France in the 11th century. It was at this time that Guy de Their, Count of Chalon, bequeathed his Gérigny lands to the priory of La Charité-sur-Loire founded by Cluny Abbey. From then on, the lords of this locality owed “faith and allegiance” to the monastery priory, which also benefited from a part of the estate’s farms and vineyards. Gérigny remained a dependency of the celebrated priory right up to the French Revolution (1789).

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Ramparts of La Charité-sur-Loire © Carroy

The castle in which you can stay today was built in the 15th century, at the end of the Hundred Years War. The town of La Charité (2 kilometres away) is then very strategically placed on the Loire, with its powerful priory and one of the rare bridges over the river. This stronghold changed sides several times during the interminable conflict, falling twice into English hands. In 1429 Joan of Arc besieged the town unsuccessfully, in an attempt to establish the sovereignty of King Charles VII, then residing in Bourges (50 kilometres away to the West).

A symbolic construction

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© Chateau de Gérigny

Gérigny’s fortified manor house, really built much more for comfort than defence, still has a medieval feel to it, with its water-filled ditches (moat), its corner turrets and tall pointed roofs, symbols of its power. It is predominantly square in shape. Two bridges provide access to the inner bailey. The seigniorial complex comprises a round tower which descends into the moat, a large square tower, a polygonal tower housing a beautiful spiral staircase and the apartments themselves which today open out onto a terrace at the water’s edge.

The chateau de Gérigny, particularly the living quarters, underwent renovation in the 17th to 19th centuries. Now it has been arranged to welcome families on holiday (or groups) with its traditional furniture (with a contemporary touch here and there), its spacious living areas and “old-style” kitchen as well as its period-style dishes and candlesticks.

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The perfect location to organize a family gathering with children and grandchildren © Chateau de Gerigny

Discovering the property

Give yourself time to absorb the atmosphere and charm of this location: the lavish country style of the reception area, the water’s reflection on the terrace, the vaulted kitchen ceiling imbued with delicious smells, the tricks of the light, the creaky floorboards and the proportions of the interiors … each room has its own period feel and atmosphere. Light the candles, throw a log on the fire, or lock yourself away to read or write, go round the moat in a boat or meet up all together around a big table… and forget the passing of time so you can enjoy this out-of-time experience to the full!

intoHistory TipStones, terra cotta tiles, oak floor boards or cement tiles … what will these surfaces tell you when you “listen” to them with your bare feet?

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One of the two dining rooms of the castle, in the mysterious atmosphere of the night © Chateau de Gerigny

A completely personalised welcome

Delphine and Yann Polge, your hosts at the chateau de Gérigny, have finely honed hospitality skills: you will feel truly at home here. A perfect setting for a family gathering, a meeting with colleagues or for the organisation of special private event.

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© Chateau de Gérigny

Your beds, fitted with embroidered linen sheets, will be ready when you arrive, and towels and soap are supplied in the bathrooms. In the kitchen you will find cooking oil, salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar as well as tea towels, sponges and cleaning products. A breakfast tray (butter, milk, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and home made jams) will also be provided.
There is a wide assortment of dishes: glazed earthenware, terra cotta, porcelain, glasses, crystal and silver-plate … and plenty of candlesticks to embellish your tables. At cold times of the year, the fire will be lit and everything you need to keep it going will be provided by your hosts. So that you can take full advantage of your stay, you may leave whenever it suits you, without having to bother with the cleaning at the end of your stay.

Should you require a cake, a gourmet plate or a caterer, Delphine and Yann will be there to help you.

 

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Facilities

  • 7 bedrooms (5 of which historical)
  • 10 to 20 guests
  • To rent as property for a week or for the WE
  • B&B room renting possible, if availability
  • Fitted kitchen
  • 2 dining rooms
  • Drawing room with fireplace
  • Wifi
  • Garden with terrace facing the castle moat and swimming pool
  • Spoken languages: English, French
  • Private parking
  • 2 kw away from the La Charité Railway Station
  • Families and children welcome

In the neighbourhood

The chateau de Gérigny is located on the borders of Burgundy and Berry, a stone’s throw from La Charité-sur-Loire, a town of art and history. Its 11th century priory, a masterpiece of Burgundian Romanesque art, testifies to the powerful influence of Cluny Abbey. Housing the second largest church in Europe when it was built, the priory acquired over 400 dependencies in the Christian world in a couple of centuries. Other sites worth seeing in the city are its ramparts, its old bridge spanning the Loire and its “lateral canal”. A “City of Books”, La Charité-sur-Loire is also home to numerous bookshops.

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Romanesque frieze on the portal of the church of the priory © Henri Moreau

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© Jessica Spengler

If you enjoy drinking the “Côtes de La Charité”, there will be no need to sing the praises of the nearby Sancerre and Pouilly fume vineyards. This region, synonymous with good living, is also home to the “Crottin de Chavignol”, one of the best goat cheeses in the Loire area. Lovers of gourmet food will be delighted to learn that several award-winning chefs are based in the vicinity.

Other cultural delights await you in the town of Nevers (25 km), Bourges and Vezelay Abbey (70 km).

To read, watch or listen to

To fully appreciate the period atmosphere of the Chateau de Gérigny, 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:

Learning and understanding

  • 100 Years War“A Brief History of the Hundred Years War”, by Desmond Seward
    For over a hundred years England repeatedly invaded France on the pretext that her kings had a right to the French throne. France was a large, unwieldy kingdom, England was small and poor, but for the most part she dominated the war. The protagonists of the Hundred Years War are among the most colourful in European history. Desmond Seward’s account traces the changes that led to France’s final victory and brings to life all the intrigue and colour of the last chivalric combats as they gave way to a more brutal modern warfare.

Books to be devoured in situ

  • Sir Nigel“Sir Nigel and the White Company”, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    Despite his success with his famous fictional detective, Arthur Conan Doyle’s first love was the historical novel and in his own estimation he wrote few better than the two presented together in this book. The scene for these adventures is England and France in the 14th Century against a backdrop of The Hundred Years War. Young Nigel in service to his king, Edward III, begins his career as a squire. It is the start of a ‘rite of passage’ journey which will include the Black Prince among other notables of the period, skirmishes at sea and ultimately the monumental Battle of Poitiers. “The White Company” continues Sir Nigel’s story as once again he campaigns against the French, this time in company with a new young hero, Alleyne Edricson.
  • French Spirits“French Spirits: A House, a Village, and a Love Affair in Burgundy”, by Jeffrey Greene
    When Jeffrey Greene, a prizewinning American poet, and Mary, his wife-to-be, a molecular biologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, discover a moss-covered stone presbytery in a lovely village some 60 km North to Gérigny, they know they have to live there. With an unabashed joie de vivre, they begin the arduous process of procuring their slice of paradise amid the wild beauty of the French countryside. “French Spirits” is the magical tale of their odyssey to become not just homeowners but Burgundians. In lush, lyrical prose, Greene recalls their experiences turning the three-hundred-year-old stone building — a “château in miniature”, which the locals believe houses numerous spirits– into a habitable refuge. Woven throughout this luscious tale are the pleasures of rural France: wondrous food and wine, long-held rituals and feasts, dark superstitions and deeply rooted history. A memorable feast for the senses, “French Spirits” will entertain and enlighten all who succumb to its charms.

Period music to be enjoyed on location

 

Some of the links below will enable you to consult the recommended titles directly on Amazon.com. If you decide to purchase one of these titles via this link, please note that intoHistory will receive a small commission on your transaction, which goes towards covering its running costs.

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15th century Chateau B&B/Guest House 1500-2000€/week

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Château de Gérigny
Pascal et Laurence Mallet
58400  LA-CHARITE-SUR-LOIRE
France
+33 3 86 57 52 86
Chateau’s own website

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