On September 19 and 20 2009 was “jour de patrimoine” (day of heritage) in France. Many museums and historic sites were open for free or even hosted special events.
We drove to the castle of Launay (château de Launay), where we had already been in June. In June it had been closed, it is only visitable from August 20 to September 30, two times a day at 3pm and 4pm. The owner holds tours that take 45 minutes for 5 Euros.
All of the buildings, except one that was built at the time of Napoleon I of France (1769–1821), are classified as “monument historique” (heritage protection). The other buildings on the cour d’honneur (court of Honour), stables and pigeonry, were built in the 16th century.
The pigeonry shows unusual wooden sculptures. Sculptures like that can usually only be found on religious buildings of the 16th century.
Pigeonries can be found at a lot of French castles. The pigeons and their eggs had an alimental use.
We were not allowed to go inside the pigeonry but we could look inside.
The castle had been garrisoned by the German army in the Second World War. It was used as a commander’s office. At the entrance there is still the word “Wache” visible which means “guard-house”.
The tour led through the ground floor of the castle, but it was not allowed to take photos there. The owner actually lives in the castle and wants to keep some privacy. The parquet floor has been taken out, cleaned and repaired and was put back in. The rooms are octagonal, symmetrical and have round walls. Many rooms have 2 fireplaces.
In the right pavilion is the old bakehouse, but it can’t be visited. In the left pavilion is a chapel.
There are around 2 km of hedges in the garden, that are cut in August for the visitors. The property is under surveillance since a burglary that happened around 10 years ago.
The huge beech in the garden of the castle had suffered under the drought at the end of the summer. There was a thunderstorm in the evening after our visit. The watering place on the meadow still isn’t full though.
The castle itself was built around 1730 on the place of an older castle. It was built in the style of Régence, except 2 “pagodes” which are baroque.
There have been only 4 families of owners, the Le Sens de Folleville, the Naguet de Saint Vulfran, someone else and the contemporary owners.
Château à Saint-Georges-du-Vièvre
The “someone else” happens to be the Lorilleux family who owned Launay for 50 years. I’m the grand daughter of the former owner and spent all my summers there.We are a very large family and the house was always full. Not like today…
Ah that’s very nice, it’s a wonderful castle. And yes today only the owner lives there in summer, so it’s like a retirement home for one person.