Top French Estate Tours: ‘Rochefoucauld Castle’ In Charente River Valley

The castle, part of the Rochefoucauld family fiefdom for a thousand years is concealed from the visitor’s eye. Passed the automatic entrance gates, a long tree-lined bridle path with park and woods on one side and outbuildings on the other, turns towards the end to reveal the impressive façade. The estate stretches the length of the village or perhaps the reverse.

“He who lives without madness is not as wise as he thinks”, one of François-de-la-Rochefoucauld’s maxims.

Ground floor: The entrance archway with its mosaic floor tiles leads, on one side, to a small lounge that opens into a through dining room featuring a beautiful coffered ceiling and kitchen that was moved up to this floor in 19th century. Behind the dining room is one of the four staircases and a small bedroom and ensuite bathroom.

First floor: Two more intimate lounges are to be found on the ground floor for a cosier family atmosphere. Four bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, two of which have their private toilet and a fifth one with a shower room. Two of the bedrooms are very formal, full of history and decorative features: they have seen visitors such as Charles Quint in 16th century and Queen Mum in 20th century. 

The library: Originally, a renaissance gallery linked the castle to the library and chapel. The library had always been part of an ensemble. It is located in the centre, built on the site of a former watchtower and features a vaulted ceiling.

The main courtyard: An ornamental pond is fed by water from the river thanks to a clever system bringing water up to a tank on the library roof and from where it is then poured. Under part of the main courtyard, there are large vaults, built together in 15th century with the consent of King Charles VII, with an additional defensive wall, after helping the La Rochefoucauld to reconquer their castle.

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