The Château de Serrant is a Renaissance château built on the foundations of a medieval fortress. From the 14th century the castle was held by the Brie family. Charles de Brie was inspired to start modernisation early in the 16th century, but lack of funds meant the project was halted with only the North Tower completed.

Ownership of the castle then changed hands several times before Guillaume de Bautru, a State Councillor, purchased the property in 1636. de Bautru restarted the construction that had been halted over a century earlier. By using Charles de Brie's original plans and the same russet schist and white tuffeau stone, de Bautru ensured that there was a continuity of design. The central halls, two wings and the South Tower were added, with Jules Hardouin Mansart completing the work of de Bautru by building the chapel.

In 1749, the estate was sold by the last surviving descendant of the de Bautru family and was bought by Antoine Walsh, a shipowner whose family were exiled Jacobites. As well as redecorating the interior of the castle, the Walsh family built an English style park, pavilions, and a monumental gate complete with the family crest. The château eventually passed out of the hands of the Walsh family in 1830 when Valentine Walsh de Serrant married the Duc de La Trémoïlle. La Trémoïlle assigned Luciene Magne the task of restoring the castle and several features, including parapets and cornices, were added. The La Trémoïlle family still own the château, but in the 20th century it has been modernised with cellars and the introduction of electricity.

The castle is notable for the library, stocked with 12,000 books; the vaulted halls, originally home to the kitchens; and Napoleon's bedroom, which was never used by the Emperor as he stayed at the castle for only two hours.

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Founded: 16th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Leo Senra (7 months ago)
At the Chateau de Serrant, it was offered a guided tour 6 Euros more for me and my wife, but the tour was only in French. We took it anyway, and when we asked the tour guide to give a little bit of information I the end in English (he demonstrated that he knew basic English) he simple responded that the tour was in French and that he will not speak another language, since we are in France. It was a super rude treatment, at a place that is supposed to be for tourists. We simple went back and asked for our money. And left. So, unless you are French or speak fluently, this chateau is NOT for you. Foreigners not welcomed.
Gordon Woods (9 months ago)
Not sure why it justifies three Michelin stars. Good views but fairly dull interior. Didn't do the first floor though.
franky du 79 (9 months ago)
Beautifully furnished and top library. Guided visit is preferable.
Brittany W. (10 months ago)
Loved it. A piece of family history is always refreshing. Staff was kind but the guided tour is in French.
Miguel Eduardo Gil Biraud (2 years ago)
Very interesting castle! In the standard visit you get to see a couple of rooms on the ground floor, a couple of rooms on the first floor and get a glimpse of the to-be-restored rooms. Nice but not a must-see. The guided tour instead was amazing. Not only you will get the historical context of the castle but you will also get to see an impressive library (among the biggest privately owned in France), working rooms, restored bedrooms and a visit to the kitchen. If you are in the area I'd definitely recommend a 2h stop to visit this
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.