In 1494 Louis Picart, magistrate of Troyes and Tournaisis, friend and chamberlain of King Louis XII with whom he went to Italy, undertook the construction of the Château d'Ételan. It was built on the site of a fortress which has been destroyed under the order of Louis XI. Of the medieval construction, only the cellar, the castle wall and the guard house dating from 1350 remain.

The castle was later converted to a 15th-century flamboyant gothic mansion. The building consists of two dwellings built from layers of bricks and stones and joined together by a magnificent stone staircase dating from the first Renaissance. As integral part of the main building, the Chapel, dedicated to Mary Magdalene, include stained glass windows, wall paintings and statues which characterised the first Norman Renaissance.

History or legend tells us that several kings and famous people have spent time at Ételan like Louis XI, Frans I, Catherine de' Medici, Charles IX with the future kings Henry III and Henry IV and later Voltaire (1723–1724).

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Founded: 1494
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

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User Reviews

Jarred Baigent (3 years ago)
Amazing history and architecture
Margarete Hartert (3 years ago)
Das Schloss mit den markanten Ziegelsteinstreifen wurde 1494 anstelle einer Festung errichtet, die auf Befehl Ludiwgs XI. zerstört worden war. Von dem mittelalterlichen Gebäude sind noch Keller, Burgmauer und Wachhaus erhalten. Das Schloss besteht aus zwei Gebäuden, sie sind durch eine prächtige Renaissance-Steintreppe verbunden. Die Kapelle ist Maria Magdalena gewidmet und besitzt Glasfenster, Wandmalereien und Statuen aus der Renaissance. Führungen für Einzelgäste und Gruppen sind möglich.
Camille Clement (3 years ago)
We were delighted to discover this gorgeous, privately-owned chateau, tucked away in the countryside. The owner Marc is ever so friendly and passionate about the property. He gave us a very enthusiastic tour. We particularly enjoyed being able to walk around the grounds on our own. There are three loops of varying distances, for people to meander in the Chateau's park.
Natalya Guzenko Boudier (3 years ago)
The château's architecture is so unique! The chapel is a gemstone. And the view from the château is amazing!
Julien Planté (3 years ago)
Constructed in a flamboyant Gothic style, the Château d'Ételan is a wonder of Normandie. The best stop you can make between Rouen and Le Havre.
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Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.