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Château du Parc Soubise
Once the home of the richest and most influential family in the Vendée the Château du Parc Soubise, near Mouchamps, has had a colourful, turbulent and often tragic history.
Inhabited during the 12th century by the illustrious Lusignan family, it
was transferred to the lords of Parthenay in 1245. It was home to
Catherine de Parthenay known as the Dame du Parc Soubise, a Protestant
and friend of the future King Henry 1V.
In 1771 it became the property of Pierre Bonfils, the richest merchant
in La Rochelle, who replaced the old Château with a new Château which
was much more in the style of the times. This rather austere building
with its regular facade has only the entrance porch with its two columns
topped by a shield to deflect from its severe lines. In 1784 Pierre
Bonfils was ruined and the property was sold to Count Charles Augustin
de Chabot. A catholic and deeply religious man he immediately decided to
add a chapel to the left wing of the Château, the plastering was done
by the Italian artist Vescovo.
In 1794 during the Wars of the Vendée
200 women, children and old men were shot in front of the Château, then
the Château was burnt by the “Colonnes Infernales” of Lachenay. From
that day onwards the Château has never been restored (except for the
roof), or lived in, and it stands like a ghostly silhouette, a reminder
of the atrocities committed on that fateful day.
Of the original medieval buildings only two farm buildings remain, the
magnificent barn (similar to an English Tithe Barn) and the other a long
building with a grenier above. The beautiful roof structure of the
grenier was built by the shipwrights from Mont Saint Michel, in the
shape and style of an upturned boat. It was built in chestnut because it
is less susceptible to wood boring insects. The main house, which
is still occupied today was built at the time of the new Château in1771
to house the concierge; it is in the Tudor style with a wooden balcony.
The Property is only open to the Public on the Journée du Patrimoine in September but you can get a good view of this magnificent property from the road.
The Parc Soubise consists of 750 hectares of forest plus about 27
hectares of lakes. There is an active hunt here called la Vénerie which
dates back over a thousand years. The Château itself is available for
functions from weddings to seminars
Images of the Parc Soubise
Video of Parc Soubise
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