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French Castles: Chabenet

Château De Chabenet At Le Pont-Chrétien-Chabenet, Indre, France.

Château de Chabenet at Le Pont-Chrétien-Chabenet, Indre, France.

Château de Chabenet at Le Pont-Chrétien-Chabenet, Indre, France.

Chateau de Chabenet

A restored mediaeval castle in the heart of France, the chateau de Chabenet is the most beautiful castle I have seen in the area. As soon as you cross the entry gates you feel transported to a fairy tale world where you can expect any minute to see your Prince charming arriving, riding his white horse to take you away to a "happy ever after".

Chateau de Chabenet : France

Chateau de Chabenet, in the village of Le Pont-Chrétien-Chabenet, Indre, France

Chateau de Chabenet, in the village of Le Pont-Chrétien-Chabenet, Indre, France

Usually the Chateau de Chabenet is closed to the public as it is the property of a Swiss company. However, at least once a year they open the castle to the public so the ordinary Cinderella like me, can go in and dream for the day. Just imagine wandering around this magnificent castle with its fortified architecture, a perfect example of the Middle Ages. Walking along the battlements and parapets you will feel like a little girl again.

Like many other stone mediaeval castles, Chabenet's entrance is through a gatehouse. As you can see in the photo, the gatehouse is a structure made of two towers -one on each side of the entrance and one or more rooms above the entrance.

If you are looking for relaxation, all you need to do is enjoy the 15 hectares of castle grounds and woodlands. If you are a bit lazy and do not fancy a walk on the woods, you can just seat in one of the benches outside the building and enjoy life go by with the stunning panoramic views over the valley.

Château de Chabenet, A Fairytale Castle In The Heart Of France

The Chabenet Castle

Me in front of the Chateau de Chabenet in Central France

Me in front of the Chateau de Chabenet in Central France

Chateau de Chabenet from the distance

Chateau de Chabenet from the distance


Historical Background Of The Chateau De Chabenet

There is a long history attached to the castle as during the Middle ages castles had a central role in the feudal, political and military system. Castles served as homes, barracks, store houses, prisons and administrative centres.

The Chabenet castle was built under the reign of King Louis XI the Prudent (1461-1483) by Josslin du Bois, Lord of Montmorillon and councillor of the King. The original Castle was a great fortress. Fourteen towers guarded the property and to be able to enter one had to cross two adjoining draw-bridges.

As many other castles, Chabenet has changed of hands many times. During "La guerre de la Ligue" (The Nine Years' War, 1688-97) to confront the expansionist plans of Louis XIV of France to extend the influence and integration of Catholic powers, Chabenet served as a meeting point for protestants. Unfortunately, this fact caused the destruction of a great part of the castle, ordered by Cardinal Richelieu.

There is a small chapel built in the 15th century. An indispensible feature of a castle, the Chapel is charming as it is full of light. You can access the chapel from the outside or from one of the halls in the castle.

Since 1927 The Chabenet Castle has been protected by the Heritage Law.

Chateau de Chabenet

Chateau de Chabenet

Chateau de Chabenet

The main entrance

The main entrance

Chapel from the 15th century

Chapel from the 15th century

The Salon de la Chasse At The Chateau De Chabenet

This year after more than 6 months just admiring the outside of the castle from down the hill, every time I cycled nearby, I finally had the opportunity to visit thanks to the SALON DE LA CHASSE (hunting fair) which took place in the grounds on the 1st of June. It was a big fair, as hunting in this rural part of France is almost an institution, where people from all social backgrounds meet.

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The fair was a presentation of hunting material which included an exhibition of major dog breeds used for hunting, as hunting is mainly done on foot and with dogs. Different stands held by hunting associations of the area showed the local wild fauna. Other stands showed different hunting methods and there was also folklore from the area.

I enjoyed a very lively chat with a few gentlemen at the "pest control" stand. They were trying to explain to me the importance of controlling the population of certain species which cause lots of damage to the agricultures and locals. They also explained that pest control is different to hunting -something I didn't know- Hunters usually look for deer, hares, rabbits and wild boar; while "pest control" is done mainly by specialists to control the fox, ragondins and other pests.

If you are visiting France and fancy a hunting trip, you can check here for licenses. It costs around 90 euros to obtain a permit (if you already have one from your country the origin). Notice that in France hunting insurance is compulsory.

Although most of the fair took place in the grounds of the castle, the castle was open to the public so we could admire the interior as well as the exhibition on transport.

Hunting Fair At The Chabenet Castle

Salon de la Chasse, Chateau de Chabenet.

Salon de la Chasse, Chateau de Chabenet.

hunting dogs

hunting dogs

Wild boar

Wild boar

Who Owns The Chateau De Chabenet?

Currently, the Chateau belongs to Hapimag. They have accommodated 21 rooms in the carefully restored castle and two apartments in the Orangery, so if you are a member you can spend your holidays here. Despite being a mediaeval castle, all modern comforts including a swimming pool, are available. The only inconvenience is that you need to have your own means of transport. Only bicycles can be hired at the castle and public transport is almost non existent.

Chateau de Chabenet Aerial view

The Chateau de Chabenet was built by Josselin Du Bois Lord of Montmorillon during the second half of the 15th century. The castle was finished in 1741.

An amazing work of architecture, at the start the Chabenet castle had 14 towers and a dungeon.

An amazing work of architecture, at the start the Chabenet castle had 14 towers and a dungeon.

The Chabenet Castle and its Christmas market

  • Christmas markets in France
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Christmas market at the Chateau de Chabenet

Did You Enjoy Your Virtual Visit?

Chabenet Castle


Ruth McCollum from Lake Oswego, Oregon on May 01, 2012:

I love it.You look great too.Very very interesting hub!

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on December 01, 2011:

Harrie: I am really happy that you found an old friend of yours in here. Things happen in the strangest of ways ;-)

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on October 24, 2011:

Daff: Actually you can still buy some amazing castles in central France for almost "next to nothing" compared to house prices in big European cities.

Daaf Zwiers on October 23, 2011:

In the 80-th I was looking for a frensh castle. I had houwever not enough money for Chabenet that I visited an saw completely. It was for sale for only 6.000.000 french franks.

Now we laugh about this price.

The owner had renued the roofs and made the mistake of construction wrong hotelrooms.

It is good to see that the restauration is continued in a right way.

The castle is fantastic.

Malichi on August 28, 2010:

MJ's home...beautiful!

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on June 04, 2010:

CHABENET : J'espere etre invite!

CHABENET on May 22, 2010:

Mon nom est gilles chabenet et j'habite Limoges.Si je me mari un jour je le ferai au chateau de mes "ancêtre"......

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on May 14, 2010:

karmadir: it is as magic as visiting Disney and I would say that even more because you know that this is for real.

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on January 07, 2010:

Harlan Lewin: Chabenet is a small village near Argenton Sur Creuse. It is about 20 km. from Chateauroux (the biggest town with direct trains to-from Paris) and roughly about 3OO km South from Paris. They had a lovely Christmas market in the castle last month you can find the pictures of the market here:

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on February 11, 2009:

MamaDragonfly2677: The Chabenet Castle is a beautiful place, once you step in it is like going back in time, absolutely amazing.

Shannon from New York on February 09, 2009:

Beautiful place... Now if we could all figure out how to go back in time...?

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on June 07, 2008:

Chabrenas: thanks for the reminder. Chabenet is very near Chateauroux (on the main Paris-Toulouse line). You can only get there by car and the castle is only open to the general public once or twice a year.

There is not a set entrance fee as it varies according to the event held at the time. This year for the hunting fair the entrance fee was only 3 euros for adults and free for children.

chabrenas from middle of France on June 07, 2008:

Nice one, Princessa. But you should have told the folks where it is. Like a lot of well-preserved French chateaux, it's in the Loire Valley - near Poitiers in this case. Within driving distance for me, although I've never visited it.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on June 05, 2008:

I loved this more than I can convey in a comment. I first traveled to Europe from the U.S. in the early 1980s as a teenager. We toured many castles in France, among other countries (I also remember lots of cathedrals in Germany, France, Italy, and the like). I am ready to dust off my passport right now and hop on a plane. If only gas prices were not so high!

Lilymag from Upstate New York on June 05, 2008:

Oh, I am so jealous! I have always loved the middle ages, and their architecture, the simple times, yet so beautiful!

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on June 05, 2008:

Loved this, Princessa--beautiful pix too. Thanks for taking us with you to the salon de chasse. I had a great time:-)

Ricardo Nunes from Portugal on June 05, 2008:

Ohhhhhh... I wish I was a knight and found this lovely Princessa in front of such beautiful castle...

Thank you for sharing with us ;)

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on June 05, 2008:

Isabella: thanks for the "sexy mama" LOL

The How to hub: The Chabenet castle is so amazingly beautiful... and you may be surprised by how affordable it can be spending your vacation in a castle, certainly worth it!

The How To Hub from Australia on June 05, 2008:

This is beautiful - a trip back in time....I can almost imagine being there.

Isabella Snow on June 04, 2008:

Wow, sexy mama! And the castle's pretty nice, too! ;)

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