Along the La Rochelle castle trail

Published 24/07/2020 - Updated 31/08/2020
Jardin du château de Buzay
Sophie Nogues
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Treasures of cultural heritage, buildings with remarkable architecture: there's plenty to discover at the castles of La Rochelle. Let your curiosity be piqued as you enter the intimate quarters of the de Montbron family; greedily devour the know-how of the Normandin-Mercier Cognacs; be enchanted as you rest your head at the estate; and awaken energised as you stroll around the castles, taking in all your surroundings! 

Discover castle life at Château de Buzay, a family property since 1771

Cultural heritage to enjoy in La Rochelle and the surroundings: the Château de Buzay is located in the town of La Jarne (10 km from La Rochelle).

Château de Buzay La Rochelle
© Sophie Nogues

A family home, the castle is still inhabited by the descendants of Pierre-Etienne Harouard and Marie-Agathe Petit du Petit Val, who were responsible for the construction of Château de Buzay in 1771. In 1787, their daughter Marie Louise Henriette married a young officer, Etienne-Pierre de Montbron: the current owners are their direct descendants.

Welcomed by the very friendly castle owner, Didier de Montbron, the 7th of his generation, your visit will continue with guide Elea, who will take you from the entrance hall to the king's bedroom, then from the summer lounge to the reception room, up to the dining room. 

Château de Buzay La Rochelle
© Sophie Nogues

It's not just a museum you'll be visiting, but a genuine residence. "It's my home," as the Owner explains affectionately. That's what makes this castle visit so special. Here, everything is reminiscent of another era, and yet it remains a truly lively place with a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere. You'll be greeted to this "Maison des Champs" like a friend, rather than a visitor. There, you'll discover not only the Château de Buzay, but also a little of the history of the Harouard and de Montbron families, through their portrait paintings and family photos.

Visit the Château de Buzay: information and details of public opening times

 

Visit the cellars of the Château de la Péraudière: behind the scenes of the making of Cognac  

At the Château de la Péraudière, the Normandin-Mercier family opens their cellar doors to reveal the secrets of Cognac production.  

Château La Péraudière
© Normandin-Mercier
Visite chais Normandin-Mercier La Rochelle
© Sophie Nogues

Less than 10 km from La Rochelle, at the gates of the commune of Dompierre-sur-Mer, enter the walls of this beautiful property, nestled in an exceptional natural environment. Initially a hunting lodge under François I in the 17th century, the castle was acquired in 1872 by the Normandin-Mercier family, who created the Maison de Cognac and built the current cellars.

Visite des chais au Château de la Péraudière
© Sophie Nogues

Accompanied by your guide, you'll have the chance to experience an enjoyable and fascinating tour of the distillery and the cellars, open to the public for the occasion. A gourmet ending to your tour: a tasting session in the castle's old kitchen with Cognacs and Pineau produced with passion by the Cellar Master, Edouard Normandin-Mercier. 

Visit the cellars of Château de la Péraudière
Discover regional produce

Alcohol abuse is dangerous to your health, please consume in moderation.

 

Spend the night in a castle in La Rochelle: The 4-star Hotel & Spa du Château

Within the Château du Clavier in Lagord, 5 km from La Rochelle, the 4-star Hotel & Spa du Château welcomes you for an stay. Entirely renovated in 2010, the Hotel offers 20 modern and contemporary rooms, in a location steeped in history.

Hôtel & Spa du Château La Rochelle
© Sophie Nogues

The Château du Clavier was built in the 19th century by the Hivert and Pellevoisin family, whose daughter Louise Hivert would go on to marry Auguste Godet. For several years, it was home to these great brandy merchants whose name – "Cognac Godet" – resonates as far as La Rochelle. After the horrors of the Second World War and a first fire, the castle was restored and went on to become: a summer camp, a stopover residence for travellers, a dental laboratory and then a recording studio. 
Then abandoned, the Château burnt down a second time before being purchased by Ludovic Bréant, the current owner, who renovated it with a view to transforming it into the Hôtel & Spa du Château.

In a nod to the castle's first owners, the initials "H" and "P" are emblazoned on the facade of the castle, just as they originally appeared.

More info and reservations for the Hôtel & Spa du Château

 

Wander from castles to beautiful mansions around La Rochelle

Departing from La Rochelle, visit the charming village of Salles-sur-Mer (12 km). There are no less than four castles in this commune, testifying to the rich past of this exceptional holiday resort of the 17th century La Rochelle bourgeois. Closed to visitors, some may however be spotted during a country walk through lanes, fields, woods and marshes.

Château de Cramahé La Rochelle
© Sophie Nogues

To guide you during your walk, embark on the discovery trail which has been marked out, dotted with information panels. The pedestrian route allows you to follow the traces of ancient castles populated with stories and legends, from Repose-Pucelle to Cramahé, and Roullet to l'Herbaudière.

Map of the circuit available on your phone with Loopi and on request from the tourist advisors at the La Rochelle Tourist Office.

 

Find on the map all the places and châteaux mentioned in the article