Chateau de la Mercerie visitor guide

Photo of Chateau de la Mercerie

Visit Chateau de la Mercerie, France

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The Chateau de la Mercerie is in the commune of Magnac-lavalette-Villars in the Charente department, in the countryside around 25 kilomètres to the south of Angoulême.

Visit the Château de la Mercerie

When the brothers Raymond and Alphonse Réthoré arrived here in 1925 at the Manor of Mercerie in Magnac-Lavalette they had the intention to construct a castle and a museum attached to the 19th century manor house that was already on the site.

Large gallery in the Chateau de la Mercerie

Construction of the castle began in 1939 with the Salle des Azulejos, parallel to and just behind the manor house and separated from it by a corridor. The construction was suspended during the war but then continued until 1975, finishing with the only facade in France to be classified and to have a length of 220 metres. It is sometimes referred to locally as the small Versailles Charentais.

Alphonse was the self-taught architect for the project and drew the plans and directed the construction. Raymond paid for it with the proceeds of an enterprise he ran that sold industrial washing wachines. Raymond also become maire of Magnac-Lavalette on six occasions, and also translated the writings of Charles de Gaulle into Russian.

After being abandoned for almost 30 years, in 2011 the Chateau de Mercerie began a programme of restoration thanks to the efforts of Didier Jobit, Maire of Magnac-Lavalette-Villars, and the Association of the Château de la Mercerie under Georges Mesnard.


Information for visitors

During your guided visit you will discover this untypical place: 12 rooms can now be visited and you will pass from one discovery to the next until you reach the final room, the Salon de Béruges, with its surprising secret.

You can also visit the exterior of the castle with its parkland, reconstituted rose garden, an arboretum and the tomb of the Réthoré brothers.

Visits to the Chateau de la Mercerie take place from April to November, in French every afternoon, in English tuesday mornings, and in Dutch on thursday mornings. Groups can visit the castle all year round (note: the castle is not heated in winter). Phone number for the association is 07 89 63 03 57, Mr Georges Mesnard .

Price for a visit: 7 € per person for groups of more than 30 people, 8 € per person in groups of 11 - 30 people, 10 € for individuals or groups up to 10 people, and under 12s can enter free.

Access is possible for handicapped except for the two bedrooms upstairs. Parking is free for cars and light tourist vehicles, and camping cars can park overnight.

The Salle de Beruges in the Chatau de la Mercerie

Information and photos kindly contributed by the Chateau de la Mercerie.

Attractions nearby

This region of the Charente is quiet and the countryside and small villages such as Charmant, Villebois-Lavalette and Mouthiers-sur-Boeme are the principal attractions (although none of these will detain you very long), as well as the various small churches to be found in villages nearby.

Visitors will also want to explore the more substantial town of Angoulême to the north of here, and we recommend you travel a bit further south-east to explore the lovely towns of Brantome and Perigueux.

See more castles in France. You can find more travel ideas in the Charente guide and the Poitou-Charentes guide.

See also Find Chateau de la Mercerie hotels

Photos of Chateau de la Mercerie

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The village of Villebois-Lavalette is pleasant to explore, and also has a castle to see

Villebois-Lavalette guide


Charmant is another pleasant Charente town, with a small castle and a church as well as the source of the river Boeme

Charmant guide


Torsac is one of several small but interesting villages to stroll around in Charente

Torsac guide


The 12th century church in roman style is the principal monument here in Mouthiers-sur-Boeme

Mouthiers-sur-Boeme guide


The village of Mareuil in Mareuil-en-Perigord was one of the four baronies of the Perigord and its castle can be visited in the summer.

Mareuil-en-Perigord guide


Angouleme is one of our favourite Charente towns, with several interesting historic monuments to see and nice views

Angouleme guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Charente

The French version of this page is at Chateau de la Mercerie (Francais)