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History & Concept

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A 5* Hotel listed as a Historical Monument

The history of the Château d’Audrieu is closely linked to the history of Normandy and its most famous representative, William the Conqueror. He became William II of Normandy in 1035 after the death of his father. He turned Normandy into a powerful duchy, which was independent of the Kingdom of France. Following his victory at the Battle of Hastings, William became King of England in 1066. His epic is illustrated by the Bayeux Tapestry, a precious embroidery from the 11th century, which is listed on the Memory of the World register by the UNESCO and preserved in the William the Conqueror Centre in the town of Bayeux.

The village of Audrieu, which was already known during Antiquity as Alderium, is only a dozen kilometres away from Bayeux. Traces of Gallo-Roman houses and a feudal motte were found there. The village also harbours the Gothic church Notre Dame d’Audrieu.

The château is situated close to the village. Its current architecture is from the beginning of the 18th century, but its history dates back to the 11th century. Originally, the seigneury of Audrieu belonged to the Percy family. One of the family members, William de Percy, participated in the battle of Hastings alongside William the Conqueror. According to the legend, Sir de Percy was William the Conqueror’s personal cook.

It is said that at Hastings he knocked out a few Saxons by hitting them with a skimmer. For this he was ennobled, became the first lord of Hastings and sired the dukedom of Northumberland. His descendants founded the Juaye-Mondaye Abbey (which is nearby and worth a visit) and built the château.

In 1593, Audrieu was passed down to the Séran family, following the marriage between Marguerite de Percy and Guillaume de Séran, who was a gentleman of the king’s chamber. He saw his land elevated to a barony in 1615. The château was sold during the French Revolution and returned to the Séran family during the Bourbon Revolution.

It became the property of the Livry-Level family, following the marriage between Nicole Saillard de Boisberthe, a descendant of the Séran family, and Philippe Livry-Level (1898-1960), who was a member of the French resistance, Free France pilot, former mayor of Audrieu and former MP of Calvados.

During the Second World War, the German army set up their headquarters here. On the 8th of June 1944, 24 members of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and two British soldiers were killed, in the orchards, forests and clearings around the château.

The château has been listed as a historical monument since the 27th of December 1967. It became a 5-star hotel and a member of the prestigious Relais et Châteaux Association in 1977.

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Architecture & Decoration

The château, listed as a Historical Monument, remains unchanged. However, inside, the architect Philippe de Lanouvelle, in charge of the renovation of the château and in agreement with the new management, made the decision to “rejuvenate” the whole interior whilst both enhancing the spirit of the time when the Château was built (1715) and improving comfort.

“Firstly, we took our inspiration from period colours and drawings that can be found in some reeditions of Frey or Canovas fabrics. Therefore, in the rooms, instead of having the same paint on all four walls, we have chosen to place Jouy wall covering fabrics on the wall where the headboard is and on one other wall, which gives a tapestry effect. The rest is extremely simple in order to avoid changing the original style of the château” explains Philippe de Lanouvelle.

Some details, such as gold, enhance the château, particularly the golden highlights for the mouldings on the first floor.

Regarding the new layout of the rooms, particular attention has been given to the beds, most of which measure 79” x 79”: ornamental headboards inspired by the 18th century and brought up to date; bedside tables built-in and highlighted with gold; lighting inspired by 18th century venetian masks associated with LED.

The Château d’Audrieu is furnished with classical background furniture inspired by the 17th and 18th centuries, with reference to its history and tradition. This furniture is completed with traditional seats from the Jean-Pierre Besse manufacture in the Vosges region, thus perpetuating the know-how of French cabinet-making.

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A Timeless, Luxurious and Relaxing Environment

Relaxing and walking in the open air:

A magnificent park, the charm of the “white garden”, the aromas of the vegetable garden and a calm swimming pool on the edge of a forest

The Château d’Audrieu rejoices in a 50 acres park and 12 acres of gardens landscaped in 1985 by the landscaper Louis Benech. They include a jardin à la française (French formal garden), an English garden, the “white garden”, the “rose garden” and a vegetable garden.

Alain Scelles, the gardener, started working at the Château as a trainee 27 years ago! This part of the domain has been completely preserved.

After a few steps into the Cour d’Honneur, the park appears as a harmonious jewel, with its two prominent pavilions, with French style flowerbeds in a refined, charming, unobtrusively luxurious setting and the endearing conviviality of property of character.

The English style park comprises tricentennial trees including numerous species: beeches, oaks, ashes, chestnuts and cedars.

This magnificent park offers over three kilometres of alleys where you can have a stroll and relax, while listening to the birds sing.

The guests also enjoy relaxing in the heated outdoor pool, hidden from view and surrounded by greenery. In 2017, a Spa will complete the wellbeing package.

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