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.