Château Colimaçon

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Visited in July 2019 on a week long French tour with my faithful exploring partner Becci (Ninja Kitten) this was the 2nd location on the first day. I had read a lot about the locals keeping an eye out for explorers, and also the neighbour who used to own the chateau. Consequently, the plan was - and quite logically so - to park a long way from the chateau, down the road and walk back. So, upon arriving at the location in the afternoon, we parked right outside the castle next to a car already parked up, disobeying our own plans in the process! We stayed quiet and crept through the roadside bushes and could see 3 men milling about in the gardens. They weren't explorers as they had no camera gear, well, they just didn't look like explorers anyway. Not wanting to faff around with the thermometer nudging 38 degrees we decided to use our planned route in and see what happened. Once we had arrived in front of the chateau it appeared the 3 men had disappeared. When we were upstairs we heard them downstairs walking about. Instinct told us they weren't really a threat and we carried on taking photographs and after a while the 3 men had left and driven off. After this, we were left alone for 2 hours to explore the entirety of the building. Maybe the men were just having a look around?

 

It was very noticeable upon entering the building that there had been a lot of vandalism recently. The huge mirror in the open reception room on the ground floor was awash with paint, daubed over it with no concern for decency. The chateau has an interesting style with tapestries and mosaics adorning the walls and in many places exposed carved wood dominates the aesthetics. The main staircase is solid wood - albeit in a parlous state - and access to all floors can be gained from this staircase. Some of it has rotten away with mattresses placed over the gaping holes to allow foot fall. 

Many rooms are nondescript. Devoid of any furniture or frankly anything of interest. Other rooms have some appeal. Decay among the original features makes for photogenic matter. The large opened shuttered windows allow the afternoon light inside which to be honest is generally not welcome when trying to balance out the meter reading. My favourite rooms were the white rooms to the side of the chateau which opened up onto a balcony. I imagined those rooms being rest rooms, allowing the occupant to savour the fresh air coming in from the open windows and enjoy the views.

The name of this chateau; 'Colimaçon' - taken from the French 'spiral' - is a reference to the unusual 2nd staircase, a spiraling collection of tiled slabs arching up to the top of the chateau. Its simplistic design and  streamlined 90 degree cross-lines gives it an Art Deco look. It also looks like it belongs in a swimming pool rather than a chateau to be honest. It's the selling point of the chateau and is worth photographing but it's not the most attractive staircase out there by a long way. 

The exterior of the chateau is the most attractive. The two pointed towers extending above the rest of the building giving a romantic look to the exterior whilst large balconies sweep along the exterior of the building.

There is a little history to this location giving an insight into how it has ended up in this state.

In 1880, a first house was built upon the site whilst a 2nd house was built in 1897 next to it, and the two were sold as a complete entity in 1913. In essence, the two houses merged and that is what is seen today.  The chateau has had various owners - apparently - with the last being an Iranian business man who travelled between France and the United States. The neighbour of this chateau is the previous owner who obviously maintains an interest in it and also uses the land to graze his sheep. The relationship between the two parties had broken down due to the current owners non-committal to its upkeep and the current owner apparently abandoned the building for good in 1999 and left it to fall into a state of decay, both by nature and man.

Looking at the interior I'd be surprised if anyone decided to renovate. It appears a doomed piece of architectural history. Hopefully i'm wrong.