A Neo-Renaissance Château
Surrounded by an immense park that stretches as far as the Bagnoles’ lake, this elegant bourgeois residence was built in 1855 for Anne-Marie-Catherine Goupil. Having inherited 65 hectares of woodland from her uncle, the future mistress of the house entrusted the works to the landscape architect David.
Built on a promontory, the neo-Renaissance-style château has a sandstone façade with large windows and sculpted mouldings. Two granite corner towers and red brick bartizans over the entrance add a medieval feel to the building. The double-sided slate roof is reminiscent of châteaux in the Sarthe region.
Since the merging of Bagnoles de l’Orne with Tessé la Madeleine, the Château now houses the town hall. The hall, wedding room and council chamber retain their magnificent parquet flooring and woodwork.
The arboretum in the château’s park
In 1859, the landscape architect David laid out the park and paths, and planted the first conifers. These conifers embellished 44 hectares of green space around the Goupil’s château.
He also employed a horticulturist who specialised in exotic plants to plant, acclimatise and look after the trees. In this way, a proper botanical collection of trees was established around the château.
Today, Bagnoles’ arboretum has more than 150 species of plants, including shrubs and trees, laid out over 15 acres. Here you will find around 20 sequoias including one that is listed as the second tallest in France. This Giant Sequoia, which is located close to the château, is more than 150 years old!
The Goupil family, mysterious owners of the château
The history of the château is closely linked to that of its owners, the Goupil family. When the two Goupil brothers, Jean and Louis (who came from a humble background) came back from Paris after the French Revolution they had mysteriously acquired a large fortune.
Jean bought land that had been confiscated by the state and Louis became owner of a large part of Tessé. They had “Le Logis” built in Place de l’Église and moved in with their wives. However, Louis’ wife, Anne-Marie-Catherine Goupil was in fact the daughter of his brother Jean! The couple had obtained special permission from Napoleon I to allow Louis to marry his niece.
When her husband died, Anne-Marie-Catherine had the château built, along with the stables, the orangery and the fountain. She lived there with her son and daughter-in-law. The château remained in the Goupil family until 1922 when it was sold at auction. To find out more about its history and explore the interior, join a guided tour of the outside of the château.