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Chateau de Craontourist information guide
Address: Château de Craon, Craon, 53400
Tel: +33 (0)2 43 06 11 02
Opening Times: Jul & Aug | Admission Charge
Chateau de Craon is situated on a tributary of the Moselle, a strategic point on the route between France and Germany. Since the 13th-century, Chateau de Craon has been fortified to protect this strategic position with sturdy round towers and a medieval moat.
However, Chateau de Craon is also a fine example of French Rococo architecture. It was designed by Germain Boffrand who is also responsible for Hotel de Soubise in Paris. Château de Craon's interior was designed by Jean Pillement and Hubert Robert, two of the painter/decorators responsible for Versailles.
The first foundations of Chateau de Craon where laid by the Harouels (feudal Lords) but only the outbuildings remain from this period. The Bassompierre family succeeded the Harouels in the 15th-16th century and replaced the original structure with foundations that remain today.
The edifice added at this time is Renaissance in style and was largely influenced by Paris and the French court (it's owner François de Bassompierre had gained favour with the court of Henri IV). Bassompierre soon fell out of favour under Richelieu and was sent to the Bastille leaving Chateau de Craon unprotected. It was ransacked and it wasn't until 1720 that restoration work began on the exterior that we still see today.
Unlike so many other chateaux of the time, Chateau de Craon was not plundered during the Revolution because all traces of the French Crown were removed from the ironwork and masonry.
Chateau de Craon's 1st century Rococo style can be seen in its corner drawing room. The chinoiserie wall decorations by Jean Pillement are of noteworthy praise. Outside in the cour d'honneur, you'll see Corinthian columns that support open terraces on the upper level. The upper levels are adorned with graceful grillework.
Make sure you take a stroll around the beautiful park and gardens with stables and orangery which are open from April to November (except Saturdays). There are guided tours of the house itself in July and August (except Tuesdays).