The village of Chantelle
We have two cottage finished in Chantelle: La Maison des Constance and La Maison de Gabriel. Please click on the link beneath the photo to see the details.
As hard as it is to believe today given its size, Chantelle used to be a very important town in Renaissance France. Testimony to that are the Abbaye which is all that remains of the ancient Chateau de Chantelle, and the numerous houses with square towers, dated back to the 15thcentury. These towers were the stairwells of the manors built by the many noble-men who wished to be close to the seat of power of Charles III, Duke of Bourbon. The towers are hardly visible anymore, but if you look skywards when you walk around the sloping streets, you will be able to get a glimpse of some of them.
Another proof of the past power and importance of Chantelle lies beneath your feet: the many underground tunnels, carved from the manors to the Chateau and even – rumour has it – from the Chateau and ending in wells, thus enabling the Duke and his men to flee the castle if need be (or bring in people in total secrecy). These tunnels are not permanently open to the public, but we can always enquire for you whether a visit is possible.
The Chateau de Chantelle was constructed in the period 1100-1500 by the Duke of Bourbon, and was then widely considered one of the most beautiful castles in France.
When the Duke, then the richest man in France (and therefore a potential threat to the reigning king) was accused of treason by the king, Francois 1st, he fled to Italy. His castle was partly torn down by the king’s army in 1523. More damage was done to it by Richelieu in 1635. And the revolution in 1789 left only the buildings which now house the Abbaye.
Chantelle has everything you need for a typical Auvergne holiday, even though it would be a pity to miss out on everything the whole region has to offer.
However, if you just want to relax in the garden and do as little as possible, you will find the following on your door step:
- 2 bakers, one of which bakes the old-fashioned sour-dough paesou
- A butcher cum deli (co-owned by the mayor), where you will find exquisite French charcuterie, Charolais beef for the BBQ but also lovely local cheeses and farm eggs with dark yellow yolks, as well as the local walnut oil and Charroux mustard (although a trip to Charroux, only 6 km away is definitely worth it as well)
- 2 grocery stores, stocking most things you will need during your holiday
- 1 hardware store, if you should need more charcoal or all the random things hardware stores around the world seem to stock
- Hotel de la Poste, which serves simple and delicious fayre (the home-made foie gras is a personal favourite), and is especially lovely on a summer evening when dinner is served al fresco, under the pergola
- Natural beauty products from Les Benedictines de Chantelle even make ideal gifts for those back home.
And for cooling down during a warm summer day, the river Bouble at the bottom of the gorge is lovely and refreshing. The many hiking trails leading down there (just a short walk), and especially to the other side, all begin next to the Mairie.
Some dates for your calendar:
- 2nd weekend in June is the annual brocante
- 3rd weekend in June sees a medieval fete, where most villagers dress up and put on a murder mystery ‘Qui a tue Jehan d’Ecosse’ which attracts minstrels, knights, craftsmen and other medieval characters from all over the region.