November 12, 2012

Château de Sarzay

The Château de Sarzay is a 14th century castle in the village of Sarzay in the Indre département of France. Château de Sarzay is one of the chateaus of the southern Loire Valley, which although close to a tributary of the Indre, but already adjacent to the foothills of the Massif Central. Like many buildings of this type in the Auvergne and Limousin, Sarzay had a rectangular form, flanked by 25-meter cylindrical high towers. The château was protected by two outer walls, and 38 towers. In the first period there was also a moat with three drawbridges and a 4-acre pond.

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The village of Sarzay in the Berry province acquired the title of 'City' in 1300. The parish was a dependency of the Archbishop of Bourges. The manor of Sarzay belonged to the Barbançois family since 1348. That was a family of knights whose sons distinguished themselves in the battles of the Hundred Years War. The family built the castle and remained owners until 1720. Their title was promoted to marquis in 1651.

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Name:  Château de Sarzay

Location: village of Sarzay

Province: Berry
Region:  Centre

Department: Indre

Country: France

Type:  Château fort
Start of construction: 1348

Condition: opened to the public


The construction of the castle was begun by Guillaume de Barbançois, the lord of Sarzy, at the middle of 14th century. The castle was built as a part of the chain of castles that were built by the French to keep the English forces at a distance during the Hundred Years’ War. Sarzay was at the edge of the kingdom of France, facing the English possessions of Poitou, Limousin and Aquitaine, and thus formed part of the first line of defense of the kingdom. During the reign of Guillaume de Barbançois were built six towers, the moat and pond, and a large surrounding wall. These towers were fairly short. Only chapel tower remained to our days of these towers.
In 1440, Jean de Barbançois added 32 tower to this construction. These were proper towering towers. The towers were crowned with machicolations.
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 Over time the financial status of de Barbançois family declined, and in 1719 their castle and also the entire village of Sarzay were handed over to Charles de la Porte de Montval. This family had the castle until 1836. The chateau had lived through the Hundred Years War, the Wars of Religion (1562-98), the Fronde civil war of 1648, and the French Revolution of 1789.
George Sand, in her  novel "Le Meunier d'Angibault" ("The Miller of Angibault", 1845), under the name of  "Château de Mont Blanche", described Château de Sarzay as "a very elegant castle, a long rectangle… has four towers at the corners, where there are smaller rooms".
Various other people owned the chateau for short periods and then in 1912 it was designated as as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture and left to crumble into ruins.
In the end of 1982, the castle on two hectares was bought by Richard Hurbain and his wife, Francoise, and their three sons for 790,000 francs. Hurbain pledged to restore the moats, build halls in the medieval style, and restore outbuildings as holiday accommodation.
Currently, the restoration is ongoing but the restored parts of the castle are opened to the public. Château de Sarzay is one of the most photographed monuments in France.

In the preparation of this article, were used some materials of websites:,,, and

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