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Return to Cahaignes; abandoned chateau update

Tucked away amongst our old posts are two about a chateau at Cahaignes, in the Eure region of Normandy.

Back in 2013 we had hoped to match an old postcard of a grand chateau only to find it abandoned and in an appalling state. At that time there were no fences or gates and the doors hung open. Inside we found beautiful, if crumbling elegance. If you haven’t seen them, have a look at our first photos. This is the postcard:


Later, in a flea market a rather plain postcard revealed the only photograph we know of the chateau interior taken when it was a home.  To our surprise the postcard was an exact match for a photo we had taken.  We posted the match and a few more interior views.

Chateau Cahaignes interior match for an old postcard, taken in 2014.
Chateau Cahaignes interior match for an old postcard, photo taken in 2013.

A few weeks ago, driving north from Rouen, the temptation was too much. Reports online made it clear the chateau was now owned and very private, but it would be interesting to see if any renovations had started.

The chateau is unchanged except for a large propriété privée notice.  There was also a lot of activity.  Numerous cars and lots of people.  Expecting to be turned away, we walked up and said hello.

The owner has started to secure the building and renovate.

It was a fashion shoot.  Pretty models dressed in costumes that crossed very modern with historic tailoring posed against dilapidated walls.

Behind ‘security’ a pretty model poses.

The organisers explained the Parisian lady owner will hire the chateau out to photographers and film-makers for a few hundred euros per day.   Friendly but business-like, they allowed us a quick look inside as long as we did not disturb the shoot.  And a chance to walk around the outside.  We are very grateful for their generosity.

The staircase looks unchanged.

The chambre with painted canvas panels of cavorting monkeys has apparently been stripped by vandals.  We could not see the room, but prefer to remember as we first saw it, still full of colour.

Just a quick look inside and no further than this as the photo shoot took up the main rooms.
Just a quick look inside and no further than the far right room as the photo shoot took up the main house. Small changes here; floor swept and a little graffiti.


At one end the rooms damaged by fire continue to crumble. This is the back of the chateau.









Back of the main house.
Back of the main house.









Taken in 2013, these painted panels have now all been ripped out by vandals.
Taken in 2013, these painted panels have now all been ripped out by vandals.


Normandy Then and Now
Hello! Shamelessly obsessed with Normandy, we are discovering fascinating corners of this delightful region by following a bundle of bewitching vintage postcards. Led by these carte postale, unearthed in brocantes from Le Tréport to Cherbourg, Alençon to Vernon, our travels are uncovering lots of: - hidden histories - awesome art - brilliant brocante (vintage goodies) - amazing architecture - fantastic food and some salacious (if historic) scandal! One of the many attractions of Normandy are the wonderful flea market brocante sales and shops that let everyone bring little bits of Normandy home. We post regular updates on brocante markets in the region plus insider info on where to find the best brocante emporiums.

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