Even though we’re not in the Loire River Valley and all its castles, and we’re not even near the Cathar Country, yet the Ile de France region is home of several châteaux. And there’s not only the sumptuous and fancy palace of Versailles and Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte.
In Chaussy, at the heart of the Vexin, the Château and Domaine of Villarceaux are open to the public and the visit is free of charge.
Managed by the Ile-de-France region, the Domaine and Château of Villarceaux are accessible from April to November, from Tuesday to Sunday, in the afternoon between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. All season long, various cultural entertainments are provided.
To visit Villarceaux, you’ll have to get a car to go there. Then, once you’ve parked your vehicle, you can enjoy nature, the breathtaking landscape for an awe-inspiring stroll.
Let’s start with visiting the reception area where someone explains us the tour (it’s not mandatory”. We start with the estate, this vast, bucolic and very pleasant garden because in Villarceaux, we don’t suffer from the crowds like in the palace of Versailles. On the contrary. During the tour, we very easily count the visitors we walk by and who actually behave like polite neighbors. Here, everyone or almost says “hello”, wishes a “good appetite” and offers one’s help to take pictures. It’s not rare, at some point of the stroll, to meet absolutely no one and no one can be seen in the horizon.
First stop, the Tour Saint-Nicolas housing the estate source. Then, we climb to the “Jardin des sorcières” [Witches’ Garden] where grow all kinds of plants including rhubarb and where lay the ruins of a gibbet.
The estate is very well-kept and there isn’t one leaf that pokes out. We go along the varied lakes where peacefully swim some swans and gooses. We walk by many fountains put here and there.
In the middle of all this greenery, we breath (far from the pollution), we enjoy the views, we have a good time because it seems that time has stopped. When we’re there, we don’t want to look at our watch.
The chateau du haut is set upwards, as its name suggests it. If we follow the advised tour, we can start gazing at it from afar – it’s already impressive – before climbing up the hill showing the way. In comparison to your arrival, you enter the château at the back. But once you’re up there, take your time to enjoy the views, you look over the Vexin.
We visit some rooms on the ground floor of this 18th century chateau fitted like back in the days. We even see some hunting trophies.
We also advise you to go behind the château, to the gates at the back because on the right, there’s the Chapelle Saint-Michel and Saint-Antoine of Villarceaux that you can visit too. But, to make it and enjoy a stroll, follow the waymarked paths and most of all, don’t venture into the woods. Statues caught our eyes, but we didn’t have time to join them, the staff whistled at us because accessing the undergrowth is forbidden.
After visiting the château, we climb down to the lower part of the estate, where we end with a horse footbath from the 16th century (the ancestor of the spas, maybe) and the – rustic – bakery from the same time period.
Allow at least to hours to visit the estate and the château du haut.
If you’ve got time and if you can have lunch at 2 p.m., we suggest you a picnic in the grass. You’ll have a splendid time.
Villarceaux is certainly one of the most hidden but pleasant places in Ile-de-France.
From 22 August 2018 to 21 October 2018
Domaine de Villarceaux