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Report 1980: Megaliths, Parish Closes and Cider - Part 1 Southern Finistère

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2011

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Page 22 of 26: Château de Trévarez

photo by MAW

Château de Trévarez

Château de Trévarez is about 5km south of Châteauneuf-de-Faou in the Forêt de Laz. There is a large car park off the road and the château is reached by a long walk through the trees past the splendid stable buildings.

It is a magnificent red brick building with decorative stonework, carvings and a slate roof, standing high on the hillside above the Aulne valley.

It was one of the last châteaux to be built in 1892 for James de Kerjegu who came from a noble, rural background. He read law and entered the diplomatic service in embassies in Buenos Aires, St Petersburg and Vienna. He married Laura de Haber who was the daughter of a wealthy banking family. He had social ambitions and built the château to impress. It took 11 years to build costing 5 million gold francs (about 18 million euros). He died in 1908 and didn’t really have time to enjoy it. It was used by his daughter for hunting parties until WWI. It was used by the Germans in WWII and bombed by the British. It is currently being restored.

The chateau is built on top of a cliff with views across to Chateauneuf-de-Faou. Entry is from the ‘back’ which has a large formal garden. This is now planted up with box and Santolina which are looking very unhealthy from an unspecified disease.

The doors have an open fretwork of cast iron and open into an impressive hall running the full width of the building. There are carved wooden openwork panels and large windows with views down to the lawns, chapel and across to Chateauneuf-de-Faou. There is now a small shop in the hall selling a selection of books. There are doorways leading into what was the library with wood lined walls with the remains of shelves and the large room beyond with a massive highly decorated fireplace. There are a series of display panels (in French, English and German) about James de Keriegu and the house. It had a steam engine to generate electricity for the lights and to work the lift. There was a cool room in the basement which had wooden cabinets lined with cork and sprayed with cold water to keep food cool.

The formal gardens include a long water display with a grassy walk, trimmed hedges and carved fountains. There are three feature fountains along the side of the hill and at the end is a cascade. Paths drop down the side of the hill and then loop back to walk below the ‘front’ of the Chateau with a bank of hydrangeas and rhododendron. There are no flower beds or herbaceous borders. There are several paths through the woodlands and on a nice day several hours could be spent walking in the grounds.

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