Upper Normandy abounds with must-see sites that you can include in a multiday tour of Normandy. This is true whether you are planning a two, three, or four-day tour. One of the most compelling options is a chateau that is intriguingly named ‘Champ de Bataille’ (field of battle). The name commemorates a battle fought and won not far from the chateau by William Long Sword, better known as William the Conqueror.
In a country that has over thirty thousand chateaux (if you include a vast number that are ruins) and over four thousand five hundred that are in reasonable shape, the word uniquereally does mean something special. It is a term that easily applies to Vaux le Vicomte, Versailles, Fontainebleau, Chambord and Chantillly.
It also is appropriate for one that you may not know, Champ de Bataille, built between 1653 and 1665, at about the same time that Nicolas Fouquet built Vaux le Vicomte, the catalyst that provoked Versailles. Its proprietor, the Maréchal de Créquin was a member of the Fronde and a foe of Cardinal Mazarin, the regent who presided during the adolescence of Louis XIV, who exiled the Maréchal to Normandy.
Mentioning those three chateaux in one paragraph might suggest to you that Louis Le Vau, arguably the greatest French architect of the 17thcentury, had a hand in each of them, and you would be right.
Champ de Bataille changed hands countless times throughout the 18thand 19 centuries, and it suffered during the French Revolution, when all of its contents were seized and sold. In the 20thcentury it was acquired by one of the most illustrious interior decorators in France, Jacques Garcia, who has restored and refurbished the chateau in a baroque style. He also resuscitated the 90 acres of gardens that were designed originally by none other than André Le Nôtre. They are designated as one of the remarkable gardens of France and are at least equal in interest to the chateau itself.
Because of its location, it is easy to combine a visit of this chateau with other compelling sites in the neighbourhood: Chateau Gaillard, Lyons la Foret, Giverny, Rouen, the Abbaye at Jumiéges and Honfleur, to suggest a few. It also fits easily into our day tours from Paris in Normandy.
The interior of the chateau Champ de Bataille can only be visited at the following times:
- From April 1 to June 30: 14:15 to 17:00 only on week ends and bank holidays
- From July 1 to August 31: 14:15 to 17:00 every day
- From September 1 to October 31: 14.15 to 17:00 only on week-ends and bank holidays
- From November 1 to March 31: closed
The gardens can be visited from March 1 to December 31 every day of the week from 10:00 to 18:00
The adult entry fee is 30 € for the interior of the chateau and 15 € for the gardens. Payment is required in cash.