The first of many châteaux that we explored when we visited this area on holiday, the Château de Carrouges is a short drive to the north-west of Alençon and can be reached either by main road (N12 towards Bagnoles de l’Orne) or, as we like to, by a much more picturesque and interesting drive via the forest of Ecouves. We like to revisit it at least once a year, as we find it looks so different depending on the seasons and the changes of light.
Built of brick and pink granite, the main château buildings are reached via an unusual turreted gatehouse which sits at the end of a long driveway accessed from the centre of the town of Carrouges.
The château is entirely surrounded by moats and in the grounds is a small chapel which houses exhibitions and local produce for sale.
The main château buildings surround a courtyard where the guided visits start. During the tour of the interior (guided tours 45 minutes to an hour) we heard about the many phases of its construction, which began in the 14th century and ended in the 17th century, of the chequered history of the families who have lived here, and the battles and wars that it has endured over the centuries. In these more peaceful times, on Sundays in winter the afternoon visits end with a chocolate tasting in the chateau kitchens.
All sights, places, events and places featured in this blog are easily accessible from La Basse Cour, our bed and breakfast (chambres d’hôtes) just 10 minutes from the centre of Alençon and 25 miles north of Le Mans.