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A JOURNEY WITH A HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL FLAVOUR

symbole buis boucéel

5TH CENTURY - THE ORIGINS OF BOUCÉEL

The estate of the Château de Boucéel has its origins in antiquity, since the name 'Boucéel' is derived from the Latin 'buxus', meaning a place planted with boxwood. It is known that this often indicates that there was a villa of the Gallo-Roman period in the vicinity. The land registry map shows traces of this ancient domain, located about 900 yards from the major Roman road between Condate and Ingena (Rennes and Avranches).

baie du mont saint michel

13TH CENTURY

The fief of Boucéel was formerly the property of the Verdun family. The chateau at that period was a large commandery of the Knights Templar with 4 towers, which was used as a hospice by pilgrims on their way to the Mont Saint-Michel.

famille Verdun et Pigace

14TH CENTURY

In 1327, Roland de Verdun went over to King Edward III of England. The King of France, Philippe de Verdun, thereupon confiscated the  fief of Boucéel and eventually captured Roland de Verdun, whom he had executed for high treason in Paris in December 1346.
The Verduns, who had remained faithful to the French crown, inherited the fief of Boucéel with the Pigace family in 1380 or thereabouts. 
About 1420, the two families cemented their alliance with the marriage of Hélène de Verdun and Jean Pigace.

 

Mont saint michel

15TH CENTURY

During the Hundred Years' War, the Pigace family provided three of the 119 knights who were victorious in defending the Mont Saint-Michel when it was besieged by the English.
In revenge, the Pigace family was dispossessed of the fief of Boucéel by the English in 1422.
On 17 June 1434, during the last English assault on the Mont Saint-Michel, the English were repulsed, and left two bombards behind. Dubbed Miquelettes or Michelettes, they were set up as trophies at the entrance to the Mont Saint-Michel , where they can still be seen to this day.
The fief of Boucéel was eventually returned to the Pigace knights at the end of the Hundred Years' War.

 

Amphernet

1480

Julien d'Amphernet, Baron of Montchauvet, married Françoise Pigace, Lady of Boucéel, daughter of Rolland Pigace, Lord of Boucéel, as his second wife.

Doynel

1670

In 1670, Angélique Anne d’Amphernet, daughter of René d’Amphernet, Lord of Boucéel and President of the Parliament of Britanny, married René Doynel, knight, Lord of Montécot, Captain in the service of the King.

boucéel ancien

1763 - THE BUILDING OF THE LAST CHÂTEAU DE BOUCÉEL

In 1762, the Marquis of Montécot commissioned Jacques Basché, geographer at the Ministry for Roads and Bridges and architect, to build a new chateau for Boucéel, the one that still stands today. Jacques Basché was present throughout the building works, which were completed in 1764. He took his inspiration for the residence from the country houses of the first half of the 18th century. Seen from the outside, the chateau is made up of a central building, rectangular in plan, prolonged by two single-storey wings. The main façades, built of dressed granite in a ternary pattern, are embellished with a central front of two different shapes: curved on the entrance side, and with cut-off corners on the garden side.
Inside, Basché laid out the reception rooms and the more private quarters giving special priority to functionality by including small concealed corridors in the floor plan. The wood panelling of the reception rooms, the Oval Salon and the chambers of the Marquise were made and sculpted by the joiner Jean-Baptiste Le Mazier, of Vire, in Normandy, to drawings signed by Basché.

 

fronton château de Boucéel

1792 - THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

During the Revolution, the Marquis de Montécot emigrated, but he returned incognito several times to visit his wife, who had remained at Boucéel. This secret relationship gave rise to the birth of two daughters, who were registered under false identities to avoid serious consequences for their real father, who was a wanted man at that time for the crime of emigration.
The Marquise, who was endowed with rare and priceless astuteness of intellect, demonstrated her tactical skills by wisely asking for a divorce, in order to protect the family property from confiscation. In 1794, she had the vestiges of armorial bearings on the façade of the chateau obliterated, as demanded by a national agent, and at the same time sued for the removal of the status of émigré that had been imposed on her husband.

 

illustration chouanerie bois rouland château de boucéel normandie bretagne

1795 - THE BATTLE OF BOUCÉEL

On 2 December 1795, after their victory at the battle of Bois Rouland, the anti-revolutionary Chouans reached the Château de Boucéel to rest.
On 3 December, the Chouan leader Aimé Picquet du Boisguy decided to break camp at dawn, because Republican troops under the command of General Pierre Quantin were converging on the chateau. Since troop movements made a confrontation inescapable, the Chouans went on the offensive. Advancing under cover of the moats, they succeeded in surrounding the Republicans and opening fire at close range. In haste to avoid the battle getting bogged down, Boisguy launched a fresh attack, this time on the enemy's flank. Assailed from all sides, the Republicans were forced to flee.

 

illustration pillage château de boucéel normandie bretagne

1796 - THE PILLAGING OF BOUCÉEL

In reprisal, the Château de Boucéel was pillaged by the revolutionaries in 1796. They destroyed all the furniture, books and personal effects, which were burnt in front of the house. That same year, the Marquis returned to France and took part in battles by the side of the Chouans, but after being wounded in battle, he eventually submitted to the Republic.
In 1799, the Marquise died, ill and exhausted by all the events of the last few years.
It was not until 22 July 1802 that the Marquis was granted amnesty and was therefore able to return to Boucéel, where he breathed his last in 1812.
By a court ruling of 1 September 1803, their two daughters born under false identities had been definitively recognized as legitimate children. 
In 1825, their heirs instituted proceedings against the State to demand reparations for the pillaging. On 1 June 1827, the family of Montécot de Boucéel was awarded compensation.

 

Affiche vente de Boucéel XIX siècle

1891

The Doynel de Montécot family at Boucéel died out leaving no heir, and the property was put up for sale.

blason roquefeuil

1896

Robert de Roquefeuil and his wife Jeanne Icery took the Château de Boucéel as their family home.
The Roquefeuils come of a very old French noble family of knightly extraction, whose earliest records are found in 988, when Saint Fulcran, Bishop of Lodève, well known for his acts of charity, donated his share of the Château Roquefeuil to the monastery of Saint-Pierre de Nant, in Occitanie.
In the 13th century, the Roquefeuil family was in danger of extinction because almost all its members had been killed in the battles of the Albigensian Crusade. Tradition has it that only one Roquefeuil remained, Arnaud I, a monk in the order of the Cordeliers. Anxious to perpetuate the illustrious name of his family, Arnaud asked the Court of Rome to relieve him of his vows. The Pope could not refuse this favour because of the ancient lineage of this house and the desire to preserve it. Arnaud I, now the head of the house of Roquefeuil and its last remaining hope, decided, when perpetuating it, to conserve the memory of his monk's habit, and took the monks' rope girdle as his armorial device.

 

portrait famille Robert de Roquefeuil château de Boucéel

1906

Count Robert de Roquefeuil and  his wife Jeanne Icery had three children, Nelly, François and, in 1906, Arnaud.

lettre de robert à sa fille Nell 1918

1918

At the age of 22, while Nelly was caring for victims of tuberculosis in the surrounding farms, she contracted the disease herself, and died. Her father, Robert, would write this poem in her honour:

 

Her soul was passionate, and generous
her heart, which harboured dreams of sacrifice
made to her country. Still so young and pure,
God took her to himself in those dark days,
when heavy lay his hand on ravaged France.
His heart elected, by compassion moved,
that from chastisement yet some hope might spring,
to reap bereavements patiently endured,
and mingle in his garnering flowers of blood
and flowers of innocence.

 

Robert de Roquefeuil

(Translation by Mark Harvey)

chronique illustrée arnaud de roquefeuil

1923

In 1923, when he was 17 years old, Arnaud de Roquefeuil began his diary. He could not take inspiration from other strip cartoons, because only illustrated papers existed at that time. The Tintin strip cartoon did not make its appearance until 1929. All unknowing, he was a pioneer of this art form. Arnaud drew his everyday life and the things he liked for his own pleasure, with no definite object in view. He could not conceive that in 1939 he would go off to the war and that this chronicle would become an important historical document.

1937

Arnaud de Roquefeuil married Nicole Camille de Felcourt on 12 May 1937. They would have 6 children, of whom Régis was born in 1949.

1940

During the Second World War, officers of the Wehrmacht occupied the chateau in the summer of 1940, but they only stayed three months because the chateau had no electricity supply. During this period, the Roquefeuil family had to cohabit with the Germans. Arnaud, a prisoner of war in eastern France, learned of his father's death in a letter from his wife.

1944

During the occupation, Arnaud de Roquefeuil was active in the Libération Nord network of the Resistance. He was denounced and was arrested by the Gestapo at Boucéel while attempting to destroy confidential documents in the chateau basement. He was deported in a train for Buchenwald, but fortunately never arrived there, because the railway lines were destroyed by the British Air Force on the day Paris was liberated, 25 August 1945.

lettre arnaud nicole de roquefeuil

1966

In 1966, Nicole de Roquefeuil fell victim to a motor accident and departed this life. A few years later, Arnaud, in his deep sorrow, wrote her a letter, which he concealed behind the hangings in his room. This letter would remain hidden for over twenty years, when it was discovered by accident during renovation work. In token of respect, the letter was replaced behind the new fabric when the work was completed.

 

For love of my dear little Nicole, it had been my dream to create a setting worthy of her here.
I wanted it to be delicate and refined, as full of grace and charm as of devotion and love…
in the image of her dear heart and her exquisite soul!
In spite of everything, I have fulfilled this dream.
I put all my heart into it.
True, she no longer needs such surroundings – where she is now is a thousand times better – but it was a labour of love for me to bring my design to completion.
My one desire is that those who live here in the future should know of the undying devotion that she inspired in me and how I worship her memory.

 

Boucéel, 13th August 1969

J.A. de Roquefeuil

(Translation by Mark Harvey)

nicole et ian de roquefeuil

1981

Count Régis de Roquefeuil married Nicole Rasigade, who bore him a son, Ian de Roquefeuil, in 1984. Nicole, a descendant of an ancient family of notables in Languedoc, persuaded her husband to open the property to tourism. It was the start of renovation works which would go on for several decades.

travaux toiture boucéel

1986

Renewal of the 60,000 slates of the roof and the 99 windows of the chateau.

1990 - 1993

Restoration of the former bakery, the pavilion and the gardener's cottage, all in ruins, as rented accommodation.

Arnaud de Roquefeuil château de Boucéel Mont Saint Michel Normandie

1996

Decease of Count Arnaud de Roquefeuil. His son, Count Régis de Roquefeuil, inherited the Château de Boucéel.

Nicole et Régis de Roquefeuil

1998

Régis practised for 27 years as a chiropractor in Paris, after which he and Nicole de Roquefeuil settled permanently at Boucéel. They decided to renovate the interior of the chateau as luxury bed-and-breakfast accommodation. This was an extremely innovative idea at the time. All the bedrooms were renovated and a bathroom was created in each anteroom. The chateau received its first guests in 1999.

Ian & Erika

2017-2022

A few years after taking a hotel management course, Ian de Roquefeuil succeeded his father at the head of the family business with Erika Castrillón, a lawyer of Peruvian origin.
Together, they undertook a series of investments and raised the standing of the business, all the while conserving the historic character of this 18th century building.
With respect for its traditions, and remaining true to his own character, Ian de Roquefeuil has added a contemporary finish to the Château de Boucéel. The latest improvements include soundproofed doors, period-style furniture brought back into prominence and the restoration of the Grand Salon.
Erika Castrillón, who loves traditional French cuisine, has set up a cosy dining room service with Peruvian highlights in the chateau's old farmhouse.
An Honesty Bar service has also been made available in the chateau, and numerous options have been added to the list of personal services thanks to partnerships arranged with external enterprises.
Out of doors, the park and the ponds have been cleaned, the swimming pool and garden furniture renewed and new animals acquired to highlight the rustic character of Boucéel.
In its new light, the Château de Boucéel immerses you in the refined atmosphere of a magical setting which will transport you on a tide of exquisite emotions distilled by the timeless spirit of the 18th century.