Built during the 1760s near Valençay, the Château de Bouges offers an elegant illustration of the 18th century arts. When Claude Leblanc de Carnaval acquired the estate in 1765, the ancient edifice was razed and replaced by an Italian-style house.  The new  and more up-to-date building reflected the ambition of a wealthy master of the royal forges who had made a name for himself in the Parisian financial community and recently been given a peerage. A dozen years later, however, after Leblanc de Carnaval went bankrupt, and château was foreclosed and sold off. During the 19th century, several acquirers succeeded one another, including Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord and Henri Dufour, who restored the château and was responsible for the creation of an English-style park.

Subsequent transformation of the château was essentially due to the Viguier couple: Henry, director of a celebrated Parisian department store, and his wife, Renée. Acquired by them in 1917, the château recovered its initial vocation as a sumptuous residence. The Viguiers rejuvenated the premises by installing elegant 18th-century furnishings convincingly reflecting the quest for comfort and refinement proper to the society of the times. As the Viguiers died without any direct descendant, in 1967 the château was bequeathed to the French state.

Along with its Italian-style architecture, the charm of the Château de Bouges resides in its inhabited aspect. The visitor will find himself transported into a setting of 18th-century elegance. Following a visit, he or she should not forgo discovery of the English-style park designed by the landscape gardener Achille Duchêne in the early 20th century. During a stroll, winding alleys allow the château to be viewed and appreciated from different angles.  A stone balustrade separates the park from a French-style garden, in which boxwood embroideries and pruned yews are bordered with linden trees.

Converted by Madame Viguier into a “bouquetier” (flower garden), the one-time vegetable garden is dedicated to the cultivation of flowers composing the bouquets adorning the different rooms of the château. Last but not least, a visit to the commons with their stables, saddlery and orangery reveals the passion of Henri Viguier for equitation.



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