The Natural Holiday Venue
Welcome to Château Bellenau!
The Natural Venue, ideal for your family and group holidays.
Whether you are wanting to book your family holiday in one of our self catering gites, cottages and apartments or visit our magnificent historic Château Estate with its parkland gardens we are sure you will be delighted with the choice of accommodation on offer. If you are, tell your friends and if you are not, then please tell us.
Why not have a look at the picture gallery of the ancient Château and gardens or find out more about the gites and their availability for your holiday accomodation, ideal for families or groups with a wealth to do and explore in the region. It is easy to get to Bellenau by road, sea or rail and our team will be pleased to welcome you when you arrive.
About Bellenau and a Brief History
The beautiful estate of Château Bellenau dates from 1426 and nestles in the stunning countryside of the Marais du Cotentin. Very little is known of the early history but the first records show that the estate was a horse farm for supplying horses to the king of France.
The Château came to life between 1717 and 1903 when it came into the ownership of the Lafosse family and the character of the estate was moulded by the wealthy and eccentric medic called Pierre-Etiennne-Joseph Lafosse (Pierre V). Joseph (as he was known) invested his life savings into a project of collecting rare and interesting botanical specimens, including trees and ferns which he collected and propagated in the micro climate of this part of Normandy. There are still many flourishing relics of the collection in the gardens that have been lovingly restored over the past 10 years including some magnificent mature specimen Sequoia, Quercus, Ginkgo and Araucaria trees.
The Gardens were constructed as the dream of Pierre-Etienne-Joseph Lafosse and include some remarkable features, there is a lake with stone grottoes and gazebos around the edges and an island in the middle of the lake with a former taxidermy studio where Joseph would study his specimens in peace and tranquility.
A chapel surmounts the spring that feeds the lake and a small cascade flows from it towards the stone belvedere tower with its panoramic views over the gardens and the Normandy countryside.
The early part of the 20th Century, saw the gardens fall into neglect and disrepair and part was even deliberately destroyed to raise money for the upkeep of the Château.
During the Second World War Château Bellenau was occupied by the Germans as a gun placement and look-out post. On 6th June 1944 the allied force invasion assigned a batallion of paratroopers from the US army 101 Airborne division (The Screaming Eagles) under the command of Colonel Howard Johnson to re-take the Château.
Early in the morning of 6th June, Bellenau became the first Château to be liberated by the allies and became a crucial strategic capture.
The restoration of the Château and its grounds began in 1999 when Lord Wavendon, an English Chartered Surveyor and explorer bought the estate and started the long work. The oldest buildings being the barns at the side of the Château were converted into gites during 2005 and have been used as holiday homes for visitors from all over the world wanting to find a base to explore the Normandy countryside and D-Day history.
The Château building itself has been closed since 2012 for restoration to its former glory and majesty.