Rising from the ground like a monolithic castle is a baronial chateau in Roanne, France, that took shape in the 16th century.
The renaissance had begun, and Italianate architecture was replacing Gothic styles. Religious tensions were high between Catholics and Protestants. And Paris was humming – enjoying its first candle-lit street lamps, theater and ballet performances.
Some 250 miles to the southeast of the capital city, in central France, this stately mansion was going up near the Loire river and the busy trade port of Roanne.
One side of the multi-story house fronts a wide gravel lane. A center driveway, flanked by lawn, terminates in a large circular pad near the entry door. A decorative steep roof with shingles arrayed in an intricate diamond pattern sits above a smooth façade punctuated by gently arched windows. Three rectangular towers topped by mansard roofs add to the symmetry of the design.
On the opposite side of the mansion, six gabled dormer windows bring light into the uppermost floor. A decorative pediment tops the central tower.
The 9,149 square feet of living space starts on the garden level, where a roomy entrance hall opens to a reception room with a fireplace, a large dining room, the kitchen and a bedroom suite.
Rustic beams crown many of the renovated rooms. High ceilings make the living areas seem even more spacious.
Two staircases lead to four more newly furnished bedroom suites on the next floor. The top level has another en-suite bedroom and room for two more.
An apartment connected to the chateau contains a living room, a kitchen and four additional bedrooms. Other outbuildings are devoted to workshop and storage uses. Mature trees and beds of flowers complete the four acres of grounds.
In addition to serving as a private residence, portions of the chateau could be devoted to rental accommodations as Roanne has an active tourist trade. The commercial and industrial center boasts several chapels and castles, as well as an arts and archaeological museum with a noted Egyptology department. Known for its agricultural, wine and gastronomy, the area even has a Michelin starred restaurant.
Roanne, about 40 miles from Lyon and nearly 250 miles from Paris, can be reached by train, bus and car. The closest international and domestic flights are available from Saint-Étienne-Bouthéon Airport, about 45 miles away.