History

History

Welcome to the Grand Chateau de Sommesnil. The Chateau and the surrounding area has a rich history

The Chateau of Sommesnil is a historic chateau situated in the Seine Maritime area of Normandy, in the area known as The Caux – a beautiful and historical part of France.

The Chateau has been restored to a very high standard and is available for short stays or events by negotiation. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

It is difficult to imagine a more uniquely or ideally situated property than Chateau Sommesnil which stands in this elevated location above the Caux valley, an area that has been at the heart of some of the most fundamental periods of French and European history spanning back over many centuries.

The chateau was built on the site of a medieval castle by Louis XIII who used it as a Hunting Lodge  He also constructed the two  Ornate Medici gates  in Honour of his mother Marie de Medici wife of Henry Vi Roi de France and father to Louis XIII

The property was then given to the Bigot family who were successive prime ministers of Normandy and at one stage there was one of the biggest collection of books in Europe, kept in the castle

One of the principal aspects of modern European history  for visitors to Normandie is the impact that World War II had on the area from the early days of the German occupation through to D-Day and beyond when the allies returned to mainland Europe finally defeating the oppressors.

In 1940 as commander of the 7th Panzers, Rommel took the surrender of the French Army and the Highland Division at nearby St Valery en Caux , after which he occupied Chateau Sommesnil as his base.

Throughout the area there is still much evidence of  WW2 war  such as hidden rocket sites and  massive coastal defences at one end of the scale down to simple but beautiful  51st Highland Division commemorative stained glass window and  Granite memorial in St Valery en Caux, , as well sombre but evocative elegance of the graveyards so immaculately maintained by local people on behalf of the War Graves Commission.

Continuing with this theme, it is impossible to overlook the Normandie beaches where the D-Day landings took place, locations that remain a magnet to visitors from around the world who flock to see these stark reminders of the Allies’ first hard won steps  in freeing Europe to become the  free continent it is today.

Reminders that are coupled with such historic locations as Sainte-Mère-Eglise and Pegasus Bridge and the many cemeteries’ which are the final resting place  of those soldiers who fought for  freedom in  the area and never returned home

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Weddings at Chateau Sommesnil - Find out more

Weddings, 2021