History of Château de l’Epervière

 

During the times of the Lords of Brancion, l’Epervière was already known to be a fortress.
The first residents of the right wing (which still exists today) apparently were the Veillaufant family, around 1537. From these days, one can still see the remains of the moat surrounding the château. Many families of importance have lived at l’Epervière, one of whom was the Count of Clugny’s. They built the bridge at the entrance of the court yard (which you can still see today) in 1768.

The Castle

In 1788, Baron François Julien de Géramb, Knight of the Holy Empire (son of the famous Orion de Géramb, Magnate of Hungry and Minister of Joseph II, Emperor of Austria), gave orders to build the Château as what you can still see today. It includes the old bridge and the right wing from the former, older building.

He reconstructed completely the main central building and put a sculpture of a sparrow hawk on the roof of the pavilion. In 1825, Mrs Durand (born De Géramb) sold the château to Jean-Jacques Marie Huve, (architect to the King Charles X) and Cécile Caillat, his wife.

In 1829, the De Ronfand family bought the château, followed by the De Rotalier family who bought the château in 1834. The De Rotalier family sold the château in 1883 to a business man by the name of Mr Saunier..The following owners were then Mr Merlin and his niece, followed by the Count of Chalon and finally Mr Cyprien Gay, who dedicated 25 years of his life to save this historic building.

What’s in a name

The name “Epervière” is often mixed up with the word “epervier”, which is the French word for sparrow hawk. During the 19th and 20th century, there even has been a statue of a sparrow hawk on the roof of the castle.

However, the actual name “Epervière” is said to be a transformation of the word “perrière”. This is ancient French word meaning quarry. Indeed, the castle and the houses in the surrounding hamlet with the same name, are all built with the stones from this quarry….

Start of the Campsite

To try and finance the necessary investments and restoring work, Mr Gay created the campsite Château de l’Epervière in 1968. After his sudden accidental death in 1992, Mme Gay and her son Christophe continued to develop the campsite and restoring the château, making it a fine 4 star campsite since 1996

Since 2002, the Engel family runs Domaine du Château de l’Epervière and they continue to improve the quality of the campsite, resulting in obtaining the 5-star rating in 2013 and obtaining the Green Key environmental label in 2015.