Château du Bois de La Noë
a 17th-century “folie Nantaise”
The oldest known documents attest that in 1688 Bois de La Noë belonged to and was inhabited by Isabelle Elisabeth Biré, whose cousin, Maurille Biré, was the lord of Château de la Sénaigerie in Bouaye. Isabelle and then Thomas Biré lived here until 1731.
• In 1749, Nicolas Arnous, a major shipbuilder in Nantes, transformed Bois de La Noë into a folie nantaise (country residence).
• After a few intermediate owners, the estate was sold in 1803 to René Giraud and his wife Marie-Anne Blanchard. The Giraud family remained the owners of Bois de La Noë through to the end of the 19th century. At that time, it extended over some 500 hectares with rare tree species from around the world, making it the largest landed estate in the municipality. With the death of Pierre Auguste Giraud in 1884, a long and difficult succession ensued. This resulted in the breaking up of the estate: the château and part of the grounds were sold in 1892 to the Count de Melquié, while the other lands, farms and houses were distributed among various local buyers.
• During the First World War, the 28th Company of the 45th Territorial Infantry Regiment was billeted in the village of Bouaye, with Château du Bois de La Noë and its outbuildings being requisitioned to house the officers and troops.
• In 1918, Château du Bois de La Noë became the property of Mr. and Mrs. Janning, who exhibited and sold paintings and antiques here. The grounds became a day outing for the inhabitants of Nantes, invited to come and stroll among the trees before enjoying a cool drink at the château’s dairy.
• In 1927, Mr. Bonnet, an entrepreneur in Algiers, acquired Bois de La Noë as a holiday residence in France, complete with every luxury and modern comfort. The estate was then entrusted to the management of a certain Mr. Huguel and became a luxury hotel and restaurant, attracting such personalities of that time as Aristide Briand, Paul Bellamy and Gabriel Guist’hau, to name but a few. Joseph Caillaux, then Prime Minister of France, was scheduled to dine there on 25 April 1932 following a Republican meeting in Nantes, but after a fire broke out in the west tower, the guests were forced to withdraw to another venue in Rezé. On the night of 31 July 1934, another fire broke out and spread quickly. Help was slow to arrive, and it was only in the early hours of the morning that the Nantes fire brigade finally managed to put out the fire. The damage, however, was extensive and the château was quickly sold in its gutted state to Mr. Guichaud, who restored it to live there with his family.
• During the Second World War, Bois de La Noë was under German occupation. In the post-war period, the Guichaud family made the grounds of the château available to host numerous parish shows and fairs. Under pressure from his heirs and with the urbanisation of Bouaye, Mr. Guichaud decided to leave Bois de La Noë in 1966, after having built a housing estate in part of the grounds and the woods surrounding the château. By this time, only a little over two hectares of château grounds remained. Four families followed one another until the arrival in 2011 of Patricia and Philippe Gonnord, who took over the gite and B&B activity started by their predecessor, and have since lovingly undertaken restoration work on the château.