A bit of history
This has to be one of the most extensively covered Belgian sites but nevertheless I'll try to give an overview for those who aren't familiar. The ChÃ¢teau de Noisy was built for the Counts of Liedekerke-Beaufort, a family with an illustrious history in the low countries and with important links to French aristocracy. ChÃ¢teau de Noisy was built as a summer retreat and as a modern alternative to the family seat, the nearby ChÃ¢teau de VÃªves, which had been abandoned during the tumult of the French Revolution. It is Neo-Gothic in style and repeatedly referenced as having been designed by the English architect Milner. Following his death work was continued by Pelchner, a Frenchman. Building began in 1866 and it took more than forty years for the castle to be completed in its entirety. By the end of the First World War it was in the possession of the SNCB (the Belgian national rail company) who used it as a holiday camp for the children of railway workers. It was occupied by the Germans at the outset the Second World War and the surrounding area was at the furthest reaches of the German advance during the Ardennes offensive. Following the war it reverted to SNCB ownership and it continued as a holiday camp until the 1980s. Increasing maintenance costs led to the holiday camp business model being uneconomical and a search for investors to redevelop the castle as a hotel were unsuccessful. A fire in 1991 sealed the fate of the castle, it has sat empty since and is now close to ruin.
1. After a long long walk we're finally getting somewhere close:
2. To be greeted an hour or so later by this emerging from the forest:
3. This is what's behind door number one, in this case:
4. The kitchens were far more intact than the majority of the site:
5. Much of which looked something like this, due to extensive fire and water damage:
6. A couple of the 550 windows this place has to offer:
7. Some of the fairly limited ephemera lying about:
8. The famous staircase and some of the beautiful vaulting that runs throughout the ground floor:
9. Another angle, this was probably my favourite feature and reminded me somewhat of trips to Lillesden:
10. A portrait at the bottom of the slope (not sure what happened to the stairs) leading up to the top of the clock-tower, which measures 183ft:
11. The aforementioned ChÃ¢teau de VÃªves as seen from the top of the clock-tower, the walls of which were littered with many familiar names.
12. A somewhat cliched self potrait from the top of the stairs:
13. Finally a rear view from the remains of the fountain and landscaped garden:
Thanks for looking! I really recommend a visit, despite the extensive damage the place is still, in my opinion, breathtaking.