The 16th century Chateau of Nitray, near Athée sur Cher was built on the site of an older castle, most likely dating from the 13th century. This new chateau was commissioned in 1506 by Aimery Lopin, a very high ranking judicial officer attached to the court of King François I's mother, Louise of Savoy. Architecturally, Nitray is very typical of high status houses being built at this time.
|The former stables, now winery.|
The complex consists of the main house, 16th century, oriented east-west, and a number of outbuildings, gardens and courtyards. The eastern facade looks out over gardens, the western side on to the main courtyard. On the southern side of the courtyard is an older pavillion, from the 15th century, as are the other buildings forming the western boundary of the courtyard. The main entrance to this courtyard is flanked by two towers, the southern one having been turned into a chapel. To the north-west a dovecote with a well preserved interior completes the ensemble.
On the ground floor of the outbuildings there was stabling for seven horses now transformed into a winery. The estate has made wine for at least 250 years and today produces AOC Touraine wines. Upstairs there is a reception room which will seat 200 guests [link].
|The main chateau block and the hunting pavillion.|
The chateau was purchased in 1955 by the Brebart d'Halluin family, after the previous purchaser defaulted on paying the balance after auction. From 1967 to 1977 Etienne d'Halluin had an arrangement with his friend, pilot and aviation mechanic, poet, violinist and ceramicist René Fournier, and light planes were constructed on the estate. From 1989 the d'Halluin's son in law Count Hubert de l'Espinay took over the running of the estate and has concentrated on improving the wine and bottling and marketing it directly rather than supplying it in bulk to a co-operative.
Simon wrote earlier about the aviation history of the chateau [link].
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