Destruction of the Great Alley: recovering from the storm

Ravaged by a terrible tornado in June 2021, the Great Alley and the château’s grounds required our full attention for 2 years… and have now been completely replanted!

A terrible stormy night

Just after reopening to the public following the COVID-19 crisis, we were hit hard by a very brutal tornado on the night of 16 June 2021… The castle withstood the incredible force of the unusually southerly winds, but the parkland was badly damaged.

The Great Alley of two-hundred-year-old plane trees, the natural backdrop to the arrival at Gizeux, was devastated by this unpredictable and destructive weather phenomenon.

The fall of these trees, great witnesses to the sympathetic relationship between the village and its castle, was a shock for everyone and undoubtedly marked a very moving page in history.

In all, more than 250 trees in the park were knocked down, broken or weakened. However, we were very relieved that there were no injuries among the local residents.

Planting the seed of the future

After an emergency safety phase, we have gradually carried out all the work needed to restore the park to its full beauty and allow the biodiversity it shelters to continue to develop. Large and small animals, bees and insects all have their habitat here, and it’s up to us to make sure it stays that way.

Accompanied and advised by the DRAC Centre Val-de-Loire and reassured by the visit of Mr Sainsart, a Ministry of Culture specialist in parks that have suffered from climatic events, we were able to assess the strategy to be put in place.

So we set about replanting this alley and reconstructing the park, to restore this priceless forest heritage, so that future generations of visitors can also make a majestic entrance to the estate!

Our aim is to enable the park to reconnect with its history, by redeveloping it as closely as possible to the way it looked in 1829, as shown in this plan drawn up by the surveyor M. Collet for the Marquis de Contades-Gizeux.

Closing this chapter …

In the winter of 2021, the last traces of the destroyed trees are cleared away, and their stumps are crushed. The trees that had withstood the storm were still too damaged to be preserved to ensure the safety of visitors and residents, so they were felled. It’s the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one!

That same year, we launched a crowdfunding campaign on the Dartagnans platform, raising over €17,000 for the restoration of the park. The support of these 120 patrons is a great comfort to us and drives us forward. It’s partly thanks to them that the park’s restoration was able to be completed so quickly!

… so we can write the next one better!

In winter 2022, oak trees will be replanted in the Great Alley, as will lime trees on the large “horseshoe” esplanade. The Park is reborn!

In June 2023, we are pleased to introduce our patrons to the new Great Alley during our Patrons’ Day. The name of each of them is inscribed next to one of the trees, so that their contribution to the rebirth of the castle park is never forgotten!

Today, the young trees continue to grow, closely monitored by the castle gardeners… All we have to do now is watch them grow!

Before the storm

The damage

Restoration

© Château de Gizeux 37340 Gizeux

Château de Gizeux

37340 Gizeux

00 33 (0)2 47 96 45 18

info@chateaudegizeux.com

Infos / News

 

The château is closed for the winter.

 

Our guest rooms remain open until the end of November.