Plan d'architecte pour le Château de Moncley

Visit the exterior

The owners

In 1778, François-Félix-Bernard, Marquis de Terrier-Santans, and his wife Jeanne-Baptiste d’Arnaud de Prémont decided to build a large country residence where they could spend the summer and receive their friends and relatives with style.
They chose Moncley, which the Marquis had just inherited, and commissioned their architect from Besançon, Alexandre Bertrand, to design the residence.

The architect
Alexandre Bertrand

Alexandre Bertrand was one of the two most important neo-classical architects from Franche-Comté. The son of a Besançon cobbler and a talented artist since childhood, he was a self-taught architect. Working first as an ornamentalist, he then designed architecture projects.
His links with major Parisian architects, Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin and Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, enabled him to perfect his talent and compositions (from 1778, Bertrand supervised the whole project for the Besançon theatre designed by Ledoux).
He also modelled the Château de Moncley, undoubtedly his masterpiece, on the Intendance du Roi in Besançon, a palace completed in 1777 from plans by Victor Louis (now the Doubs Prefecture building).
Bertrand designed many aristocratic townhouses and residences in Besançon, including that of the Marquis de Terrier-Santans (1770-1775) at 68 Grande-Rue, Besançon.
He also completed the Château de Champlitte, which has several features that resemble Moncley.

As town planner and overseer for the City of Besançon, he was responsible for the beautiful Place Royale (now the Place du Huit Septembre). Finally, he also designed several gardens, including the Chamars public promenade in Besançon.

The
tour

At the Château du Moncley, you can take a full tour of 15 or so wonderfully preserved and furnished rooms, decorated with paintings and portraits illustrating the long history of the residence.

Some of the most iconic rooms in the château you will see are:

  • The atrium vestibule and main staircase
  • The dining room
  • The small salon
  • The rotunda grand salon
  • The Louis XIV salon
  • The small library
  • The large yellow bedroom
  • The small Toile de Jouy bedroom
  • The chapel
  • The wallpapered bedrooms

Overlooking the village of Moncley and the River Ognon, the vast stone residence has a courtyard on one side and a garden on the other. The architectural composition has the four façades reflecting each other in pairs. On the lawn side, the slate dome of the rotunda grand salon stands out against the tiled roof.

To the West, the façade overlooking the main courtyard is curved, as if to welcome visitors. The portico of an elegant Ionic temple marks the centre. On its pediment, the stone intended for the sculpture of the coats of arms of the Marquis and his wife has remained uncut.

To the East, the façade overlooking the lawn is marked by the impressive rotunda of the grand salon. The rotunda was part of the architectural tradition of the Château de Vaux le Vicomte (1660) and the Intendance du Roi in Besançon (1777, now the Doubs Prefecture building).

The main courtyard wings

The main courtyard is framed by two long, very horizontal wings leading to the farm in the North and the stables in the South.

In the style of Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, these wings are marked on the corners and arches by stone bossages and false bricks that contrast with the plainness of the unframed windows cut into the façades. They are topped by high towers, symbolic dovecotes designed to be reminiscent of the feudal Middle Ages.

The stable courtyard

Designed like a circular riding arena in a cubic volume, unfortunately the stables were never finished.

The courtyard is punctuated by arches, some of which are topped with attics, little towers with pyramidal roofs.

The arches feature stone bossages that reflect the light, as well as little tower windows.

The farm courtyard

Located below the château, the farm is similar in composition and decor but in a more rustic style: the courtyard is overlooked by a dovecote tower and the back of the main courtyard wing of the château, with two long pavilions that face each other.

The beauty of this courtyard is due to the rustic bossages on the lintels of the windows and doors, the arch stones and the pediments.

The kitchen garden and orchard

The very large walled kitchen garden and orchard, fed the noble family all year round (particularly when they resided in Besançon during the autumn and winter).

The main path through the kitchen garden follows the longitudinal axis of the château. It is reached by a neo-classical gate, flanked by two stone obelisks topped with pine cones composed of laurel leaves.