The castle of Vassivière has architectural styles from different time periods. Between 1871 and 1888, Léonard Louis Vassivière had two square towers and two main buildings added on to the 17th century « maison bourgeoise » he had inherited from his family. This new neo-gothic building, with its recycled sculpted stones, fit perfectly with the romantic 19th century style, in the spirit of Viollet-le-Duc’s medieval renovations.
In the 1930s, Jeanne Pascal-Vassivière, Léonard Louis Vassivière’s daughter, began a great transformation project for the castle. She had the salamander décor added on above the front door, as well as a crenated square tower, extending the castle’s left wing.
In 1948, with the construction of the dam, the Vassivière family was forced to give up a great part of its lands. But it kept the island and castle until 1977. Christian Cotte, a descendant of the Vassivière family, explains:
« My grand-mother of course, was basically the boss, if I may say so in such terms. She had domestics. There was a cook and a valet. And then, there was my family : my parents, my brothers and sisters and I, we were all there. Essentially, it was very important to respect each and everyone’s work. So for example, meals were taken at extremely regular intervals at noon, and at 7pm. 15 minutes beforehand, we would hear a bell ringing to call everyone in, and this meant that we were to be at the table, changed, dressed and washed up and impeccably dressed, because it was unconceivable to make our staff, who had prepared our meal etc, wait. Everyone was to be respected.»
This video tells the story of the country residence that was transformed into a castle by the Vassivière family. Christian Cotte, a descendant of the Vassivières lived unforgettable moments here. Listen to his story.