Some country estates are designed to resemble fortresses. And then there are those that are cheerful and inviting – that is the essence of Château de Montcaud. The chateau was built by Alexandre Eugène Collain, who amassed a great fortune trading silk. In 1848, he purchased a large piece of farmland in the northern part of the Languedoc-Roussillon region to make his dream of owning a country estate a reality.
The worthy successor
After Alexandre Eugène Collain’s passing, his son, Florentin Collain, continued his father’s legacy. When his sister died tragically of malaria contracted during her honeymoon, Florentin became the sole heir, and as such he upheld his father’s humanist beliefs. He had a passion for horses and music, employed his own orchestra, and held countless concerts at the chateau.
A deep love of Provence
As mayor of the town of Sabran, Florentin Collain established himself as a patron of the local schools as well as culture and music. He funded a number of projects personally: it was thanks to Florentin that nearby Bagnols-sur-Cèze became the first town in the region with a working telephone. To this day, his generosity can still be seen in the form of the church in Combes along with countless fountains, all of which he had built with his own resources.
What was truly remarkable for the time was the work Florentin Collin did to help the working class of the region: farm workers, servants and labourers. As a member of the General Council of the department of Gard and the mayor of Sabran, he spent 38 years addressing the social issues affecting this group. As a result of his genuine concern for others and his good deeds, he was given the title of Chevalier, or knight, in the French Legion of Honour in 1934.
From country estate to hotel
Florentin Collain sold the chateau to his godson Paul Constant, who later bequeathed it to his seven children. The property changed hands numerous times, and was all but abandoned before hotelier Rudy Baur breathed new life into the estate in 1992 by turning it into a hotel.
Restored to its former glory
After closing in 2013, the chateau once again went into hibernation. In 2016, Swiss businessman Jürg Witmer acquired the property. His goal was to build a hotel surrounded by a landscaped park that would be clearly different and would set new standards in the region. He entrusted the renovations and the operation of the hotel to his son-in-law Rolf Bertschi, a hotelier with a wealth of international experience, and his daughter Andrea. Their job is to rekindle the building’s original spirit and give Château de Montcaud a new lease on life.
Alexandre Eugène Collain, who amassed a great deal of wealth as a silk merchant, purchases the Montcaud estate with 100 hectares of farmland.
1848 to 1892
He designs the chateau and its outbuildings and begins construction of both the buildings and the surrounding park.
Collain holds a large reception to celebrate the opening of Château de Montcaud.
Alexandre Eugène Collain dies. The estate is passed on to Collain’s only son, Florentin.
1892 to 1934
Florentin Collain is elected mayor of Sabran and holds this office for 38 years
Collain sells the chateau to his godson Paul Constant, who later bequeaths it to his seven children.
Paul Constant’s oldest son purchases the estate from the community of co-heirs. After moving into the gatehouse, he allows the chateau to fall into disuse.
The estate is sold to Rudy Baur.
Rudy Baur, Provence enthusiast and hotelier, brings the chateau back to life and opens Château de Montcaud as a hotel after two years of renovations.
Château de Montcaud closes.
Swiss businessman Jürg Witmer acquires the chateau and the surrounding park.
2017 to 2018
Château de Montcaud is comprehensively restored and renovated. The park is also replanted and redesigned according to the original plans.
The hotel reopens its doors in its full splendour.