Deep in the rolling green countryside of the Loire Valley a magnificent hidden gem can be found. Located near the village of Treigny, the Château de Ratilly rises up like a lost magical fortress; its ancient walls have stood witness for centuries with stories to tell of battles lost and won. This magnificently preserved twelfth-century castle is now the home of inspiration and artistic creation. Taking the time to wander through its transformed workspaces will guide you to discover some of France’s greatest potters at work.
Go Potty for Pottery at the Château de Ratilly
Château de Ratilly was built in 1170 by Mathieu de Ratilly and was modified in the seventeenth century to accommodate the Religious Wars. The castle has been home to bands of looters, the Huguenots and the Jansenists amongst many others. After changing hands dozens of times, the castle was purchased in 1951 by Jeanne and Norbert Pierlot with the intent of repurposing the castle into a pottery workshop and artists’ haven.
The Pierlot’s Legacy
Jeanne Pierlot, a potter by trade, and her husband Norbert, an actor, took command of the Château de Ratilly and saw the great artistic potential of the space. What was to become the first Centre of Private Contemporary Art began as a remote artists’ commune offering internships in the creative arts with an emphasis on ceramics. The unique setting of the castle set deep in the lush green countryside of the Loire Valley has inspired both visual artists as well as musicians.
A tour of the grand Château de Ratilly will give you unique insight into the creative process of artists at work. The atmosphere may seem somewhat understated for such a grand historic monument and yet that just adds to its charm and the buzz that can be felt of inspiration in action. The Pierlot’s five children have continued their parent’s dedication to the castle and its new-found purpose.
If you visit in the summer, take advantage of modern art exhibitions and local music festival that the castle hosts. Our Classic Cruise aboard Renaissance traverses the stunning waterways of the Upper Loire in luxury and offers the unique opportunity to spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful Château de Ratilly and its permanent collection of local stoneware dating from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. Get in touch with our friendly reservations team to book your cruise today.