La Roche-Guillebaud Castle cleared for summer visits to the nature base Aventure de Sidiailles

This summer, Base Nature Aventure de Sidiailles, operated by the local public company (SPL) Les 1,000 Lieux du Berry, will, among other things, reveal the “Mysteries of La Roche,” in partnership with Sensitive Natural Spaces (ENS) of Cher.

The site of the castle of La Roche-Guillebaud, located in the Bourbon town of Saint-Éloy-d’Allier, across from the lake and the Arnon River, has just been cleared, on purpose, for these events that would take the form of storytelling, from the Middle Ages to the present day this.

“For two weeks, we haven’t seen him at all.”

The opening was necessary, so that we could reveal to visitors the preserve and other building remains no longer visible from the Belvedere two weeks ago, says Paul Rosset, base manager at Sidiailles. We couldn’t see anything, except when arriving by water or up the road. We had to do something. »

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“The belvedere was caught in the vegetation, and the old drawbridge mound was covered in ivy and trees,” describes Axel Kaiser, artistic agent for green spaces at 1000 Laux de Berry and nature facilitator. “Below, trees of various kinds rose to fifteen or twenty meters; we kept some of them, especially oaks.”

After the first survey, at the beginning of April, with Pascal Bravey, maintenance agent and ranger at the Sidiailles site, “to estimate the seriousness of the intervention and to secure everything”, the site was carried out for four days, in mid-May, with the participation of Relais 18, an association that usually cleans around the lake.

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“We requested and obtained the permits to be able to make a beautiful window on the castle from the Belvedere, notes Paul Rosset. Axel, authorized to intervene in hazardous environments, took care of the bridge piers and lowering the bottom.”

“The priority was to secure the site”

“The priority was really to secure this site, which is large and steep,” supports Sandra Boyle, Environmental Project Manager for the Cher department, a community that manages the ENS de Sidiailles among the 24 identified sites in the territory. “This is one of the actions of the future management plan 2022-2031.”

Axel Cazier is the one who will guarantee, throughout the summer season, the natural activities offered in Sidiailles Lake and in the recreation village of Goule pond, in Bessais-le-Fromental, the two ENS operated by SPL. He says :

This leisure project is an opportunity to promote the castle, as a monument, as a heritage. It’s not listed, and it’s mostly known by locals. Ultimately, I hope I can build on this momentum to further strengthen it. I have hundreds of ideas. »

In the meantime, he promises a true journey back in time for visitors who will join him this summer at La Roche-Guillebaud, a fortress erected atop a rock but at the bottom of a ravine, better suited for defense than attack, with a history rich in legends.

A fort whose inscriptions indicate that it is still inhabited, in 1482, deserted after the Wars of Religion in 1618, then stripped. “Only the walls are left, in 1780,” he refers to the municipal community of Pays d’Huriel (Allier), on the Tourist Plaque in Belvedere, explaining that “George Sand did not remain insensitive to the beauty of darkness. These ruins described in 1837 in Maubrat” .

Practice. La Roche Mysteries, Thursdays and Sundays, 4-6pm, in July and August. Price: 5 euros. Reservations at

Marilyn Listang

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