Chateau Descours

Chateau built by Auguste Descours by the artitect Francois Rostagnat from Lyon in 1983-1895. Auguste had married a wealthy Lyon woman, heiress of the coal company Dufournel, later Descours-Dufournel, Madame Descours wanted to make a “simple country house in the spirit of the “dauphinois” realised by the erection of this large neo-Gothic mansion, quite simple in its décor but built to a very high standard.

The Auguste Descours family then divided their time between their private hotel at the Cours de Verdun in Lyon (which also housed the headquarters of Descours-Dufournel), their grand Chateau de la Tour in Millery (richly renovated in the Italian style in 1903 for the wedding of their daughter) and this Chateau in Saint-Sixte. It is quite likely that Auguste Descours gave himself a paternalistic mission for the hamlet of Saint Sixte (reconstruction of the church, the creation of roads, etc.). This was the case for the vast majority of the aristocrats, who sought to assure the polls of the rural electorate of their domains with a somewhat seigneurial protectionist attitude would swing their way.

Auguste Descours, some photographs show him sitting in the great living room of the Chateau de Saint-Sixte, he died in 1904 as a result of an undetected appendicitis that turned to peritonitis… His brother André Descours (founder of the Descours & Cabaud group) took possession of the estate, he probably also resumed his protectionist role towards the local population, This explains why some local people remember those friendly Sundays at the chateau.

The property also includes two other main buildings, the guardians house (distinguished by its architectural treatment : cross, faux decor “bricks” , laundry, stables, outbuildings and  bread oven (disassembled).

During the German occupation, many young French people from the region were called to contribute to the cause. Some of them are refractory and seek refuge in the countryside. Gradually, these groups organise themselves into resistance movements. A group called AZUR was set up in the Saint-Sixte area and was led by Élysé Billon-Laroute, former mayor of Merlas. In April 1944, this movement received weapons through the Allies, but following a denunciation, the fighters were threatened by the men of the Wehrmacht and the Chateau de Saint-Sixte, considered the headquarters of the resistance was burned down by German soldiers  on June 21st, 1944, and would burn for 3 long days.  It has sat empty and in ruin since.

The heirs of André Descours will have André Rostagnat (son of the architect who designed the chateau) carry out a restoration project. This project envisaged the total destruction of the ruins in order to reuse only the foundations to rebuild a huge chalet in the Alpine style (in the end probably closer to the original wish of Mrs. Auguste Descours…). The project was never completed and the property was finally abandoned.

There are many ancient tales that say the site is haunted and at specific times you can hear the sounds of a dogs squealing and the sounds of horses hoves marching around the estate, others say the chateau is haunted by the souls of villigeois who would have been executed there, although we did not see a thing. nor found proof of executions taking place.

Chateau-Descours-1910

As it used to be in 1910

Video i put together taken at the same location

Images 2019