Stage town for the 4th time
Prefecture of Indre (36)
Population: 43,440 (Castelroussins, Castelroussines) and 73,700 in the 14 communes of the agglomeration community.
Personalities: Henri-Gatien Bertrand (General of the Empire), Gérard Depardieu (actor), Michel Denisot (journalist), Christine Angot (writer), Jeannette Bougrab (lawyer, politician)
Specialities: Berrichon pâté, potato galette, Reuilly, Valençay and Châteaumeillant wines, Valençay and Pouligny goat cheese
Sport: La Berrichonne de Châteauroux (football, league 2).
Culture: DARC festival dedicated to dance and singing (August), Les Lisztomanias festival based on the musical works of Franz Liszt (October).
Labels: member of the "Imperial Cities" network
Website: www.chateauroux-metropole.fr / www.chateauroux-tourisme.com / www.indre.fr / www.indreberry.fr / www.berryprovince.com
Châteauroux, imperial legendPass the Place Sainte-Hélène, turn right and a few metres after the church of Saint-Martial, you will see the home of an illustrious man, which has since been transformed into a museum. Henri-Gatien Bertrand, born at Château Raoul in 1773, belongs to the great men of history. General of the First Empire, he was made Grand Marshal of the Tuileries Palace and Grand Eagle of the Legion of Honour. The shadow of the man who was an intimate of the Emperor Napoleon I can be found in the refined collections and treasures of another time with the sweet perfume of travel, from the banks of the Nile to China. A symbol of the imperial legend, General Bertrand leads Châteauroux, Imperial City since 2017, to celebrate it more than ever in this year 2021, which marks the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon I.
Châteauroux was America
The day after the Allied victory against the Nazis, everything accelerated and changed in Châteauroux: Cadillacs, jazz cafés, jeans, chewing gum and freshly arrived GI's changed the daily life of the population. Legend has it that the famous hamburgers from across the Atlantic were served for the very first time in an address that was then a must at parties in Châteauroux: Joe from Maine. In the heart of the city, the Saint-Cyran Building, an impressive thirteen-storey tower built to house the NATO generals, still reminds us of those glorious days between 1951 and 1967 when "Chateauwou" lived at the frantic pace of the 10,000 Americans installed at the Châteauroux-Déols airport and the La Martinerie base!
CHÂTEAUROUX AND CYCLING
When reading the names of the last stage winners in Châteauroux, it is hard to imagine that a non-sprinter could win here: in 1998, it was Mario Cippolini who raised his arms for the seventh of his twelve stage victories in the Tour de France, and it was Mark Cavendish who won the last two finishes in town, in 2008 and 2011. In 2008, the rider from the Isle of Man opened his list of victories in the Grande Boucle, which was soon to be enriched with 29 other successes. That day, while Nicolas Vogondy was caught on the line, the Cav, led by the Columbia train, dominated Oscar Freire and Erik Zabel in the sprint. Not bad for a beginning. Among the riders from Châteauroux, we should mention Marcel Dussault, winner of three stages in the Tour de France and Yellow Jersey in 1949, Kévin Sireau, former world champion and Olympic vice-champion in team sprint or Michel Dejouhannet, winner of a stage in the 1959 Tour de France.
Located on the Place de la Victoire-et-des-Alliés and Rue du Château-Raoul, the eponymous castle dates from the 10th century. Its current appearance, in the style of a seigniorial mansion with several towers, dates from 1450. Several administrators followed each other after the Revolution, including Henri Bertrand, father of the future general Henri-Gatien Bertrand, and the farmer general Charles Louis Dupin de Francueil, grandfather of George Sand. The departmental architect, Alfred Dauvergne, carried out embellishment work in a neo-Gothic style in 1879. Listed as a Historical Monument since 1927, the current Château Raoul, owned by the Departmental Council, was restored in 2012.
Old town hall
The old town hall was built in 1828 by architect Pierre Murison. Its neoclassical façade is characteristic of the period with its colonnades and triangular pediment. At the time, the population of Châteauroux was less than 15,000 and the premises were perfectly adequate. Gradually, most of the services were transferred to other parts of the city. In 1971, it was decided to build a new town hall on Place de la République, which was inaugurated on 18 January 1977. Since then, the building has housed the departmental music and dance conservatory.
Convent of the Cordeliers
This former 13th century convent was built according to the typical plan of the houses of the Franciscan order: a large church to which are attached buildings at right angles, a wing parallel to the nave closing the cloister courtyard. The church is a "preaching hall" with a poly-lobed arched doorway to the west. Five large arcades overlook the cloister. The Cordeliers had a considerable influence on the town and the surrounding area, primarily due to their way of life, their extreme deprivation, their spiritual vocation and their educational role. After the Revolution, the convent became a prison and then a police station. A restoration of the entire site was undertaken in 1975 by the town and completed in 1978. It now houses exhibitions of contemporary art as well as the international biennial of contemporary ceramics (every summer, in odd years).
Once the residence of General Bertrand, a Napoleon loyalist, this beautiful 18th century mansion is now a museum with 26 rooms full of surprises: the aviary brought back from St Helena, the original plaster copy of Claudel's Sakuntala, a cabinet of curiosities and Egyptology, Empire collections, Flemish and Dutch paintings, Gallo-Roman and medieval works... The museum also holds two temporary exhibitions per year.
From 1951 to 1967, the people of Châteauroux lived the American way. The association Châteauroux c'était l'Amérique brings back to life this beautiful era when dollars, big cars, jazz, hot dogs, etc. were discovered. Objects, photos and films bear witness to these seventeen flourishing years for the people of Berry. The U.S. Museum also welcomes Americans who spent their youth in Châteauroux.
Abbey of Déols
Notre-Dame de Déols Abbey is an old Benedictine abbey, of which only a few vestiges remain. It was founded on 2 September 917 by Ebbes the Noble, Lord of Déols, who was inspired by the foundation of the abbey of Cluny. The abbey, one of the most important in France, was placed under the direct authority of the Pope. Its golden age was in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries. It did not recover from the Wars of Religion and the abbey buildings became a quarry from which Prince Henri II de Condé, and subsequently other administrations, drew building materials. The bell tower, the south wall of the nave and the part of the north wall that is still visible were listed as Historical Monuments in 1862.