Located a few kilometres north-east of Namur, this classical 18th-century castle possesses one of the largest domain in the region - no less than 1,600 hectares (i.e 4000 acres). The castle is surrounded by a moat and is endowed with sumptuous formal French gardens, and orangery, as well as an English-style park spreading on 120 hectares.
Franc-Waret possess a remarkable 17th and 18th century interior, with precious furniture, silverware, porcelain, tapestries, paintings (including some by Brueghel) and old books.
The seigneury of Franc-Waret was first mentioned in the 13th century. In the 16th century, the family d'Yve replaces the old keep by a farm-castle surrounded by a ditch.
In 1591, the owner's only daughter, Hélène d'Yve, marries John of Groesbeeck, a relative of Gerard of Groesbeeck, who was Prince-Bishop of Liège from 1564 to 1580. The childless couple bequeathed the property of Franc-Waret to Paul-John of Groesbeeck, nephew of Gerard.
Paul-John was Grand Provost of the cathedral of Liège, to which it offered 2,400 florins to build a marble rood screen. In 1648, during in revolt in Liège, he was stabbed 12 times but survived from his wounds.
The present castle was erected in 1748 by Alexander-Francis of Groesbeeck. After his death in 1789, the castle passed to his daughter, Marie-Anne-Françoise, and her husband Charles de Croix. In 1792, after the execution of Louis XVI of France, and the dispossession of aristocratic and ecclesiastical properties, the new owner had to flee into exile. He was nevertheless rehabilitated during the Consulate (1799-1804). The garden maze and the English-style park were laid out during the Empire, in 1805, followed by the orangery in 1810.
Franc-Waret passed to the descendents of Charles's sister, Blanche, who had married the French Count of Andigné. This family still owns the castle nowadays.
The castle can only be visited by appointment, all year round. Call +32.(0)126.96.36.199 to make a reservation or for more information.
How to get there
Access to the castle is very easy by car. Coming from the center of Namur, take the N80 road in Bouge toward Hannut, until you reach the village of Franc-Waret (about 10 km). Coming from the E411 motorway (Brussels-Namur-Luxembourg), take exit 14 (Bouge), then follow the N80 as previously mentioned.
Using the E42 (Lille-Mons-Namur-Liege-Aachen), take exit 10 for Hingeon or 10a for Franc-Waret.
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