Modave castle, perched on a fell in the middle of a nature reserve, is one of Wallonia's most scenic and most visited castle. It contains beautiful stucco, 17th century tapestries, table laid with faience from Gien, and 19th century Val-St-Lambert crystal. Theatre plays are held in July.
The first lord of Modave known is Walther I of Modave in 1233. The present castle was probably built in the late 13th century, but owes its actual appearance to Count Jean-Gaspard-Ferdinand of Marchin, who restored the interior and exterior between 1652 and 1673.
Chronologically, the castle was first owed by the Modave family, then passed to the Haultepenne family by inheritance in 1558, and a generation after to the Saint-Fontaine family. Nicolas of Saint-Fontaine sold the castle and seigneury to John of Marchin a few months before his death in 1642.
His son, John-Gaspard-Ferdinand, Count of Marchin (1601-1673) was a great military commander. He served under the French Prince of Condé, fell out of favour, was imprisoned at Perpignan, then up the command again in Catalonia (then part of France).
He defended Barcelona against the Spaniards. Marchin met Condé again at Namur, where he refused to bring his troops and those of Lorraine into his native country, respecting its neutrality. In 1653, peace was signed, and Marchin went o Spain, where Philip IV appointed him company commander of his army.
In 1658, Charles Il of England invested him Knight in the Order of the Garter and the Holy German Emperor Leopold I of Habsburg conferred him the title of Count of the Holy Roman Empire. After a last disastrous campaign in Portugal in 1663-1664 for Don Juan of Austria, Marchin finally retired to Modave castle and spent his entire fortune on its restoration, which took 15 years.
His son, John-Ferdinand served France from 1673. he became cavalry general in 1695, lieutenant-general in 1701 and ambassador extraordinary in Madrid. He accompanied Philip V on his journey to Naples, was present at the battle of Luzzara in 1702, fought in Germany in 1703 and finally obtained the field-marshal's baton. He was fatally wounded at Turin in 1706.
During that time Modave had passed to Prince Maximilian-Henry of Bavaria, Archbishop-elector of Cologne, Prince-bishop of Liège and Hildesheim between 1682 and 1684, then to Wilhelm Egon, Cardinal of Fürstenberg and Prince-bishop of Strasbourg between 1684 and 1706. In 1706, Baron Arnold of Ville, who owned the lordships of Grand-Modave and Petit-Modave, managed to seize the castle.
The castle stayed in the Ville family until 1772, when it passed to the French Baron (and later Duke) Anne-Léon de Montmorency by marriage to the heiress. The Montmorencies rarely stayed at Modave, though. The second duke also became field-marshal of France, and was forced into exile to Germany after the French Revolution.
In 1817, the castle was sold to Mr Braconier. It remained in his family until 1928, when his descendant sold it to "Domaine de Modave" Ltd. Mme Van Hoegaerden purchased the property in 1935, and finally in 1941 the castle was acquired by the Compagnie Intercommunale Bruxelloise des Eaux, that still owns it to this day.
Opening Hours & Admission
Modave Castle is open from 1st April to 15th November and for the Christmas period, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. It is closed on Mondays (except July & August). The castle can be visited any time the rest of the year upon reservation for groups of minimum 25 pers.
Entry cost 7.5 € for adults, 6.5 € for seniors (over 60 years old), and free for children under 12 years old.
How to get there
Modave should be accessed by car. Coming from Brussels or Namur, take the E411(Brussels-Luxembourg), exit 18. From there take the N4, and continue till exit 97, then follow the direction Hamois-Havelange-Modave.
From Liege, take the N63 towards Marche, then N641 towards Huy until you reach Modave.
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