Sunday, April 29, 2007

(B) Celles, Château de Miranda (Home de Noisy)


During the French revolution, in 1866, the family of the Count from Liedekerke-Beaufort had left the nearby feudal castle of Vèves to hide in a farm outside the village, near Celles. The farm grew and finally became this enormous castle, "Château de Miranda", designed by the English architect Milner.
In 1950 it became a vacation home for children, "Home de Noisy" (or "Château de Noisy"), of the employees at the NMBS (Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen, National Community of Belgian Railways)
After 1970 it was used for activities and sports holidays for kids.
In 1991 it was abandoned and now nature and some vandals (who raised fire, broke out the floors, broke down the stairs, ...) are taking over.

Once so beautiful, it is now completely falling apart and very dangerous to enter. Last year, the horse stables have collapsed because of heavy rain. Floors, ceilings and walls are weak and sometimes already collapsed, stairs to the higher levels have been broken down (there are still steps to the left and right side of the stairway, but in the middle it's a kind of slide), the plaster is coming off and the paint flakes off - in brief, a complete mess here and there. But we managed to get onto the highest tower, 56 m of height!
Some (sick) people thought it was funny to put a fake bloody corpse on the toilet, and to hang up some dolls on the ceiling in the basement.
The chance of being discovered and sent away, and the danger of exploring this - still impressive and beautiful - castle, are a guarantee for an exciting day!

Click here to see a short movie made by a tv-station in the Netherlands. You can see the decay very well and the way we climbed up the 'slide-stairs'.

In spite of its size, the castle is hard to find. Via Google we found its coordinates, but because it lies in the middle of the woods on a private domain, you do have to search a little to find it. First there is a fence which blocks the way for cars, but as a pedestrian you can just walk along it. You pass a villa and some tennis-courts, and then it's still a little walk before the castle looms up before your eyes.

While my partner and I were busy exploring the former horse stables and our friends the surroundings of the castle, we heard a car arriving and stopping. Clearly someone authorised onto the domain! My boyfriend and could hide on time (I even saw the man passing by, luckily he didn't see me) and waited in silence until, after a minute or 5, we heard the car starting again and drive away. A few minutes later we got a call from our friends that they had been discovered and sent away.
But that didn't stop them, after a nice picknick in the fields they returned through the forest as hidden as possible, and they arrived with some other urbex-friends. My partner showed them the 'easiest' entrance into the castle, and from there we dispersed all over the place.

Some old black-boards made us clear that we were not the only ones having been there (but we had already seen a lot of photos all over the internet).
We even met another man and woman who were also exploring the place (without cameras though). The castle became crowded, we were 8 now!
Clearly, the chasing away by the owners doesn't help a lot!

In the late afternoon, when one of us was resting outside on the grass (he had a hang-over), 2 elderly people passed by. One of them made a remark about this being a private domain, to which our friend replied: "so, is this yours maybe", to which they said "it is".
... But the 'owners' didn't seem to mind that much, as our friend didn't get chased away.

After 6 hours continuously discovering and shooting - we didn't even took a decent pause for a snack and a drink - we got tired so we quited... and we hadn't seen it all yet!


Christophe V. said...

It was the best spot we've done so far. Reading this, and collecting my memories, only confirms this for me.

We need to go back! :)

Sam R. said...

Lots and lots of recognizable shots here ... Sometimes I have seen two or more shots of one certain composition in your story, it seems like you have difficulties with selecting ;) It's a hard job, but maybe it's better to select sometimes, because that makes it more interesting imo. I guess that you are processing every single image you are making on the spot, isn't it? That's what we did before too ... But, you should give it a try to select more, to keep the attention for a full album. This is not an attack on your work, it's just a personal advice on the subject of workflow, because you're making very good photography! I regret that we have missed the chamber with the series of washbasins and bathtubes ...

1step beyond said...

if you go there again then try to go hann sur less also, at night enter the cave and check out the places which are not for tourist!whe that them both in one day and as you will understand the day is still printed in my head like a beautifull dream..again we went

1 step beyond

Anonymous said...

In 1950 it became a vacation home for children, "Home de Noisy" (or "Château de Noisy"), of the employees at the NMBS (Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen, National Community of Belgian Railways)

I hate when people call it an vacation home,
An nightmare was more like it.
The castle looks now how many children felt when they stayed their.

Ana said...

why is that? sounds like you are one of those children?!? To me, it looks like it must have been a beautiful place to have a fairytale like holiday, so I'm curious as to what was wrong with the place? Is it haunted? Is that why people don't really care or do much about it? Such a pity to leave such a beautiful place to vandals and neglect! I went to Veves last year and you could see Miranda on the hilltop across the road, its roof beaming in the autumn sun :) but we were in a hurry, so we moved further; yet the feeling that I need to see that castle still lingers ...

Anonymous said...

Visited the castle yesterday, , but only from outside , it's absolutely beautiful.
I can't understand that there are people who "destroy" things and even put it on fire, that's really a shame.
The owner(s) should keep some dogs around, that would probably keep off this kind of people. Fully agree with the slogan " take nothing but pictures, only leave footprints"

Matt said...

Hey is it possible for you to post google maps coordinates of this place or email them to me?
I plan to take a trip to Europe in August and would love to visit this place

Anonymous said...

we were in the castle some days ago. it's the best abandoned place we ever seen.

Anonymous said...

It's really beautifull I would love to go there! said...

I was wondering if you could email exactly how you got there/the adress of the castle as I am very interested in visiting.

Anonymous said...

It is useful to try everything in practise anyway and I like that here it's always possible to find something new. :)

Mark said...

I spent two weeks in that castle in July 1986 teaching programming in Pascal to students.
It was a fairy tale like castle with a beautiful interior.
Shame how people let it come this far.
It was built in the second half of the 1800's with as only purpose to host parties. Huge fancy ballrooms downstairs and hotel-like bedrooms upstairs.
Would love to visit it again.

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Anonymous said...

What a beautiful place. I don't understand why anybody would let it get to this state. They want to try and keep people off the property but won't do anything to fix it. Its moments like these I wish I was a multi-billionaire, I would do whatever possible to make this castle mine and have it looking like its supposed to be. Makes me sick :/

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