A FRENCH CHATEAU AND THE WONDROUS GARDEN OF ERICH ENGELBRECHT

Château des Fougis is a private property that has been acquired by the German artist Erich Engelbrecht and his family since 2001. The owners live there  throughout the whole year.

The property consists of

  • A 16th century castle built of red and black brick and representative of the traditional architectural styles of the Allier region
  • Within the castle, single-family homes, art galleries, courtyards, and gardens – amoungst others “The Wondrous Garden of Eric Engelbrecht” with an outdoor exhibition of 28 huge steel-sculptures.

The majority of Erich Engelbrecht’s artistic works were created at Les Fougis as a part of the principal sculptural project of his later life. The breathtaking works, sculptures towering 10 meters into the air and weighing upwards of 100 tons, are spread throughout the rolling fields of the dream-like property. The monumental steel sculptures surrounding the castle draw the attention and curiosity of people passing by on the pleasant country road.

A Setting of Heritage and History
The park is set in a calculated and aesthetic manner around the 16th century castle. The castle serves as a beautiful backdrop for the sculptures and offers a visit to a site of historic and cultural heritage to all. The sculptural works related to medieval fantasy tales for a coherent whole within the surreal castle setting, and give the visitor a rich, dream-like experience. Erich Engelbrecht was fascinated by the calculated, symbolic positioning of his work to make it most impactful to the visiting public; as such, the positioning of the sculptures carries equal weight as a part of his creative process. For this purpose, the artist created a 1.2 km long walk through the park, which has the shape of a giant anchor. This anchor symbolizes our connection in the subconscious and guides the visitor through the sculpture exhibition.
  • You’ll find as well three additional historical houses for guests and the groundskeepers
500 years ago in this small house clay tiles were made for roofs. The building has been renovated recently with care and still has its traditional woodoven for baking bread.

  • A traditional building for public events and receptions hosts inside up to 80 people
  • The buildings are surrounded by 138 hectares of farmland, several fish ponds, gravel roads, and walking trails through the forests

A FRENCH CHATEAU AND THE WONDROUS GARDEN OF ERICH ENGELBRECHT

Château des Fougis is a private property that has been acquired by the German artist Erich Engelbrecht and his family since 2001. The owners live there  throughout the whole year.

The property consists of

  • A 16th century castle built of red and black brick and representative of the traditional architectural styles of the Allier region
  • Within the castle, single-family homes, art galleries, courtyards, and gardens – amoungst others “The Wondrous Garden of Eric Engelbrecht” with an outdoor exhibition of 28 huge steel-sculptures.

The majority of Erich Engelbrecht’s artistic works were created at Les Fougis as a part of the principal sculptural project of his later life. The breathtaking works, sculptures towering 10 meters into the air and weighing upwards of 100 tons, are spread throughout the rolling fields of the dream-like property. The monumental steel sculptures surrounding the castle draw the attention and curiosity of people passing by on the pleasant country road.

A Setting of Heritage and History
The park is set in a calculated and aesthetic manner around the 16th century castle. The castle serves as a beautiful backdrop for the sculptures and offers a visit to a site of historic and cultural heritage to all. The sculptural works related to medieval fantasy tales for a coherent whole within the surreal castle setting, and give the visitor a rich, dream-like experience. Erich Engelbrecht was fascinated by the calculated, symbolic positioning of his work to make it most impactful to the visiting public; as such, the positioning of the sculptures carries equal weight as a part of his creative process. For this purpose, the artist created a 1.2 km long walk through the park, which has the shape of a giant anchor. This anchor symbolizes our connection in the subconscious and guides the visitor through the sculpture exhibition.
  • You’ll find as well three additional historical houses for guests and the groundskeepers
500 years ago in this small house clay tiles were made for roofs. The building has been renovated recently with care and still has its traditional woodoven for baking bread.

  • A traditional building for public events and receptions hosts inside up to 80 people
  • The buildings are surrounded by 138 hectares of farmland, several fish ponds, gravel roads, and walking trails through the forests

Visit

Visit of the Château des Fougis’ gardens .

The non profit organization “Amis des Fougis”, allows us to make the site accessible to the public.

What are the conditions of access to the facilities and schedule?

The gardens are open for visit every 3rd weekend of the month,
Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from May throughout October.
Please use the parking facilities as mentioned in the local access section.
People with walking diabilities can park in front of the old workshop buildings

 

Can I just come to visit  the Erich Engelbrecht gardens of Les Fougis?

Yes, the visit to the park is allowed upon payment of a small fee for general membership* to the non-profit organization “Friends of Les Fougis” plus a regular entry fee for visitors older than 15.

*How much is it to be a member ?

A general membership in the “Amis des Fougis” association, is 2.5 EUR per person. The membership fee is renewable each year on the occasion of your first visit in the season.

How much is it for visiting the gardens and getting a guided tour?

For all members (see above), access fees to the garden pathways are :

Adults : 5 EUR
Reduced: 4 EUR
Under 15 : free entry – children must stay under sight surveillance of an adult
Groups of 20 adults or more : 65 EUR

Guided tours in French, German and English, depending on the availability of the guides, are offered at a rate of 2.5 EUR per person, or 25 EUR for more than 10 paying members. Reservation is recommended.

 

School classes /Groups
School classes or professional groups are welcome to make  appointments to visit and get specific conditions for regular or educational guided tours.

Other activities of our organization :
What else is there happening in Les Fougis ?
The general membership also gives the right to occasionally participate in cultural initiatives during the season, in accordance with the private regulations.

Artistic practice courses, seminars, etc … will be accessible at a specific price to cover expenses, upon invitation. You can keep yourself informed of the conditions and places available by registering on the “bulletin of the association”.

Clubhouse 
On opening weekends members are welcome to check if the clubhouse facility in the orangerie is open and to meet other members.

Sponsorship and active members
Special rules with rights to vote at the yearly gathering and cooptation, apply to mecenes, secretaries and active members.

 

 

 

Access

Visitor’s parking

Guests are invited to get to the property through the northern entrance, and leave their vehicle at the large pond parking. Our parking access is on the route de Goyette, off the D161, turn right at the property sign.

Drive staight over the pond dam, park your car in the parking lot right after the green shack at the end of the dam pathway) walk than towards the orangerie and castle buildings

Attention: the main alley of the castle is restricted for inhabitants of the property or for handicapped people, who can use a specific spot at the end of the alley. Please be careful not to avoid driving on grass surfaces at any time.

Click here to download the access map of les fougis

 

Geographical situation

Les Fougis is accessible by the scenic country road D161 which connects the villages of Thionne and Chapeau. Visitors need a car as the nearest train station is 10 miles away (Dompierre-sur-Bresbre). Next larger towns are Moulins – 20 miles away (historical and administration center of the Allier dept. ) or Vichy – 25 miles away (nice traditional Spa town with some European flair).

Clermont Ferrand – main City of the French Auvergne region lays 60 miles away, and offers international airport connections.

The larger city of Lyon is a 2 hours trip by car. Visitors who arrive by plane in Lyon can easily rent a car at the airport.

Paris (Gare de Bercy) connects to Moulins-sur-Allier by train within a 2h30 ride.

 

 

The artist Erich Engelbrecht

In 1954, at the age of 26, Erich Engelbrecht promoted  from the  University of Hannover in Electrotechnology, Mechanical Engineering and Economics. In 1960 he convinced himself to become an artist, after having worked at several large scale industrial projects . His knowledge in engineering played a noticeable role for his artistic work especially the technical aspects of his monumental sculptures later on.

Appeal of the Work

His Work is primarily inspired by fairy tales and what the philosopher and medical doctor Carl Jung first described as the human archetypes of thinking as well as oriental philosophy. The study of Taoist and Jungian philosophy, once quite popular in France come back into the spotlight after a longer period of hide. Witnessing the originality of this creative approach can be a serious artistic and cultural asset to school-aged children Learning about Engelbrecht’s creative approach can be especially complementary to high school students who receive a philosophy curriculum in their final years. 

An Unexpected Work

Erich Engelbrecht is a revered German artist who came to create his largest body of work at the Chateau des Fougis in Thionne, a small French village of 330 inhabitants. The size of his works that decorate the rural landscape surrounding Les Fougis is nothing short of unexpected. Similarly unexpected is the perceived impact  of these sculptures obeying the simplest principles of creation : they mainly consist in drawing and cutting a sheet of steel that can measure up to 12 meters high and weigh 130 tons — where the space is as meaningful as the emptiness.

The complex inspiration of the artist convey much expression to the works which are begging for interpretation. They address his own trauma of being enrolled in the Nazi desaster at the end of World War II as a young teenager, together with myths and fairy tales; and Jungian and Taoist philosophy.

Taoist and Jungian Philosophy

Chinese Taoism and the universal philosophical body of thought of Carl Jung profoundly affected Erich Engelbrecht’s own thinking. Jung, though of Swiss nationality had traveled the world a lot and studied especially the Orient. He became friend with Richard Wilhelm, the famous German modern translator of the I-Ging and his writings about self-development are greatly influenced by this ancient “Taoist” work, even more so than by Hindu culture, especially the concept of synchronicity and self-developpment (1). Erich Engelbrecht was keen to bring in these dimensions in an artistic and architectural masterpiece. Every visitor who will be able to contemplate the nature of these ideas may be greatly inspired and have parts of their minds opened they never knew existed. This is argaubly Engelbrecht’s intention. His work has the potential to evoke a variety of feelings in the visitor, but the sculptures return us to a sense of universality from which our consciousness — and therefore, unconsciousness and the myths that spring from these realms — emerges.

Tales and Sagas

The universality of fairy tales, myths, and archetypal characters fascinated Engelbrecht and allowed him to develop a language to convey ideas through the physical transmission of these stories. Characters, animals, and objects that mingle in dialogue—together, within a single sculpture—convey many hidden meanings which the public can attempt to decode through careful and creative observation of the work. The integration of themes of fantasy and fairy tales make his work accessible to all audiences.

Find more information about the artist Erich Engelbrecht here: www.engelbrecht.fr

 

(1) Coward, H. (1996). Taoism and Jung: Synchronicity and the Self. Philosophy East and West, 46(4), 477-495. doi:10.2307/1399493