The Château des Fougis is a private property that has been acquired by the German artist Erich Engelbrecht. The castle is inhabited throughout the whole year by the artists family since 2001.

A Setting of Heritage and History
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 form a coherent whole within the surreal castle setting, and give the visitor a  dream-like experience. The positioning of the sculptures carries almost equal weight as a part of the artist’s creative process. He created a 1.2 km long walk through the park, which takes the shape of a giant anchor. This anchor symbolizes our connection with the subconscious “sea” of thoughts while it guides the visitor through the sculpture exhibition.

The greatest geographical concentration of the German artist Erich Engelbrecht’s sculptural works was in fact created here, in the French Auvergne, as the principal artistic project of his later life. The breathtaking partly figurative works, sometimes towering 10 meters into the air and weighing upwards of 100 tons, are spread throughout the rolling fields of a dream-like property. The monumental steel sculptures surrounding the castle draw the attention and curiosity of all passers by on the pleasant country roads, and begs for deeper interpretations…

The Blacksmith
One of the key pieces of the exhibition for understanding his art, is “the Blacksmith”, whose subject matter is taken straight out of the archaic Nordic “Saga of the Niebelungen”. It encompasses many symbols of the legend, depicted by the artist as the so-called archetypes of human thinking. Among others, you can try to identify within the intricate drawing :  Fafnir the dragon, Siegfried the dragon slayer, also Balmung the sword, and most important within the philosophy of Erich Engelbrecht’s work, the birds from which the hero receives the godly ability to understand  the language, after he won his fateful fight.
The Blacksmith, modern steel sculpture by German artist Erich Engelbrecht exhibited in the French Auvergne at Les FOUGIS since 2002. 10 x 8 m.
The Blacksmith. Erich Engelbrecht, 2002.

The property consists of

  • the 16th century castle built of red and black brick and representative of the traditional architectural styles of the old French Bourbon (Allier) region
  • Within the castle ground, different homes, exhibition rooms, courtyards, and gardens – amoungst which the wondrous garden of Eric Engelbrecht, an outdoor exhibition of 28 massive steel-sculptures.
  • 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 of the Château des Fougis’ gardens.


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

We’re sorry, the exhibition on site is only accessible to the public upon request and appointment, for the moment.


Other activities of our organization :
What else is there happening in Les Fougis ?

A general membership to the French non profit “Amis des Fougis” wil give the right to occasionally participate in cultural initiatives during the season, in accordance with the programm and conditions. This includes artistic practice classes, seminars, etc … that will be accessible to all. You can keep yourself informed of the conditions and places available by registering on the “bulletin of the association”.




Road access

Visitor’s parking

Guests are invited to use 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.

Please, drive staight over the pond dam  and park your car in the parking lot right after the green shack at the end of the private dam road); 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 to park at the end of the alley. Please be careful to avoid driving on the grass at any time.

Click here to download the access map of les fougis


Geographical situation

Les Fougis is located on the  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:


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