Château de la Cense au Bois, Mons, Belgium, November 2019

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HughieD

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1. The History
Located in the heart of fifteen hectares of woods between Mons and Nimy, Château de la Cense au Bois was built during the 1860’s after the French Revolution by a wealthy family who resided here until 1984. In 1999 it became a high-class hotel with ten rooms and 20 beds. The owner, Raymond Beck, was as a well-renown baker from Jurbise. The hotel also included a restaurant, “The Gray Osciètre”, overseen by head chef Pierre-Yves Gosse where you could get the luxury meals drink from an extensive wine list. The interior was exquisitely detailed and offered much in the way of comfort. The.

However, with the costs of up-keep of the manor high, early in the new century Raymond Beck moved on to start business ventures elsewhere and Pierre-Yves Gosse (who sadly died earlier this year, aged 52) left to start the 5th Season restaurant in nearby Mons. Although records are sketchy, the Château was in a state of abandoned by 2005 and has gradually gone downhill as the vandals and thieves have done their thing.

Talk of renovations and re-purposing have come and gone since then. Most recently, in 2014, it was mooted that the chateau may be converted into a well-being centre. However, the project that was estimated to create 150 jobs never materialised as it failed to get past the planners and was dropped in 2016. The house is now open to the elements and the only guests the occasional urban explorer, who have dubbed the ex-hotel “Chateau Cinderella” due to its very “princess” feel and its large blue room.

2. The Explore
A bit of residential relief on an otherwise industrial day. Fifth stop on a full day’s exploring. Arrived here a bit later than I wanted to, and the sun was starting to go down. A really curious place. It’s a very nice house and it is very much in the open and access is just a walk in. It’s been explored many a time but there doesn’t appear to be a previous report on here. It’s been smashed up a bit but has escaped complete trashing. As a consequence, it is still very much saveable. Hence, it’s strange that it hasn’t been sold and returned to use as a hotel. The previous hotel and restaurant were very high-class and there are a number of papers scattered around the place that refer back to then. Other than that, the place is pretty empty back the odd broken chair or chest of draws. It’s spread over four floors – five if you count the mini-wine cellar under the main wine cellar. It’s a really shame this lovely house has come to this as the only way is down. It made for a nice and relaxed wander as the sun came down on a busy and successful day of solo exploring in Belgium

3. The Pictures

Into view she comes:

49061543748_688c437c8b_b.jpg img4233 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Externally, she’s very pleasing on the eye!

49062077746_e93ab36ac9_b.jpg img4186 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49061544513_da005a7253_b.jpg img4232 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49066761337_f90c72b9da_b.jpg Cinderella 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Back view:

49061545548_33db817dff_b.jpg img4230 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49062069161_304874f2c7_b.jpg img4199 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49066759932_91fefdb0eb_b.jpg Cinderella 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This canopy is a nice little touch:

49062059091_1aaa812f38_b.jpg img4228 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Nice chimney embellishments:

49062059651_4ec3bdaedb_b.jpg img4227bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the railings don’t look like they were gilded too long ago:

49061548613_4d2f7435d5_b.jpg img4225 by HughieDW, on Flickr

In we go:

49066549091_b19b0aa190_b.jpg Cinderella 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49066029548_186bca08c2_b.jpg Cinderella 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49066757467_2150389048_b.jpg Cinderella 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49062289542_c9ed846410_b.jpg img4201 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49066758442_d774593d1e_b.jpg Cinderella 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Decent nick fireplace:

49062293702_c448eb623e_b.jpg img4194 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And one not so decent nick:

49066546841_6f0cd78ff5_b.jpg Cinderella 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Nice moulding detail:

49062293137_3bec536546_b.jpg img4195 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View from inside looking out:

49062282212_9c1a9a10d8_b.jpg img4224 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Up to the first floor and a nice fireplace still in situ:

49061554723_d722dc64d4_b.jpg img4206 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Assorted paperwork:

49061551928_792e3c6b64_b.jpg img4212 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This dating back to 1994:

49066029358_205bc1f5ed_b.jpg Cinderella 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49066029358_205bc1f5ed_b.jpg Cinderella 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And one of the old menus:

49062284272_a6e9e0086f_b.jpg img4213 by HughieDW, on Flickr

One of the many smashed up bathrooms:

49062286892_ae6a37d9eb_b.jpg img4207 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And another:

49066547416_565fb3c7f6_b.jpg Cinderella 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Picture window:

49066758992_56fddbcfa3_b.jpg Cinderella 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Up to the top floor:

49062288427_acfb60de19_b.jpg img4205 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49061552748_c8a3595716_b.jpg img4210 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49066027748_6925500f77_b.jpg Cinderella 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And then right back down to the kitchen area:

49061549668_2b226ee3ac_b.jpg img4222 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49061550353_f5d5d03066_b.jpg img4221 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Wine cellar:

49066546086_83fb12ce2c_b.jpg Cinderella 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And safe:

49066757767_7f3aeb76fc_b.jpg Cinderella 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Bye-bye Chateau Cinderella:

49062297122_8e46da0194_b.jpg img4188 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49066025353_052f00b1a8_b.jpg Cinderella 22 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

Hugh Jorgan

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I had a look at the menu but I couldn't find fish 'n' chips or a cheeseburger. But it must have been a nice hotel at one time. Still has a few features intact. The fireplaces are nice.
 

Dirus_Strictus

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Yes; the chimney embellishments are very decorative, however they are needed to support the large stacks and stop them being blown off the roof in gale force winds! Otherwise the brickwork could not be as slender as it is; the roofline would look much heavier, with the whole building loosing the slender beauty it exhibits even today.
 

UrbanX

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Ace photos as usual! Lol, I visited last month, but haven’t got round to putting the pics up yet!
Brilliant report, thanks for sharing!
 

Darklldo

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Wow! Wonder photos :). Was wondering where the smoke went from the fireplaces, I assume it went sideways from the grate to the chimney? It is odd seeing fireplaces under windows. Also was the wrought iron circular designs on the chimneys to support the brickwork? As in a rod passing through the chimney to another wrought iron circular design on the other side?
Very interesting :)
 
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