How to get in: lose yourself in the beautiful forest of the Belgian Ardennes. Find yourself face to face with this fantastic forgotten castle. Get kicked out by the jaded chatelain after barely one hour of exploration. Come back 5 months later. Try to avoid the entranced hunters shooting at hundreds of tame pheasants. Enjoy the view from the central keep.
Between the hunting parties and receptions in the family castle of Veves, life must have been pleasant in the 18th century in the Belgian Ardennes for the family of Count Leidekerke-Beaufort. Unfortunately, the hot breath of the French Revolution came to Belgium, which forced the family to leave the castle and take refuge in a farm hidden deep in the woods near the village of Celles. As usual, the revolutionary ardor tends toward gentrification over time, and soon Robespierre and others had forgotten the Count and his titles of nobility.
Refreshed, in 1866 the descendents of the Count asked the English architect Milner to transform the modest farm into a castle for the family’s summer garden parties. The work took place over several decades and it was the French architect Pelchner who erected the tower in 1903 and laid the last stone in 1907. Thereafter, the Liedekerke-Beaufort family used the Noisy castle as a summer residence.
Briefly occupied by German troops during World War II, the Noisy Castle was converted into a summer camp for children of Belgian railway staff in 1950. Two hundred children benefited from the supernumerary rooms and quiet places. The cost of maintaining such a huge building began to cause problems after the first oil shock. After various attempts at recovery, the castle was closed in 1991…closed is a strong word--the doors to the castle stand wide open.
Even if the castle still seems capable of withstanding the ravages of time, water infiltration gradually nibbles away at the inner structure. Crossing the upper level hallways requires clenched teeth, jumping from beam to beam as the floor collapsed long ago. The scramble to the summit is worth the trouble as the Belgian Ardennes unfurl their forest and enrobe the nearby castle of Veves. Six hours of exploration later it is time to leave—surrounded by the flight of wild-eyed pheasants.