Attention Urban Explorers – Tour around Château Miranda
To all Urban Explorers, adventurers, backpackers and everybody else who might be interested in beautiful, abandoned places. Please pay close attention, as this beauty unfortunately won’t stand for much longer. It is a shame, breaking my heart, but the beautiful Château Miranda will be taken down soon. For everybody who can still quickly get their ass over there, please do and for everybody else, this page will just be in rememberance of one of the most beautiful places that I have ever visited.
Trip: Urban Exploring Château Miranda
Date: 15 and 16-04-2016
Route: Delft to Noisy
Transport to Noisy: Car
Transport in Noisy: Car
Company: A friend: Brendan
Stayed the night at: our car (his car)
Highlights: Château Miranda
It was a few years ago that I had seen a photo of this castle on the facebook page of a friend. The castle was majestic, beautiful, but frightening. It seemed to have appeared straight out of a fairytale and I fell in love, again.
For some reason it took a few years between finding out about the existence of the castle and actually visiting it, but the day I visited it, it stood as tall as ever and was even more breathtaking than on the picture. Even though Belgium is not that far from where I live, we had decided to drive a day early, just in case we would not be able to find the exact location of the building. This meant that we had already had an interesting and exciting night of sleeping in the car next to a rather quiet road before we started our quest to the castle.
Having prepared rather well, I knew that there was another castle rather nearby. This second castle is open for tourists and therefore had plenty of room to park the car. Ironically, this tourist castle was not actually open today, so while we were there, we decided to go for a practice round of illegally exploring the grounds of this castle. Adrenaline was starting to run through our veins when a little wooden door on the side appeared to be open. It was half-hidden behind a stack of firewood logs, so it took a bit of climbing and a few scratches to wrigge ourselves through the door. We let our eyes adjust to the darness and… dissapointment. The door we had just climbed through only let to a sideshed of the castle, with no pathway to get inside the main body of the building. The shed was also full of garbage, so we obviously weren’t the first ones visiting. Bugger.
After a walk through the gardens and around the castle is became clear that this castle was not going to open up her doors (or windows or secret entrances) for us today. We had seen the shed, at least, but now was the time for some real adventure, time to move on to the gem we came for: Château Miranda. It was no secret where the castle was located, since it was clearly visible from the parking lot that we were at: on the hill across the valley. As this was a fun trip, I did not bring my compass, but I trusted my sense of direction to be able to walk down one hill and up another without desperately deviating from my path. It worked. Despite the lack of a proper path and the presence of an angry farmer yelling French curses (we kind of crossed his yard on the way up and we probably weren’t the first curious visiters ever doing that) we made it. My fantastic sense of direction was helped by some kind stranger who had hung red ribbons in the trees that we only had to follow. This meant that the castle was probably not going to be as abandoned as I had originally hoped for, but naturally still worth the visit.
So there it stood. Possibly haunted, grande and vigorous: Château Miranda. I knew from photos that she would look gorgeous on the exterior, but now that she stood right before us it was time to truly meet our friend and start exploring her deepest secrets. I was not dissapointed: the internal ravage of neglect could be considered the perfect beautiful mess. The castle is quite large so you can spend your time exploring all its corners, rooms and corridors, feeling like a child in one of those huge playgrounds. You need to be careful in this playground though, because many of the floors are rot and therefore not very trustworthy to stand on. We walked over one wooden floor that seemed acceptable, but later found out that at the exact same spot, one floor lower, all the foundations had come down. Pfew. Lucky survivors. Furthermore I will let the pictures speak on their own as words don’t do justice.
Another advantage was that once you had gone through the trouble of climbing up the rubbles that were leftovers of scarecases, al the way to the top, a lovely view awaited you. The circular top windows in the tower further emphasised the effect of beauty, as if watching through binoculars, the surroundings seemed surreal.
If you search long enough, the castle has more secrets than you eventually think. Outside we found something like a shed that was absolutely worth walking through. Unfortunately we missed an old schoolroom that is supposed to be in the basement. Since this castle has been used as a holiday home for gorups of children and youth after the second world war, the chalk board is supposed to still be there, complete with classsroom setting. We only found this out after we had made our way back through the bushes and the angry farmer’s backyard. It had also started raining, so we did not bother to go back. How do I know it is here then? Back at the car we met a foursome urban explorers who had also just come back from visiting the Château. Apparently they had done they homework better than me. Oh well. Better luck next time, but take it into account if you get the chance!
Château Miranda No Longer
Ironically, after all those years of waiting to get here paid off as I heard rumours that a demolition permit had been giving out for this building. It is at one point understandable; judging from the stability of the floors, accidents can happen. Americans would sew the owners for millions if this would have been in the States. Luckily this is not America and we have been able to enjoy this castle for a while in the state it is in, which only contributes to the mystery and enchantment of the place. However all good things come to an end and this will be the end of Château Miranda (unless you have 25 million and are willing to spend it on renovation).
Usually buildings are not taken down so fast, so if you happen to be in the Belgian Ardennes I would advice you to bother checking out if the château is still standing, because if it is, it is absolutely worth your time.
History of the chateau
Château Miranda was built in 1866, or actually, it was started in 1866 but not finished until 1907. It was designed by English architect Edward Milner who did not live long enough to see the final result. The castle functioned as a manor belonging to the Beaufort de Celles family who had been owners of the land since the 11th century and had also lived in château Vêves, only a few hundred metres further.
In the second world war, the Germans managed to seize the castle and when the war was over, half the castle was used as a holiday home for children, while the count remained to live in the other half untill his final departure in 1958. Château Miranda was then called “Home de Noisy” and has been used for groups of children and youth until 1991, but has been vacant and neglected ever after.
It has been on the list of world heritage, but was recently taken of that list and as a result won’t remain to stand much longer.
How to get there
For a Urban Exploring location, Château Miranda is rather easy to get to, as even google maps perfectly well shows the location, however there is no road going there. It is easiest to drive up to castle Vêves, which has a small parking lot. From the parking lot you can already see château Miranda on the opposite hill. All you need to do is walk toward th castle in the straightest line possible, you will approach château Miranda from the back. There is an actual walking path around the hill to get to the front of the caste, but this is not recommended as at a) takes longer and b) the front porch is surrounded by a partial fence and the porch is guarded by a camera whereas at the back entrance you might only encounter an angry farmer if you’re in bad luck.