This 19th century neo-gothic chateau is located in Hendaye, in the French Basque Country. It is only 4 km from the Spanish border and it is very well located facing the sea with views over the French coast, the Spanish coast and the Pyrenees. The view over Larrhune mountain that rises imposingly towards the sky is outstanding. The estate on which the chateau is located is very well kept and maintains for grazing animals such as sheep and horses. The entire estate is located within the natural park of the corniche and today is a public domain property belonging to the municipality of Hendaye.
The history of the Chateau Abbadie is very curious, as is its architecture in facade and interior design. Antoine d’Abadie was a geographer, ethnologist and man of science in the 19th century who commissioned this work to the architect Viollet Le Duc in 1864. Antoine d’Abadie was a passionate scientist and explorer, he was the first to map Ethiopia where he stayed for 11 years. He was also interested in astrology, celestial cartography and the sources of the Nile. In 1892 he became president of the French Academy of Sciences. The interior of the palace houses an astronomical observatory that functioned until 1979 and has mapped up to half million stars, at his death Antoine Abbadia donated his castle to the Academy of Sciences. He was also a scholar and patron of the Basque language since his father was Basque and went down in history as “euskaldunen aita” the basque father.
It is an observatory castle in Gothic style, comprises three parts: the library, the observatory and the chapel. The building is out of the ordinary, its facades are decorated with wild animals such as elephants, snakes, crocodiles and other exotic animals that Antoine discovered in his travels. It is a medieval building that combines oriental and arabic architectural details.
It is definitely a place worth visiting. The truth is that it is a pleasure to walk through its gardens facing the sea and admire the wonderful figures that decorate the building.