Whilst staying in France this summer, I took the opportunity to actually visit one of the local chateau open to the public, the Chateau de la Tremoliere, at Anglards-de-Salers. I've occasionally driven through this village and past this chateau, but never stopped to visit.
Although only a very small building by chateau standards, it has a small collection of tapestries, dating from the latter part of the 16th century. They were made at Aubusson and Felletin ( which is not far from Aubusson) using locally produced wool, and dyed with natural dyes, produced from plants from the area. The exhibition has a small sample of plants and the colours they produce on wool. The tapestries were discovered in the attic of the chateau in 1860, after the building had been acquired by the local commune to house parish clergy. They were apparently in a poor state, and were sent to Gobelin in 1923 for restoration and preservation. A dozen were sent, but only 10 returned.
Because of the subject matter of the tapesteries, the collection is known as Le Bestiaire Fantastique: (the Fantastic Bestiary) most contain some sort of animal, real, imaginary or mythical.
Because visitors are not allowed to take photographs, and the lighting is kept at a relatively low level, I didn't take pictures, but bought the small booklet which shows the tapestries along with details from parts of them; a useful aide-memoire.
There is also a garden attached to the chateau, Le Verger de Deduit, laid out along medieval lines and based on the Romance of the Rose, a medieval poem. It is very pleasant to wander in, and there is a handout giving details of the planting.
Each the chateau also hosts an exhibition of contemporary art; this year the artist is Gael Davrinche, a French painter and sculptor.
There are a few small chateau in the Vallee du Mars, but all are private homes, not open to the public.