Castle museum of Dourdan!!!

 The department 91 Essonne is not well known yet surrounding Paris and well worth your while to pay attention to what it has to offer.  One of my highlights of coming here is the town of Dourdan, and I like to tell you a bit more about its castle museum. This is a split update of an older post. The town of Dourdan is in the Essonne dept 91 of the Île de France region of my belle France,  about 44 km from Paris.

The road A10 passes on the north of town before the tolls of Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines (that I always avoid lol!). You have the better road D836 crossing the town west to east and onwards to Etampes and Rambouillet. Also, the D838 goes up to Versailles and the D116 with a beltway going to Arpajon.  Parking is best on the street near the marché or market. You have good train service on the line RER C and the TER Centre Val de Loire that passes by here destination of Vendôme or Châteaudun, without stops from the gare Paris Austerlitz.. There is a train station in town as well as the Dourdan-La Fôret servicing the RER C as terminus.

This Celtic village later Gallo Roman town, birthplace of the Capetian kings and royal town from the 10C, is today known for its castle, 13C very well preserved. The castle at Dourdan belongs to Hugues le Grand, Duke of the Franks that built this castle to his taste and died in it in 956. Also, here was born in 940, Hugues Capet founder of the dynasty of Capetians kings and crowned himself in 987, so Dourdan can be called the foundation of the House of France, royal town since the 10C.  It was in 1220 that king Philippe Auguste decided to built a new castle here taking as a model, the Louvre. The donjon was 26 meters high which was impressive at the times. It was offered as a chic place to such folks as Blanche de Castille, Marguerite de Provence, Saint Louis, Louis d’Evreux, Jean I de Berry, Sully, favorite Anne de Pisseleu and Anne of Austria. The town had a Hôtel-Dieu to welcome pilgrims .  In 1314, Jeanne II of Burgundy future queen of France was prisoner here. By 1340 it was completed the Chapel Saint Jean l’Evangéliste (St John the Evangelist).

dourdan chat donjon town ent mar11

The castle of Dourdan owned by Jean Ier de Berry since 1400 , and he ordered the construction of the ramparts. It passed thru many ravages of wars for many years and by 1562 king Henri II sold the property to the Duke de Guise, in the 17C by wish of his son. king Louis XIII gives it to the queen Marie de Médicis.  At the time, of the French revolution, the castle was the property of the Duke of Orleans, and became a prison.  After the return of the Dukes of Orleans in 1818 and the transfer of the departmental prison to Poissy, the building was used for multiple services. The Water and Forests administration occupies the west wing as well as the upper part of the châtelet. In 1828, the mutual school of Dourdan moved into the east wing of the first floor of the establishment.

There is a vast hunting royal forest that became domain in 1870. The ramparts are still there since the Middle Ages, long of 1700 meters and with 24 towers, Four gates (Paris, Chartres, Etampes, and Puits des Champs) and three wells (Grouteau, Croix-Ferras, and Petit-Huis) ; today only remains some in the north, west, and east of the city, two towers on the blvd des Alliés, one tower on the trail of Laubier, and the tower or tour du Petit-Huis on rue de l’Étang. 

dourdan chat donjon rue de Chartres aug11

In 1852, Amédée Guénée bought the old fortress, put up for sale by the Domains after the transfer of the forestry administration to Rambouillet. He spent the last ten years of his life restoring the castle and transforming the courtyard into a garden. The old 18C salt loft and the medieval châtelet have been converted into living quarters. His cousin, Louis-Jacques Guyot, inherited the castle in 1863. A year later, in 1864, Joseph Guyot, became its owner on the death of his father. Elisabeth, daughter of Joseph Guyot, inherited the château on the death of her father in Cannes in 1924. Countess Gaillard de la Valdène since her marriage in 1919, Elisabeth has lived in Paris, then moved abroad. Returning to Dourdan in 1952, she sold the château as a life annuity in 1961 to the town of Dourdan, which became its full owner upon her death in 1969. From the 1960s, the private house was gradually transformed into a museum by Maître Jean Chanson, notary in Dourdan and friend of the Countess. Helped by the association of Friends of the castle and the Dourdan Museum, he began to bring together the first collections. The establishment became a state-controlled municipal museum in 1975.  The collection includes objects of art, ceramic, paintings,sculpture,Graphic arts, Furniture, pictures and post cards,The museum includes a guide tour of the 3 floors,first floor entrance to salle Joseph Guyot and salle Château, second floor includes bedroom Guyot, salon Verteillac, salle de portraits, salle Poncetton,salle Dourdan, and salle hôtel dieu, the third floor includes the néo gothic room and the artists’ funds,

dourdan chat donjon rue des fosses du chateau aug11

The official castle museum of Dourdan

The city of Dourdan on its castle museum

There you go folks, another jewel very close to Paris and on the off the beaten path, worthty of a visit indeed. And you will be glad you visit the Royal town of Dourdan , and its castle museum!. Hope you enjoy the post as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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