Archive for October 13th, 2022

October 13, 2022

Combourg, the castle !

In my latest road warrior trip, decided to pay a visit to Chateaubriand! Not his tomb done that, but his childhood home castle in Combourg between Rennes and Saint Malo in my lovely Bretagne. We left the dog back and went with the rest of Dad and boys. I wanted to visit this for a long time , but as always said eventually will see them all health willing. Let me tell you next about the castle of Combourg. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Combourg castle front oct22

The Château de Combourg is a fortress located on the territory of the town of Combourg, dept 35 Ille-et-Vilaine in my lovely Bretagne, The castle is located 39 km from Rennes , 36 km from Saint Malo, 386 km from Paris, and about 162 km from my house.

Combourg castle front from english garden oct22

The Château de Combourg was built between the 12C and the 15C on a natural hillock, near a vast pond baptized by François-René de Chateaubriand as the peaceful lake, The archbishop of Dol, Junkeneus or Guiguené and his wife Roianteline, Viscountess of Dol, erected a first castle in Combourg in 1016 to protect her stronghold of Comburnium. At the beginning of the 11C, Guiguené had a dungeon built for his brother Rivallon, the first lord of the place, protector of the cathedral of Dol, at the end of this century,as the lords of Combourg, he received the title of “standard bearer of Saint -Samson”, protector of the cathedral of Dol. In 1162, Combourg passed by marriage to Harsulfe de Soligné, husband of Yseult de Dol, youngest daughter of Jean de Dol.

Combourg castle entr 35 steps oct22

Combourg castle entr stairs and moat oct22

The castle of Combourg falls around the middle of the 14C to the house of Châteaugiron-Malestroit. In 1553 the castle was acquired by inheritance by the Marquis de Coëtquen, and in the 18C his descendant, the last of the name, ceded the castle to his daughter, the wife of Emmanuel-Félicité de Durfort, Duke of Duras. By contract of May 3, 1761, the Duchess of Duras and her husband sold it to René-Auguste de Chateaubriand (father) of Saint-Malo, He was hired as a ship’s boy in the merchant navy, then captain, finally shipowner enriched by the trade in the islands and the trips, husband of Apolline de Bedée by whom he had ten children (six lived), the youngest being the future writer François-René de Chateaubriand. His family settling there in May 1777 and he spent twelve years of a fairly gloomy youth there, he immortalized the place in his memoirs. In 1786, René-Auguste, oldest son Jean-Baptiste, magistrate in the Parliament of Paris and husband of Aline Le Peletier de Rosanbo, granddaughter of Malesherbes, who inherited the castle. On April 22, 1794, his brother Jean-Baptiste, his wife and his grandfather Malesherbes, the King Louis XVI lawyer in 1793, were guillotined; the estate confiscated, the castle was looted and burned, then returned in 1796 to his seven-year-old son Louis Geoffroy, who would never come there, being brought up with his younger brother in Malesherbes (Loiret 45), The castle had been put under receiver and his furniture sold, then taken in by his uncle and guardian, the Count of Tocqueville, father of Alexis de Tocqueville. The residence will remain in this state for 80 years !

Combourg castle back and towers oct22

Combourg castle tower back 12C oct22

This great dilapidation of the feudal residence favored its transformation by two campaigns of work in 1866 and 1878, entrusted by Geoffroy de Chateaubriand, the son of Louis, This quasi-reconstruction made the chapel disappear from the so-called tour dite du More, the guard room and the interior courtyard, replaced by a living room, a dining room, a courtyard decorated with Renaissance-style white stone ornaments and a large wooden staircase with ramp on ramp, The estate will pass to his youngest daughter Sybille, countess of Durfort, who will pass it on to Geoffroy count of the Tour du Pin Verclause, the grandson of his older sister Marie’s son Géraud Comte de la Tour du Pin Verclause. It now belongs to Sonia Comtesse de la Tour du Pin Verclause, the wife of the latter, and to her son Guy Comte de la Tour du Pin Verclause, They now live in the castle,and it is a private property.

Combourg castle English garden parterre oct22

Combourg castle English garden tree trail right oct22

The keep rebuilt in the 12-13C will become the Tour du Maure. It will be connected in the 14C to the East Tower and the Tower of the Cat. In the 15C, the Crusader’s Tower and the North facade complete the construction of the castle. The woods of Combourg were designed as an English-style park by the Bühler brothers during the restoration undertaken in the 19C. The spirit of the famous writer still lives there. And we can still pass in front of Lucile’s cross today and soak up this atmosphere which made her say, while François-René de Chateaubriand evoked his loneliness: “You should paint all that”.See the false cypress, now over 250 years old. Sit on the porch and cast the same gaze as François-René on the Cour Verte, the alleys of chestnut trees and lime trees. The English garden of 25 ha is free.

Combourg castle English garden faux cyprés de lawson over 300 yrs old north canada oct22

Combourg castle English garden tree trail left oct22

The writer François-René de Chateaubriand spoke in his memoirs of the ghosts that would haunt the castle of Combourg, a certain Count of Combourg with a wooden leg who had been dead for three centuries returned at certain times. The room that would be the epicenter of this paranormal phenomenon is the “salon rouge” (red room ,which was the bedroom where René-Auguste de Chateaubriand, father of the writer, slept). It is said that one of the lords of Combourg, Malo-Auguste de Coëtquen who died there in his bed, wore a wooden leg after losing his right leg at the Battle of Malplaquet (1709) and haunted from the stairs of the chateau and would sometimes be accompanied by a black cat whose mewing could be heard near the Tour du Chat (cat’s tower)  where Chateaubriand had his bedroom, During the restoration of the chateau the workers discovered the desiccated corpse of a cat, immured behind a main beam dating from the 16C, This discovery was immediately connected to the legend of the ghost cat; in the Middle Ages there was indeed a tradition of burying a black cat alive in the foundations of a building in order to ward off bad luck. The mummified animal is displayed under glass in the bedroom occupied by Chateaubriand as a child.

Combourg castle ramparts tower 15C on top oct22

Combourg castle ramparts tower on top oct22

The interior visit of the Combourg castle has an obligatory guided and commented visit lasting about 45 minutes, the visit of the English park of 25 ha is free. No interior pictures are allowed, only from the ramparts out.

Combourg castle lobby boutique oct22

The official Château Combourg

The town of Combourg on its heritage

The local Saint Malo tourist office on Combourg

The Ille et Vilaine dept 35 Tourist office on Combourg

The Bretagne region tourist office on Combourg

There you go folks, a wonderful place to visit, we went for the main the castle. The Château de Combourg is fascinating and the presentation tops, ,another wonderful historical and artsy sight in my Bretagne, Chateaubriand is it. Again, hope you enjoy the post as I

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

October 13, 2022

Combourg, the town !!!

In my latest road warrior trip, decided to pay a visit to Chateaubriand! Not his tomb done that, but his childhood home castle in Combourg between Rennes and Saint Malo in my lovely Bretagne. We left the dog back and went with the rest of Dad (brave men! )and boys. I wanted to visit this for a long time , but as always said eventually will see them all health willing. Let me tell you first about the town a bit and then the castle of Combourg. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Combourg castle Pipo by front lobby boutique oct22

The town of Combourg has the reputation of the town is associated with the romantic writer François-René de Chateaubriand as well as with his castle Its nickname of “cradle of romanticism” is due to the writer who spent part of his youth at the castle, Combourg, dept 35 Ille-et-Vilaine in my lovely Bretagne. The castle/town is located 39 km from Rennes , 36 km from Saint Malo, 386 km from Paris, and about 162 km from my house.

Combourg castle ramparts to grand lac et road d oct22

The lordship of Combourg was created by the archbishop of Dol, Ginguéné or Junkéné, in favor of his younger brother Riwallon de Dol. The lordship of Combourg remained in the possession of the descendants of Riwallon until the death of Yseult de Dol in 1197, raising the name of his mother by becoming Jean III de Dol. It was then transmitted by inheritance to several families over the years, The ultimate heiress, Duchess of Duras, sold the county and its castle to the parents of Chateaubriand by contract of May 3, 1761. The rich Saint-Malo shipowner René-Auguste de Chateaubriand and his wife Apolline de Bedée, parents of the writer, acquired the county of Combourg, and settled there in May 1777 with their six surviving children (out of ten). Their youngest son François-René de Chateaubriand , then eight years old, spent twelve years of his youth there: “It was in the woods of Combourg that I became what I am,” he wrote. in his Memoirs from Beyond the Grave.

Combourg castle ramparts to grand lac et city oct22

In September 1815, following the fall of the First Empire (Napoléon I), Combourg was occupied by the 6th corps of the Prussian army. During the Great War or WWI, the castle was transformed into a military hospital and it operated between September 1, 1914 and December 23, 1918. In addition, two annexes were installed: the first, avenue de la Gare, in the Maison Gallais (from June 1, 1916 to December 31, 1917) and the second at 1, rue de la Gare, The Nazis troops enter Combourg, undefended, June 18, 1940, On August 2, 1944, Combourg was liberated by American soldiers belonging to the CCA of the US 6th Armored Division.

Combourg castle ramparts to church et city oct22

Things to see in town, me think, Of course the Château de Combourg (see post), built in the 11C and 15C and remodeled in the 19C, François-René de Chateaubriand spent part of his childhood there and mentioned it in his Memoirs from Beyond the Grave. The Grand Trémaudan manor, founded by the Trémaudan family, whose main house dates from 1630 and parts date from the 15-16C, The Tour du Pendu (16C), which owes its name to a tragic legend. A 16C house , rue des Princes (same as the castle),a house from 1650 at 10 rue Notre-Dame, the former city/town hall from 1848 to 1906,House of the Templars (16C), located rue Chateaubriand, it originally depended on the commandery of the Temple of La Guerche and belonged to the order of the Templars.Relais des Princes (16C), a former post house that became an inn. Half-timbered house ; this post house was originally equipped with a reserve of four cars, the locality forming a road junction at the crossroads of the royal roads Fougères-Dinan and Saint-Malo – Rennes by Dol and Hédé. The Benevolent house, which welcomed the poor in the 19C; at the Place Chateaubriand of which all that remains of the Saint-Sébastien chapel is a statue of Saint Appoline in a niche of what is today the facade of the Hôtel du Lac. , The maison de la Lanterne, built in 1575 on the site of a fortified house. This house was also nicknamed Hôtel Trémaudan or Maison de la Tourelle. It was restored in 1968, The Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Parish Church, built between 1859 and 1887, Also found here is the lordship chapel and the tombstones of Count Geoffroy de Chateaubriand , and his second wife, Countess de la Rochetaillée . Count Geoffroy de Chateaubriand, grand-nephew of François-René de Chateaubriand, is the author of a statue of Saint Gilduin, part of whose relics are located under the author of this chapel.

The town of Combourg on its heritage

The Saint Malo tourist office on Combourg :

The Ille et Vilaine dept 35 Tourist office on Combourg

The Bretagne region tourist board on Combourg

There you go folks, a wonderful place to visit, we went for the main the castle, however, it needs a return to look further into the town of Combourg, eventually. A fascinating story in my lovely Bretagne, Chateaubriand is it. Again, hope you enjoy the post as I

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

October 13, 2022

Chantilly , a magical fairy tale !!

Let’s talk about a magical fairy tale city I love, and been there several times with family and believe or not on business once! I am talking about magical Chantilly !! I like to update this older post for you and me ;which originally written in my black and white series, no pictures. However, by the time of posting it I found some similarly old pictures in my vault of the beautiful interior of the Domaine /Castle of Chantilly ,not in my blog until now. This was a few years back, on a special visit as I am Friends of the castle/condé museum since 2008! Therefore, enjoy once again the wonderful magical simply awesome Chantilly!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

Chantilly is in the département of the Oise,60 in the region of Hauts-de-France at the center of the forest of Chantilly, in the valley of the Nonette. Historically, it is part of the old region of Valois. Chantilly is located about 39 km southeast of Beauvais, 79 km south of Amiens and 38 km north of Paris.

Very good roads in and out on the crossroads of France to the north of Europe. The old N16 or old royal route from Pierrefitte-sur-Seine to Dunkerque passing by Amiens, cuts the city south to north ; now it is the D1116. The D924A allows you to joint the old N17 or route de Flandres at La Chapelle-en-Serval, and the D924 connects you to the town of Senlis. From here you can join the autoroute A1. The train station of or Gare de Chantilly – Gouvieux, opened in 1859 on the line Paris – Lille, service by the SNCF and the network TER Hauts de France ; these are lines Paris-Nord – Compiègne – Saint-Quentin – Busigny, line Paris-Nord – Creil – Amiens, and line Paris-Nord – Creil . Chantilly is located about 30 km from Paris-CDG airport and about 54 km from Beauvais Tillé.low cost fly airport.

Ok so let’s go on a tour of Chantilly. First, the racecourse /Hippodrome on flat races with the prestigious prizes of the Jockey-Club and the Diane.It is managed by the group France Galop even if the Institut de France is the owner It opened in 1834 but the current run trails are from 1879.The big stands were built in 1881 making them the oldest in France. The old weigh building was built in 1891,and the committee stand or old stand of the Prince (main one) was built in 1911.

Of course, the Castle ! built for the constables Montmorency later residence of the Condé , and finally the Duke of Aumale,fifth child of Louis-Philippe,king of the French who bequested it to the Institut de France.The castle was built in two parts : Petit Château and the Château Neuf. The first one petit or small was built in 1560 for Anne de Montmorency. 18C decoration and renovated in the 19C. The second one or neuf =new was built between 1876-1882 and has the painting galleries, libraries, as well as Chapel. A gallery built in 1840 connects the two castles. The castle is surrounded by a very nice forest park of 115 hectares where 25 are on water. You can see the big lawns done by André Le Nôtre,the Anglo-Chinese garden done between 1772-1774 on which center you find the village of Chantilly, the English garden done in 1817 around which there is the temple of Vénus ,and the parks of Cabotière and Sylvi. Inside, the castle you have the Museum or musée Condé with one of the best collection of ancient arts in France, and second only to the Louvre. The museum has a collection of about 1300 manuscripts of which there is the famous The Three Rich hours of Berry . By will, this collection cannot modified in its presentation or loaned according to the last will and testament of the Duke of Aumale to the Institut de France.

Chantilly castle escalier d honneur c2008

Chantilly castle hall c2008

Chantilly castle cabinet de livres library c2008

Chantilly castle salon 1 c2008

Chantilly castle bureau c2008

The big stables or Grandes Écuries,where you have the living museum of the horse or musée vivant du cheval.These were built between 1719-1740 with a cupola dome of 186 meters of 38 meters high ,allowing for hosting 240 horses and 500 chase dogs. You can see dressing demonstration and horse shows here. The gate or porte Saint-Denis is an unfinished part by the entrance to the stables or Grandes Écuries on the other side; Church of Notre Dame side.

Along the Nonette river there is the building of the pavillon de Manse built in 1678 to house an hydraulic machine. The use of it was to push the waters of one source, falling to the reservoir at open air, and from there distribute the water to the basins fountains and cascades, water games decorating the gardens of the Grand Condé, designed by Le Nôtre. Next to the pavillon de Manse there was a building built in the 20C to stock and supply the Castle and town of water and to house an industrial laundry that you can still visit.

The vegetable garden of the Princes or the potager des Princes is an old garden of Phesandry built in 1682. By 1773, Louis V Joseph de Bourbon-Condé change it to the Roman pavilion or pavillon Romain aka salon de Rafraîchissement (refreshement room). It was split from the domain during the French revolution and became private property and a horse clinic. All was restored by Yves Bienaimé, also the creator of the museum of the living horse and opened to the public in 2002.

The parish Church of Notre Dame was built between 1687- 1691, on the plans of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and under the direction of Pierre Gittard. It was consecrated in March 1692 ; later enlarged in 1724. By 1854,it was renovated on the right lower atar to house the hearts of the Princes of Condé taken from the old Chapel of the castle during the French revolution. They were returned to the Chapel in the Castle in 1883.

The mansion or Hôtel Lovenjoul, built in 1730, located in the semi circle of the officers house at 23 de la rue du Connétable. Bequested to the Institut de France in 1906. It housed the library of the Viscount Spoelberch de Lovenjoul, with about 1 400 manuscripts written in the 19C and stamps giving to the Institut. In 1987,the collection was taken from the library to the Institut de France Paris,and the Hôtel Lovenjoul sold to private persons. It can be seen for its architecture.

The table of Montgrésin is on the south of the forest limiting the territory of the city and Avilly-Saint-Léonard, in the middle of the traffic circle on the route between La Chapelle-en-Serval and Chantilly. This table de Montgrésin or table of the king in stone dates from 1669-1670 according to the plans of André Le Nôtre. It is a sacred place of the hunting, traditional rdv for the depart of hunters from the Prince and its successors of the chase. It was ,also, a place where the Prince welcome the visitors at the entrance to their domain like in 1671,when the Grand Condé hosted king Louis XIV.

There is so much in architecture here, that walking and seeing is believing in my belle France. Some of my favorites are the Hôtel de Beauvais, located at 12 rue du Connétable, the oldest in town built by Anne de Montmorency in 1539 to served as resident to the captain of the hunt etc ; the Hôtel Quinquempoix,built in 1553 at 50 rue du Connétable, Hôtel d’Andigné de la Chasse, at 74 rue du Connétable ; the Chapelle Sainte-Croix, aka Mother Mary ,one of seven Chapels built on orders of Anne de Montmorency from 1534 to 1538; the others are Saint-Pierre, Sainte-Croix-en-Jérusalem, Saint-Jean, Saint-Paul, Saint-Laurent, Saint-Sébastien, and Notre-Dame.

A bit of history as brief as possible that I like:

Chantilly was mentioned in an act around 1223,between Guy IV de Senlis and the priory of Saint-Leu-d’Esserent that mentioned for the first time the Terra cantiliaci (or Cantilian lands). It was in 1282 that it mentioned the forest around the two found on a parliament act of Paris. Then, in 1358, we hear of the first mentioned of a castle ,its destruction while the local wars and its reconstruction by 1394. By 1673, the Grand Condé ordered built a new road of Gouvieux that is today the rue du Connétable, the lands on each side are what it is the first inhabitation of the town, shops for the builders and trademens of the castle and domestic housing. The Grand Condé writes a wish on his will to built a Church not far from the castle ,and is son Henri Jules de Bourbon-Condé fulfilled the wish of his father in 1692 by ordering built the Church of Notre-Dame , and a parish subject to the bishop of Senlis. However, it is his grandson Louis IV Henri de Bourbon-Condé,that is credited as the real founder of the city and the first map of it by mapping the axe on the route de Gouvieux, that is today the Grande Rue. Upon the beginning of the construction of the Great stables or Grandes Écuries in 1721,the Prince created in 1727 the lots at the end of the road which were later the officer’s houses under the French revolution.

At the French revolution the Condé’s were amongst the first ones to escape just after the taking of the Bastille July 17 1789. The domain was taken over from 1792 and sold in lots ! with the first one sold between 1793 and 1795 ; the old vegetable garden, the cascades garden, the last lots available along the current rue du Connétable , and around the current lawn and all houses belonging to the Prince ; many of which will never come back to the family. The rest of the domain is divided in lots in 1798 and sold thereafter. The castle is turned into a prison from 1793-1794. Followed by the sale as national asset in 1799,and changed into stone quarries with only the small castle or « petit château » preserved. The stables or Grandes Écuries were taken by the army where they are house thereafter from 1803-1806 and other regiments from 1808-1814. By 1815,the Prince Louis V Joseph de Bourbon-Condé returned to his castle or what is left of it; he gets back some and buys the rest. His son Louis VI Henri de Bourbon-Condé has installed in town the fountains in 1823 and a great part of the streetlights in 1827.

By 1834, the lawns of Chantilly welcome for the first time horse racing with stands , improved over the years to the one you see today. Before the start of WWI in 1912 the first prize Jockey Club was held . This horse racing ambiance brought many British families as jockeys, trainers, helpboys becoming about 76% of the workforce here and creating a community by with even an Anglican Church was built in 1870. This horse tradition brought many wealthy families of the time over to Chantilly to build big mansions such as the Rothschild at Gouvieux. As well as the building of luxurious hotels such as Grand Condé 1908 .At the castle , the Duke d’Amale rebuilt between 1876 -1882, and enriched it with the best collections of Art at the times while receiving famous visitors such as the emperatrice of Austria Élisabeth, dite Sissi,Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovitch of Russia etc it was opened to the public in 1898 and later bequested to the Institut de France, the current owners.

By September 3 1914,the Germans entered the town but spares it all leaving the next day. Even with the occupation of the castle they did not destroyed anything! After the Battle of the Marne ,General Joffre installed the HQ army here as it was good transport by train from Paris ;this is done on November 29 1914 while Gen Joffre lived at the mansion Villa Poiret,a few meters from the castle main. He brings the allies to the conferences held here December 6-8 1915 to determine the course of action in the war in 1916. The Army HQ leaves the city in December 1916 for Beauvais. Chantilly host a ambulatory hospital for the wounded in the front located at the mansion or hôtel Lovenjoul as well as Pavillion Egler. The land lot of Aigles, just outside city limit at the town of Gouvieux host an aviation squadron of the French army coming from 251 Étampes-Mondésir from and until the peace was signed in WWI. The Nazis entered the city again in September 13 1940 and stayed; using the Grandes Écuries as veterinary hospital for their horses while the HQ is set up at the hotel or hôtel du Grand Condé . The city is liberated by American tanks on August 31 1944, and later the 8th US Air Force set up HQ at the same hôtel du Grand Condé.

The best information ,other than I ,,,,,,are the tourist offices.

The Official Domaine de Chantilly:

The Friends of Chantilly Condé museum for reference:

The Chantilly tourist office on its heritage :

The city of Chantilly on heritage:

There you go folks, a must to visit while in France ! All worth it at magical Chantilly, one of my friends of the castle property I am member of, and glad to do so since 2008. Again, hope you enjoy the post and even more the visit to Chantilly.

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: