Menars Castle is one of the many jewels we can find on the banks of the Loire River. A fairytale castle, with dream gardens and witness of unique episodes in the history of France. Let's get to know him a little better. Can you come with us?
The history of Menars Castle
The history of Menars Castle begins in 1646. It is then that Jacques Charon, of noble origin, Councilor of State and governor of Blois, orders to build a small palace on the banks of the Loire River. It is the main building and the two pavilions that today preside over the entire architectural complex.Aerial view of the castle - Lieven Smits / Wikimedia Commons
Years later, in 1669, his son Jean-Jacques Charon, chief magistrate of the Paris Parliament, inherits the property. Two unequal wings are then added, which slightly break the symmetrical harmony of the first building. In addition, it increases the land of his property and Luis XIV names him Marquis in 1676.
After the years, Madame Pompadour, lover of Louis XV, will acquire the palace and commission new extensions to the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel. He is the most important architect of the reign of Louis XV.
The castle would undergo more modifications years later. In 1764, a new extension is designed. Its new owner, Madame Pompadour's brother, duplicates the dependency block by the courtyard's facade.
But nevertheless, the height of the castle slows down during the French Revolution. In this period it undergoes a great degradation. In 1804, Claude-Victor Perrin, at the service of Napoleon I and later Minister of Defense of Louis XVIII, acquired the castle to celebrate sumptuous parties. This will undertake a major renovation.
However, the main change occurs in 1830. That year Prince Joseph de Riquet de Caraman makes it a professional school in order to train young people from different countries and social classes equally.
Since 1949 it has been declared a Historic Monument of France and since 2000 the castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.In January 2018, it went on auction for 30 million euros.
Menars Castle ArchitectureMain building - Daniel Jolivet / Flickr.com
Despite the added constants, Menars Castle is very harmonious.The complex consists of a main building in the middle of the farm, several pavilions on the sides and an extensive entrance consisting of a path that leads to a small square where the main building opens.
To this we must add some back gardens of Versailles style with decoration of classic statues. Everything takes place in 63 rooms spread over 12,000 m² and a garden of 50 hectares with several whims or exempt pavilions.
Inside, Highlights include the Dais Hall, the former Company Hall and the library. Most rooms have a beautiful fireplace topped by a mirror and furniture designed by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel.
On the other hand, part of the furniture designed specifically for the castle by Jean-François Oeben is preserved, an important Parisian cabinetmaker. In addition, its last owner, the millionaire Edmond Baysari, has dedicated himself to restoring the castle, giving him back the image he must have had in time of Madame Pompadour.
The castle gardensCastle Gardens - LauterGold / Flickr.com
The castle gardens are a delicious place to walk. As we indicated, they have an area of 50 hectares and They were designed on several terraces until they reached the Loire River. Its architect was Jean-Jacques Charon, who in the second half of the 17th century designed a French-style castle.
A century later, one of the terraces was renovated to put a collection of classic sculptures. Likewise, the place was completed with an english garden with trees of various species and various gazebos.
It also has muddy roads, groves, an oriental-style kiosk designed by Charles de Wailly, a cave on the banks of the river and a nymph (source dedicated to the nymphs) designed by the French architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot.In 1986 they were cataloged Historical Monument of France.
Curiosities of Menars Castle
The history of Menars Castle is linked to the love affairs between Louis XV and Jeanne-Antoinette Lenormant d'Etoilles, the famous Madame Pompadour. In him, precisely, the king lived the last years of his life with his favorite.
On the other hand, This castle has had all kinds of prominent characters housed in its rooms. Kings, marquises, ministers, military, politicians like Ronald Reagan, singers like Mick Jagger or Prince Charles of England have passed through their stays.