We’ve been working on some renovations at our house that got started in a rather dramatic way. One day last summer, our daughter discovered that her bed had punched through her bedroom floor. Her window had been silently leaking for years and the water had run down inside the walls. Eventually, the subfloor rotted, and the bed…well, you get the idea. One window led to the replacement of four more, now a sixth is on order. A word of advice, choose your window installers more carefully than I did about fifteen years ago. I thought they were…nice. The windows were just the start. Every time one project is done, twelve more present themselves. I can only imagine how much work must go into maintaining a great château.
After six years of work, the château de Champ-sur-Marne, to the east of Paris, just just reopened its doors. It had been closed after a ceiling collapsed, something like my rotted floor problem, except on a monumental scale. The château was built between 1703 and 1707 as a maison de campagne (mayzohn duh kam-pan-yuh), or country home. The rooms were decorated with painted panels created by Christophe Huet. Count Cahen d’Anvers bought it in 1895. A wealthy banker, he amassed an exceptional art collection, which has also just been restored.
A full inventory was done in 1935 when the château was given to the State. It was invaluable to those doing the restoration. There are also photographs of how the rooms looked when the house was occupied. Fifteen restorers, specializing in glass, metal, and ceramics, examined 2,700 pieces. Each object was weighed, measured, and photographed for a new inventory. Only 900 pieces will be exhibited, the rest will stay in storage. Two chinoiserie salons are particularly fine. The total cost of the restoration was 6 million Euros, financed by the state. The goal is to double attendance from visitors, dreaming of what life must have been like in this weekend cottage. Count me in! I may get inspiration for our next renovation project.
- Chateau Living (blarneycrone.com)
- A View From the Château of Le Grand-pressigny (averygrandpressigny.blogspot.com)
- Château de Villandry (michaelaandemma.wordpress.com)
- French Property For Sale Chateau | Buy A French Chateaux (prestige-propertyonline.com)
- June 24 – L’Magdeleine, Chateau de Milandes (franceanditaly2013.wordpress.com)