Chateaux of Ile-de-France

Château de Blandy-les-Tours

The Château de Blandy-les-Tours was mentioned first time in 1216. It belonged to Adam II de Chailly, Viscount of Melun and consisted of a simple manor. The chapel was originally only stone building. In the 14th century, the castle was strongly modified with new fortifications: a moat was dug and a new gate-tower with a drawbridge was included in the enclosing wall. The kings Charles V (1364 - 1380) and Charles VI (1 ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Blandy, France

Château de Breteuil

Château de Breteuil is built on a promontory overlooking the Chevreuse Valley. For most of its existence, the castle has been known as Bévilliers -from latin bis villae (two villas)- which implies that this property would date back to the gallo-roman period. The first estate appears in History as early as 1066 with Guillaume Osbern, the first Breteuil, who was Seneschal to the Duke of Normandy. Guillaume Osbern took pa ...
Founded: 1596 | Location: Vallée de Chevreuse, France

Château de Monte-Cristo

The Château de Monte-Cristo is a writer"s house museum located in the country home of the writer Alexandre Dumas. The château was built in 1846 by the architect Hippolyte Durand. Dumas named it after one of his most successful novels: The Count of Monte Cristo (1845–1846). Durand also built a writing studio on the grounds, which Dumas named the Château d"If after another setting from the ...
Founded: 1846 | Location: Le Port-Marly, France

Château de Chamarande

A fortified château in Chamarande was built in the 16th century, probably for François Hurault, who in 1563 acquired the two seigneuries which make up the present estate and took up residence here. This castle corresponds to the present buildings of the commanderie. After the death of François Hurault in 1613, the château passed to his son Jean, who expanded the estate. However, the château suffered in the Fronde an ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Chamarande, France

Château d'Anet

The Château d'Anet is a château built by Philibert de l'Orme from 1547 to 1552 for Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of Henry II of France. It was a gift from the king and was built on the former château at the center of the domains of Diane's deceased husband, Louis de Brézé, seigneur d'Anet, Marshal of Normandy and Master of the Hunt. The château is especially noted for its exterior, notably the statues of Diane de ...
Founded: 1547-1552 | Location: Anet, France

Château de Dourdan

The Château de Dourdan was built at the request of Philip Augustus in the 1220s in the place of a wood structure. The castle became the property of Jean de Berry in 1385. It was besieged during the French Wars of Religion. Among some of the notable personages who resided in the castle were Philip IV of France"s daughter-in-law, Joan II, Countess of Burgundy, detained there from 1314 to 1315 in relation to the T ...
Founded: 1220s | Location: Dourdan, France

Château de Courson

The Château de Courson was built in 1676. Originally the home of the Lamoignon family, the château has been in the same family since the 18th century. Its historic park was laid out in formal style by a pupil of André Le Nôtre in the 18th century. During the 19th century the gardens were twice remodelled, first around 1820 for the Duc de Padoue by the landscaper Berthault, then again around 1860 by the Bülhers, who l ...
Founded: 1676 | Location: Courson-Monteloup, France

Château de Maisons

Château de Maisons, designed by François Mansart from 1630 to 1651, is a prime example of French baroque architecture and a reference point in the history of French architecture. History The family of Longueil, long associated with the Parlement de Paris, had been in possession of part of the seigneurie of Maisons since 1460, and a full share since 1602. Beginning in 1630, and for the next decades, René de Longueil d ...
Founded: 1651 | Location: Maisons-Laffitte, France

Palais Rose

The Palais Rose was built in 1899, inspired by the Grand Trianon in Versailles. The Palais Rose in Vésinet should not be confused with the “other” Palais Rose, which once stood on the Avenue Foch and was razed in the early 1970s. The two buildings did however share a number of features. Both structures were designed around 1900 in the “Grand Trianon” style. The Palais Rose in Vésinet ...
Founded: 1899 | Location: Le Vésinet, France

Château de Dampierre

The Château de Dampierre was built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1675–1683 for the duc de Chevreuse in French Baroque style. Protected behind fine wrought iron double gates, the main block and its outbuildings, linked by balustrades, are ranged symmetrically around a dry paved and gravelled cour d"honneur (three-sided courtyard). Behind, the central axis is extended between the former parterres, now mown h ...
Founded: 1675-1683 | Location: Dampierre-en-Yvelines, France

Domaine of Villarceaux

The Domaine of Villarceaux is a French château, water garden and park located in the commune of Chaussy. The gardens are located on the site of a medieval castle from the 11th century, built to protect France from the British, who at that time occupied Normandy, the neighboring province. Many vestiges of the medieval fortifications remain in the park. A manor house and French water garden was built there in the 17th cent ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Chaussy, France

Château d'Ambleville

The Château d"Ambleville is a French Renaissance style château located within the regional park of Vexin. The gardens are classified among the Notable Gardens of France. The château was built in the 16th century for the seigneurs of Ambleville and Villarceaux by architect Jean Grappin, on the foundations of a medieval castle on the banks of the Aubette. In the 17th century, the house was acquired b ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Ambleville, France

Château de Méréville

Château de Méréville is known of its landscape gardens made in the late eighteenth century. The château was first built as a medieval fortress, and then rebuilt on the medieval buildings" remains in 1768 for Jean Delpech. The 1768 phase was provided with modest formal gardens. The château and its park in the French gardening style were bought in 1784 as the last of his country houses ...
Founded: 1768 | Location: Méréville, France

Château de la Petite Malmaison

The Château de la Petite Malmaison was built between 1803 and 1805 for Joséphine de Beauharnais, owner of the neighboring Château de Malmaison. It was a reception pavilion adjacent to a large greenhouse, since destroyed. The large greenhouse was begun in 1804 by the landscape architect Jean-Marie Morel and completed by the end of 1805 according to plans by Jean-Thomas Thibault and his partner Barth&eacu ...
Founded: 1803-1804 | Location: Rueil-Malmaison, France

Château de Méry

Francois Mathieu Mole (1705-1793), Chairman of the Parliament of Paris, did redesign the Renaissance castle and replant the park, it's said that it was on the advice of the naturalist Georges-Louis Buffon (1707-1788). Looted during the Revolution, the gardens were redesigned in 1846 by Louis Varé Sulpice (1808-1883). Now owned by the town, the castle park, covering an area of twenty-seven hectares, offers the public its ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Méry-sur-Oise, France

Château de Ferrières

Château de Ferrières was built between 1855 and 1859 by Baron James de Rothschild. Rothschild ownership of the Château de Ferrières was passed down through the male line according to the rule of primogeniture. It is considered the largest and most luxurious 19th-century château in France. The château was designed by the British architect Joseph Paxton. The inspiration for the design ...
Founded: 1855-1859 | Location: Ferrières-en-Brie, France

Château du Verduron

The Château du Verduron owes its original fame to Louis Blouin, who held the prominent position of head valet in the court of Louis XIV of France from 1704 until 1715. Other distinguished owners of the property included Victorien Sardou, the French dramatist and one-time mayor of the Parisian suburb of Marly-le-Roi. The history of this property is rich and complex. In the Middle Ages, the current site of the Ch&aci ...
Founded: 1665 | Location: Marly-le-Roi, France

Château de Louveciennes

Château de Louveciennes is composed of the château itself and the music pavilion. The pavilion sits in the middle of a park that was designed in the 19th century. The château is an approximately cubic construction, of average size and modest appearance, which borders the chemin de la Machine (n° 6), a favourite subject of the Impressionists Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley. In 1684, Louis XIV ord ...
Founded: 1684 | Location: Louveciennes, France

Château de Guermantes

Construction of the Château de Guermantes was undertaken by Claude Viole (died 1638), whose family had possessed the fief of 'Le Chemin' since the mid-16th century. Paulin Pondre (1650-1723) purchased the property in 1698. He engaged Jules Hardouin-Mansart for renovations to the building, completed in 1710, and André Le Nôtre to lay out the garden. Pondre had become one of the most powerful fi ...
Founded: 1698-1710 | Location: Guermantes, France

Château de Beaumont-sur-Oise

The Château de Beaumont-sur-Oise is an ancient castle, one of the most important in the valley of the Oise. It has a rectangular Romanesque keep with buttresses 25m high and 5m wide. It was probably built by the count Mathieu (1090-1151) to replace a preceding timber structure of the castrum type which had existed from the 3rd century on this rocky outcrop. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times between the 10th ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Beaumont-sur-Oise, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.