Château de Martinvast was built in three different centuries: 11th, 16th and 19th centuries. The first castle was ruined in the Hundred Years' War and rebuilt between 1579 and 1581 by Bertholde du Moncel, with a wingframed by two large, square protucing fortified lodges. Of the medieval construction which remained, he only retained the keep. It was at that time surrrounded by moats and marshland. From 1820 to 1867, one of his descendants, Count Alexandre du Moncel, a brigadier and french peer, restored it to make it habitable and flanked it with four towers. Furthermore, he did away with the moats and dried out the marshland.
In 1867, Château de Martinvast was sold to Baron Arthur de Schickler, banker to the king of Prussia in Berlin and transformed into a neo-Gothic Château by the addition of a medieval gallery to the north and the erection of a wing in the same style which connected the keep and the 16th century construction. The architect entrusted with this transformation was the Englishman William Henry White, who had worked on numerous buildings in Paris.
In 1944, the 16th century construction was completely burnt to the ground by a British incendiary bomb, at the same timeas an American bomb blastdestroyed half of the neo-Gothic wing built in the 19th century.
The unique English park of 100 hectares is embellished with forest, meadows, gardens, ponds, waterfalls and an 19th century obelisk. Today Château de Martinvast is a hotel.References:
Claude Monet lived for forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926, in Giverny. With a passion for gardening as well as for colours, he conceived both his flower garden and water garden as true works of art. Walking through his house and gardens, visitors can still feel the atmosphere which reigned at the home of the Master of Impressionnism and marvel at the floral compositions and nymphéas, his greatest sources of inspiration.
In 1890 Monet had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint. Some of his most famous paintings were of his garden in Giverny, famous for its rectangular Clos normand, with archways of climbing plants entwined around colored shrubs, and the water garden, formed by a tributary to the Epte, with the Japanese bridge, the pond with the water lilies, the wisterias and the azaleas.
Today the Monet's Garden is open to the public.