Château de la Madeleine was originally built in 1129 by St. Adjutor (the patron saint of the river sailors, who died in 1131) and it was dedicated to Mary Magdalene. There is only one wall left to the west of the property. In 1407 a monk named Jean le Vigneron probably built a new castle and priory to the same site. The priory called 'priory of La Madeleine' remained church property until 1789, when it was confiscated. The property was purchased by an officer of the Empire, General de Bremont, married to a Pomeranian princess.
Casimir de la Vigne, a great 19th century century poet and playwright, then becomes the owner of the house. In 1849, the wealthy Baron Thenard, inventor of hydrogen peroxide, purchased the property, but died three years later, without having had time to start the renovations. His widow and daughter, having traveled throughout Europe, launched out into considerable works to give the castle its present appearance, combining baroque and rococo elements.
The Thénard family retained ownership until the early twentieth century. In 1924, the furnishings of the Castle were put up for auction and the castle was sold to M. Gianotti, architect of the Maginot Line. The latter added his personal touch to the Madeleine by building the far right wing of the castle, rightfully called 'the bunker', and his wife obtained the listing of the park with its 120 rare essences.
During World War II, the property was used as a school, a summer camp, but also as a resting place for the German Kriegsmarine. In 1945, when the Allied troops crossed the Seine at Vernon, the castle park was the scene of heavy fighting, in which seven Englishmen were killed.
After the war, the property was bought up by M. Lebrejal who restored the chapel. In 1960, the Lebrejals resold it to the Drouot firm who wanted to make a nursing home and a housing development in the woods. But as the site is classified, this housing estate project was banned, and la Madeleine was left in neglect.
In 1980 the Clermont couple fell in love with the place and acquired it. On her death in 1989, Claude-Marie was buried in the park and her husband Jean-Pierre continued the adventure. In March 2000, the castle became the property of his sons Paul Stephane and Olivier who have been restoring it since then.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.