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:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.