The Neues Schloss in Meersburg was the seat of the Prince-Bishop of Constance from its construction in 1750 until the bishopric was dissolved in 1803. Construction began in 1710 under Bishop Johann Franz II. von Stauffenberg, with Christoph Gessinger designing and supervising the work. It would be two years later in 1712 that the project was finished. The building was, however, a bit unfinished as a symbol of the power of the bishop. The upper story contained a number of apartments for visiting nobles and church leaders as the residence of a Prince-Bishop should, but it lacked a grand staircase and other trappings of wealth and power.
When Hugo Damian von Schönborn, who was already Bishop of Speyer and had already built Schloss Bruchsal there, took over the seat at Meersburg in 1740 he wanted to improve the Neues Schloss. He brought in the master builder Johann Georg Stahl from Bruchsal to turn the Schloss into a more impressive and elegant building. Following plans from Balthasar Neumann, Johann built an impressive staircase and decorated the castle.
From 1741 until 1743 the castle chapel was added, based on plans from Balthasar Neumann. The art and statues are the work of the fresco painter Gottfried Bernhard Göz from Augsburg (1708–1774) and the sculptor Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer (1696–1770).
By 1759 the Prince-Bishop Cardinal Franz Konrad von Rodt had the castle renovated under the direction of the master builder Franz Anton Bagnatos. The already dilapidated stairway had to be restored. The baroque facade of the castle was redone in the Rococo style, with enlarged windows, additional decoration around the windows and new gables.
The interior decoration is the work of the Mainz artist Giuseppe Appiani (c. 1705–1786) and the sculptor Carlo Luca Pozzi (1735–1803). Among the paintings by Appiani are two enormous paintings over the Grand Staircase from 1761 and over the ballroom from 1762.
During the 19th century and until 1955 the Schloss served as a school for girls, a local prison, a sailors' school, a secondary school and from 1865–1937 as the Baden Institution for Deaf-mutes, which moved to Gengenbach after 1937. Following World War II it was used as barracks for French troops.
Today the castle is home to several museums. In addition to the Town Gallery and the Dornier Museum, which take up the 2nd floor, the New Palace is also home to the Palace Museum of the Prince Bishops (Fürstbischöfliche Schlossmuseum) on the 3rd floor. It offers the opportunity to view the residential and representation rooms of the prince bishops refurnished with contemporary appointments from that age.References:
The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.
Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.
Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.
In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.
The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.