Château d'Écouen

Val-d'Oise, France

The Château d'Écouen was built between 1538 and 1550 by the architect Jean Bullant for Anne de Montmorency, who was made Connétable de France in 1538. Anne de Montmorency had inherited the château in 1515, and his building campaigns were informed by his first-hand experience in overseeing royal works at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Fontainebleau.

Anne de Montmorency was a major patron of the arts in France, and a protector of artists: his chapel was decorated with sculptures by Jean Goujon, and Jean Bullant, Barthélemy Prieur, Bernard Palissy. Some of the Androuet du Cerceau family found protection and work at Écouen. Unhappily, no building accounts survive, so the precise sequence of the construction cannot be closely followed; panels of grisaille stained glass in the gallery of the west wing are dated 1542 and 1544, and the east wing was paved in 1549-50. The building was frescoed and furnished during the 1550s, in the style of the School of Fontainebleau.

In 1787 the east (entrance) wing was demolished by the owner, the Louis Joseph de Bourbon, prince de Condé. When he emigrated at the Revolution, Château of Écouen fell to the State, as a 'national property'.

Following an idea of André Malraux the castle was thoroughly renovated by architects of the Monuments Historiques, after having served as a school for daughters of chevaliers of the Légion d'Honneur, from 1807 to 1962, in order to house the Musée de la Renaissance, comprising the Renaissance objects of the collections of the Musée de Cluny, in sympathetic surroundings. A series of small, highly focussed exhibitions have been staged at Écouen over the years since the museum fully opened in 1982.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1538-1550
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Le Vif Hungo (20 months ago)
beautiful château
Oleksandr Bezpalko (2 years ago)
Calm place with good exposition
Sylvain Dornadic (2 years ago)
This museum is a bit of the hidden gem. The collections of French Renaissance art are outstanding and the castle is a remarkably consistent and well preserved example of French Renaissance architecture. I've been there several times and have only ever seen a handful of visitors, plus the occasional group of school kids. If you're only going to see one museum in Paris the Louvre certainly has a larger and more prestigious collection of Renaissance paintings and sculptures while the decorative arts collections are pretty similar. However, if you have an extra day and want to get away from the crowds while also enjoying a stroll in the park I highly recommend this museum. Somewhat surprisingly there is also a very notable collection of Iznik ceramics which we were surprised to stumble upon during our first visit.
Merlijn Krijntjes (2 years ago)
Dramatic Chateau from the 16th century, currently the museum of the Renaissance. Great building, its huge. And even on a saturday afternoon not crowded like Versailles. Dont expect lavish interiors but there are a lot of cool fireplaces and pieces of art. For me the best part is the chateau itself.
Paul Rohith (2 years ago)
Excellent place. The antiques and pieces of history show the mindset and culture of the people that lived during the Renaissance
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Czocha Castle

Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.

Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.

In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.

In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.

After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.