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.

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Details

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

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Le Vif Hungo (2 years ago)
beautiful château
Oleksandr Bezpalko (3 years ago)
Calm place with good exposition
Sylvain Dornadic (3 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 (3 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 (3 years ago)
Excellent place. The antiques and pieces of history show the mindset and culture of the people that lived during the Renaissance
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