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

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Steve M (2 months ago)
Nice to visit but a bit small as it took us les than an hour to go through the exhibits and there were no visit that day. Call ahead to confirm the guided visits
Forasteiro Maltrapilho (8 months ago)
Beautiful place. A beautiful forest around and a wonderful view.
Sneza (10 months ago)
Beautiful place. I loved it!
sonet France (10 months ago)
Nice place to visit
Yuriy Tyukhnin (2 years ago)
The museum of the French Renaissance, was built in XVI century for Anne de Montmorency, the Connétable de France, chief minister and commander of the French army of King Francois I, and then for Henri II. After the visit take a walk around the castle to enjoy the view.
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