The Château de Rosny-sur-Seine was built of bricks and limestone by Maximilien de Béthune, duke of Sully, on the site of an old fortified manor that had been dismantled and burned in 1435. In 1529, the old building passed by marriage to Jean de Béthune, the grandfather of Sully, who was born at the old house, but it was modest by the standards of the day, and he had it replaced in the last years of the 16th century with a new building more befitting his high rank. He is reputed to have ceased building in 1610 at the death of Henri IV, who had visited him there and whose monogram appears on the decorated joists of a room there.
In 1709, the estate passed into the hands of the Olivier family. The château was inherited in 1740 by Jean-Antoine Olivier de Sénozan (1713-1778), from his brother François Olivier. He took up permanent residence there in 1753, with his wife the Countess of Sénozan (1718-1794). She was older sister to jurist, statesman and botanist Malesherbes. He was a frequent visitor to the estate. After Jean-Antoine's death in 1778, she seems to have returned to Paris, where she was executed in May 1794, on charges of conspiracy against the state.
The estate went to Madeleine Olivier de Senozan de Viriville (1764–1794), whose son, Edmond de Talleyrand-Périgord, sold it in 1817 to a Parisian merchant. From him it was purchased on 14 August 1818 by Charles Ferdinand, duc de Berry. It was the his summer residence until he was assassinated on 13 February 1820. Caroline Ferdinande Louise, duchesse de Berry then became châtelaine of Rosny. In 1826, she employed the architect Joseph-Antoine Froelicher to complete the construction of the wings that had been left unfinished by Sully after the death of Henri IV.
When she left France with Charles X in 1830, she bequeathed the château and recommended the staff to her aunt, Queen Marie-Amélie. When she had lost any hope of returning to France, after her exile, she sold the château and its property in 1836 to an English banker, who yielded in his turn to an anonymous company of businessmen. The property was then parceled out, and the château was slated to be dismantled. In 1840, the comte Le Marois acquired the estate, and saved the building from total destruction. The new owner, finding the residence too large for his use, demolished the wings built by the Duchess of Berry, leaving the remainder of the construction its current state.
From the 19th century until 1955, the château and the property belonged to the Lebaudy family, who arranged the commons to lodge their stables, and their kennels, since they practised fox hunting in the surrounding forests. The château was classified a monument historique in 1941. It hosted the 11th World Scout Conference in 1947.
The château was bought in 1955 by Doctor Hertz, who arranged in the commons a center of functional rehabilitation, he and later his widow, continued to live in the château until August 1984.
The château was acquired in December 1984 by a Japanese company, the Nippon Sangyo Kabushiki Kaisha and it underwent various degradations, including a fire in January 1997. It was largely stripped of its furniture, tapestries, chimneypieces, ornaments, statues, woodwork and even of certain trees from its parks, which were sold through auctions. It was repossessed by the State, and conservation work was undertaken by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.
Since 1999, the château has belonged to a private owner who wishes to make it a relais-château to accommodate overnight tourists. The work is still in progress, and the château is not open to the public.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.