A fortified château in Chamarande was built in the 16th century, probably for François Hurault, who in 1563 acquired the two seigneuries which make up the present estate and took up residence here. This castle corresponds to the present buildings of the commanderie. After the death of François Hurault in 1613, the château passed to his son Jean, who expanded the estate.
However, the château suffered in the Fronde and was in a poor state by the time it was sold in 1654 to Pierre Mérault. He built the present castle. Its design was formerly attributed to François Mansart without corroborating documentary evidence, but is now attributed to Nicolas de l'Espine. A rectangular building surrounded by a moat forms the living quarters, flanked on either side by the service wings The entrance to the main courtyard is flanked by two pavilions, with the left one containing the chapel.
In debt, Pierre Mérault sold the estate in 1684 to Clair Gilbert d'Ornaison known as Chamarande. The year after the sale, Louis promoted Bonnes into the 'county of Charamande' by letters patent. At d'Ornaison's death in 1737, the château passed to his first cousin and heir, Louis de Talaru, marquis de Chalmazel. The architect Pierre Contant d'Ivry worked on the château for de Talaru, building new service quarters beyond the secondary route near the village, and to the estate added an orangery, a belvédère, an oval bosquet and a cascatelle. He demolished the wall of the courtyard along the moat and put an ironwork gate with two lampholders in front of the bridge. He also modernised the interior decor.
In the 1780s, a water feature was added, with an island bordered by bald cypresses from Louisiana at its centre - it is traditionally attributed to the painter and garden designer Hubert Robert. After the French Revolution, Louis-Justin, marquis de Talaru, bought the estate under the Consulate and carried out repairs, redesigning the park in English style. Mayor of Chamarande, he lived at the Château until his death in 1850.
In 1852, the estate was sold to Pierre and René Robineau, and in 1857 it became the property of Victor Fialin, interior minister to Napoléon III and French ambassador to the United Kingdom. He created a luxuriously-furnished gallery on the château's ground floor, built a fortified wall round the estate, completed the transformation of the park and planted exotic trees. New service buildings were added: a farm, stables, a bergerie, a birdhouse, a kennel, a new icehouse and a winter garden. Near the new gate was placed an obelisk inspired by the Songe de Poliphile, which probably referred to the love-affairs of Henry II with Diane de Poitiers.
In 1876, the château was acquired by Aristide Boucicaut, founder of Bon Marché, who added a Renaissance-style dining room but died only a year after purchasing the château. From 1923 to 1951, the château was central to the creation of Scouting in France. In 1957, the last private owner was Auguste Mione, before the estate was bought in 1978, by the General Council of the Essonne.
In 2001, a contemporary art centre was set up at Chamarande at the instigation of Dominique Marchès. In season, from May to October, the centre hosts story-telling, music, dance and film festivals as well as gardening and heritage events in the park.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.