ⓘ Chateau-Neuf de Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The Chateau-Neuf de Saint-Germain-en-Laye was a French chateau in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, now mostly demolished, which ser ..

Chateau-Neuf de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

ⓘ Chateau-Neuf de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

The Chateau-Neuf de Saint-Germain-en-Laye was a French chateau in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, now mostly demolished, which served as a royal residence from the second half of the 16th century until 1680. It was built on the grounds of the older Chateau de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which became known as the Chateau-Vieux.


1. Construction

The central building, on the edge of the terrace, was ordered in 1556 by Henry II of France and Catherine de Medici and was built by Philibert de lOrme. Called in its day la maison du theatre the theater house, a succession of terraces and stairs gave access to the baignerie from French baigner, "to bathe" on the Seine.

From the beginning of his reign in 1593, King Henry IV would come to Saint-Germain because he took pleasure in the view the chateau and its terraces offered of the valley of the Seine, a view like that of his birthplace, the Chateau de Pau. He ordered from Baptiste Androuet du Cerceau an expansion of the terraces by the Seine. Work began in 1594.

Quickly finished by executive architect Jean de Fourcy, with Guillaume Marchant conducting the masonry work, the job involved the installation of grottoes, with automated fountains made by Italians, the Francini brothers, Thomas and Alexandre. The French garden, spread out by the Seine on five terraces, was designed by landscape designer Etienne Duperac and by gardener Claude Mollet.


2. History

At the outset, the chateau was the dwelling of those who had it built: Henry II, who died in 1559 from a lance wound received in a tournament in Paris, three years after the chateau was begun; and, above all, his wife, Catherine de Medici.

Henry II would expand Chateau-Neuf considerably and sojourn there regularly, while his numerous children, legitimate and bastard, lived at Chateau-Vieux.

Catherine stopped going to the chateau toward the end of her life in 1589, after her astrologer, Come Ruggieri, predicted that she would meet her death in Saint-Germain.

In 1562, two years after the death of King Francis II of France on December 5, 1560, the Queen of Navarre arrived in Saint-Germain escorted by a grand cortege at the head of which rode her spirited second husband, the Duke of Vendome. Several days of festivals ensued with diverse games and even a bullfight. Among the guests was their son, the 9-year-old Henri de Bearn, the future Henry IV, and Henry IIs third son, the 11-year-old Duke of Orleans who would become the future Henry III.

It was in this chateau that Louis-Dieudonne Louis the God-given, the future King Louis XIV, was born on September 5, 1638. His father, Louis XIII, died there on May 14, 1643.

Chateau-Neuf was the refuge of Charles II of England in 1650, after the execution of his father.

During the Fronde, the French civil war in the mid-17th century, the Grande Mademoiselle ", Anne Marie Louise, Duchess of Montpensier, came to Saint-Germain seeking asylum and installed herself at Chateau-Neuf where "she lay in a wonderfully beautiful chamber in a ruined tower, well-gilded and large but with no glass in the windows and a meager fire."

In 1668, a grand ceremony was organized that set off from the Chateau-Neuf for the baptism of the Grand Dauphin at the Sainte Chapelle of the Old Chateau.

In 1682, the French Court left Saint-Germain for the Palace of Versailles.

On January 17, 1688, Louis XIV allowed the exiled James II of England to base himself at Saint-Germain. There he stayed with his court in Chateau-Neuf, and then in the two chateaux, until his death.

In the 1770s, the dilapidated chateau was given by Louis XVI to his younger brother the Comte dArtois with the sum of 600.000 livres for work to be done on it. Demolition and reconstruction projects were carried out by the architects Joseph Belanger et François Chalgrin.

When the Revolution came, the Chateau was declared bien nationaux and sold to its former manager, who demolished it, parceled out the land, and sold the materials. Nothing remains today but the Pavilion of Henry II, the Pavillon du jardiner, and a few vestiges of the cellars to be found in the neighborhood – 3 rue des Arcades, for example.

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