Saturday, March 10, 2012

A French Country Weekend

Chateau de Groussay
Not far from us is the fantastic Chateau de Groussay. I choose the word "fantastic" because I venture to say it is unlike any chateau anywhere in the world. Its gardens are sprinkled with follies, its interiors once an eclectic mix of the gorgeous and the garish.

We first visited the chateau in 1999 when it was for sale by Sotheby's. In tents on the grounds the contents of the interior were on offer. Those alone reportedly sold for $26.5 million. Yesterday I was told Groussay is back on the market.

The chateau was built in 1815 by the duchesse de Charest, a daugher of Louise Elisabeth de Croy-Havré, marquise de Tourzel, the governess for the children of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

The 250 seat theater.

In 1939 Groussay was purchased by one of the stars of Cafe Society at the time, the aesthete Carlos de Beistegui who enlarged the main structure and with the professional assistance of Emilio Terry built the follies in which we've been told over the years great folly was had by many a guest and visitor to chez Beistegui.

Dominique Dunne wrote a profile of Beistegui for Vanity Fair in 1998 entitled All That Glittered.

Cecil Beaton's inspiration for the Henry Higgins' library in My Fair Lady was the Groussay library above.

The Chinese pagoda.

Tente Tartare
Beistegui re-landscaped the grounds and created gardens inspired by the Anglo-Chinese gardens of the 18th century and by the 18th century Cooper tents at Hagaparken in Sweden. It is here that he strategically placed his follies: a Chinese pagoda, a labyrinth, a theater of verdure, a Tartar tent and an observation tower.

Imagine living in what was reportedly one of the great playgrounds for the rich and famous in the mid 20th century.


Mouse said...

alas, a little too rich for my taste and budget but I do love the library and it has given me ideas.....

bon weekend Tish!

The enchanted home said...

This is fascinating...and so beautiful, that theater rivals any beautiful theater on Broadway in!!! That is some home, do you think it will stay in private hands to one family?

LuxeBytes said...

I suppose it'll be purchased by some tacky Russian mobster. They're the only ones who seem to have money these days.

xoxoxo --

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

My heart stopped at that library! Really!
And yes, I immediately thought of Rex Harrison!!

24 Corners said...

I think that library would do very nicely!!!
Gorgeous place!
xo J~

Mary Timmers said...

That's a WOW! I would love to visit there. It's all beautiful, but I especially like the LIBRARY. I would walk in a smell the books with their history! Thanks for the post, Tish!

BigLittleWolf said...

Lavish, indeed!

It's hard to imagine that a select few once lived in such splendor. Then again, a select few still do... our 1200-some billionaires among them, I would imagine.

Perhaps one of them might be interested in this little place as getaway?

(Not to my taste, but nonetheless, quite a remarkable trouvaille.)

Russian Chic said...

I could feel at home there.

helen tilston said...

Bautiful to visit but I have no desire to own it. My preference is smaller with tall ceilings. The library is beautiful.

Have a delightful weekend

Helen xx

Lost in Provence said...

Oh my. Just insanely beautiful! It makes me sad that it is up for sale. Why would anyone ever let that go?

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