The picture-perfect Chateau de Sceaux is situated just six miles outside of Paris. Yet, despite its pristine facade and carefully manicured gardens, this historic Chateau was nearly sold off to real estate developers — until a local mayor stepped in to save it.
The Chateau was built by Louis XIV’s Minister of Finance in 1670 before being passed to his son a little over a decade later. His son embellished the grounds, added ornate sculptures and had a park laid out by famed landscape architect,André Le Nôtre, who designed the Palace of Versailles gardens.
By the turn of the 18th century, the Chateau had grown into a destination for the arts and music with opera-ballets and celebrations held year-round. Musicians and artists mingled among France’s wealthy nobility, with the author Voltaire among those enchanted by its parties.
However, at the onset of the French Revolution the Chateau’s glittering days of glamor came to an end. Revolutionaries seeking reparations from the monarchy and the Catholic Church confiscated the property and sold everything in the palace that wasn’t nailed down. The building was sold off to a merchant before being demolished a few years later, leaving only the stables and pavilion standing.
In 1862, the Duke of Trevise picked up the pieces and constructed a new chateau on the land, but when his daughter inherited the property, she nearly sold it off. Thankfully the Mayor stepped in and did his best to convince her to preserve it. Luckily he was successful in his endeavor.Today, the Chateau houses the Museum of Ile de France, which contains the largest collection of paintings by the famed “School of Paris” artists.From the Jean-Baptiste who first built the Chateau to the one who saved it, this Chateau has led a revolutionary history of rebirth — and once again stands as a home for artists.
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