Chateau Giraud

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France | C.1855

Photo Credit: John Tanner

Located in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue – a Provencal town in southeast France known for its markets and waterwheels on the Sorgue River – Chateau Giraud was built in 1855 for cellist Frederic Giraud by a Parisian architect who took the opportunity to give an air of Ile de France to Provence.

Constructed in a two-hectare park, this chateau features references to medieval art alongside a strong classical tradition particularly visible in the moldings and the diversity of materials utilized in its construction. The red bricks contrast with the white stone and beautifully emphasize various elements of the façades.

The four-story building has four facades – each distinct from one another. The decor of the facades is a mix of styles and times. Gothic in the frame, classic pediments and balusters, Renaissance crosses, Louis XIII brick, Victorian bow-windows and a 19th century wrought-iron balcony, making it quite an eclectic building for this time. A plaque of Mr. Giraud is engraved above the main entrance along with portraits of Paganini, Mozart and Haydn.

Ten years before Giraud’s death, his chateau became the property of two other owners from 1907 – Geoffroy and Gautier – after whom the surrounding park is named. Then in 1964, the property was sold to the “Supermarkets of Provence”, who wanted to demolish the building and turn the park into a commercial zone.

The plans eventually fell through, and the park was acquired by the city in 1968. Since 1972, the Chateau Giraud has been home to the municipal music school, and the surounding park hosts cultural events for the public. The building’s substantial age has prompted fundraising efforts for future renovations.

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