The Château de Dinteville, tucked amid fields and rolling hills, was built in the 16th century around a 13th-century keep. It was home to the Dinteville family, famous in the Champagne region for its illustrious figures: bishops, ambassadors and officers of the King. The family died out in the 17th century; the château was purchased and restored by the Chevalier Le Brun in the early 18th century. It is best known for its five-hectare park that presents structured elements (a water alley and rows of centenary lime trees) and a layout harmoniously linked with the forest setting.
The park is the work of the Vicomte de Sainte Maur, who also built the marvellously constructed Orangerie in the early 19th century. A carved stone building with a slate roof, the Orangerie is built against a hillside, facing south. Palm trees that provided summer decoration for the courtyard of honor were housed within its walls and the Marquise de La Ville-Baugé conserved her orchids there. One of two large green-houses remains. Above all, the elegant Orangerie was far ahead of its time in the use of innovative building techniques and natural insulation. It maximizes its southern exposure to take advantage of the climate while protecting delicate plants during harsh winters. Its design addresses many of the concerns felt today – the need to harmonize a site with its natural environment and create natural temperature control.
The chapel is part of the Hôtel Dieu and belongs to the Civil Hospices of Lyon, a renowned medical facility that was the site of France’s first heart transplant. Founded in the 12th century, its current structures date from the 17th - 19th centuries. The complex includes magnificent buildings designed by celebrated Classical architect Jacques Germain Soufflot. A large dome dominates the structure, which also features an imposing chapel, refectory and cloister, whose south wall is the sole element that remains of the Medieval hospital, where humanist writer and doctor, François Rabelais practiced medicine from 1532 to 1535. The magnificent Baroque chapel was constructed from 1637 to 1655.
The chapel offers a rich collection of statues and frescoes. Its last restoration dates from the early 19th century. Its frescoes by Dennuelle are exquisitely painted, featuring a wonderfully homogenous style and splendid detail; of particular note are both the variety of color and the force of the painted decoration. The current restoration of the chapel is being overseen by Didier Repellin, Architect en Chef des Monuments Historiques and long-time collaborator with French Heritage Society. The restoration was funded thanks to funds raised by at a French Heritage Society Dîners des Mécènes, which will contribute to the restoration of the Baptismal Chapel.
The abbey is a perfect example of a medieval monastic community as conceived by Saint Benedict and later reformed by Saint Bernard. The 12th-century church, cloister, and chapter house are superb examples of Romanesque Cistercian architecture. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the abbots and priors rebuilt several buildings, laid out terraced gardens and added a gate. The property has served as an historic monument since 1843, but has been privately owned since 1908, when Nicolas d’Andoque de Sériège’s grandfather bought it. He represents the third generation to oversee its preservation and management and continues the tradition of restoring the structure and grounds.
An impressive library was installed in 1910 with the participation of Symbolist artist Odilon Redon, who painted two panels. By commissioning contemporary artists for the newly inaugurated stained-glass windows, Mr. d’ Andoque de Sériège has been able to marry the ancient with the contemporary and render the abbey a living monument of timeless beauty with an immediate spiritual and emotional resonance. French Heritage Society’s grant will help to restore the south apsidal wall and roof of the treasury.
Constructed on a cliff near Aix-en-Provence, the medieval Château de La Barben, with its towers, turrets, and suspended terraces, blends with impressive natural surroundings. Medieval architectural elements are combined with additions from the 17th and 18th centuries, giving the château a unique austerity and classicism. In 1474, the château was awarded by King René of Provence to Jean II Forbin. The Forbin family played an important role in the unification of Provence with the Kingdom of France, and their motto “You made an Earl of me. I made a King of you” is prominently displayed.
In the 19th century, the painter Marius Granet, who was born in Aix-en-Provence, wrote: “La Barben is the most ancient and picturesque château in Provence.” The site is very much lived in and shared with the public; M. and Mme. Pillivuyt operate a number of guest rooms that are tastefully furnished and offer a refined traditional style. They also organize exhibitions, concerts and receptions that bring the château to life. French Heritage Society’s grant will be applied toward the restoration of the outside double staircase and surrounding door and windows.