Heavily fortified and perched safely upon a hilltop, the history of the Château de Benauge is defined by the ancient bitter rivalry between the French and the English, beginning with its near constant besiegement during the tumultuous 13th century. Though originally erected by a French duke, the château was seized by English King Henry III Plantagenet in 1253. The King soon presented the château to Jean III de Grailly, perpetrator of the English capture of the honorable French King Jean le Bon at the Battle of Poitiers, not far from the Aquitaine region of the chateau itself. The royal lineage continued when the Duke of Epernon, a close companion of King Henry III, and his wife Marguerite de Foix Candale gained ownership in 1587 before abandoning it to ruin for centuries. The havoc of the French Revolution brought about further deterioration of this medieval château. The Journu family has worked for over a hundred years to restore it to its original stature.
The FHS grant will assist with the restoration of the chapel and roof from the 17th-and 18th-century section of the building.
Having once hosted Henri de Navarre (later renowned King Henry IV) in the round Renaissance-style tower that was subsequently named in his honor, the Château de Bessay has for centuries been linked with the noble Bessay family, notable lords, captains and close confidents to many Kings of France. The château was also the birthplace to Cardinal de la Fare, who would later preside over the coronation of King Charles X in 1825. Although it would fall into neglect by the 19th century, the château was rescued by the Richou family in 1987, beginning its road to restoration.
The FHS grant will help restore the northern façade of the château.
Originally part of the Château d’Essay, the Chapel of the Dukes of Alençon is rumoured to have hosted esteemed guests including King Saint Louis and Joan of Arc, the latter a close companion of Duke Jean II d’Alençon, one of the original owners. Closely guarded by its proprietors through the ravages of both the Hundred Years War and the War of Religion, it is no small feat that the chapel still stands proudly today with three of its original façades, each impressively dating back to 1166. Though Queen Marie de Medici dismantled the Normandy château in 1616, transforming the beatific structure into a barn, it was thankfully rescued by Madame de Corcelle in 1895, who began its triumphant restoration. As a demonstration of the Valois-Alençon family’s royal privilege, the chapel was constructed in the two-story model of the iconic Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. However, today the floor that once divided the literal “upper echelon” reserved for the lords from the servants who attended services below them has been removed to enhance the dramatic acoustics of the chapel.
The FHS grant will assist with taking down the bay-window in order to restore the stone structure and the stained-glass windows.
A clear architectural product of the Enlightenment, the Forges de Buffon was built in 1768 by naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon. In an innovative twist, this vast project of iron and steel featured a blast furnace, a finery and an iron mill as well as downright luxurious housing for its workers, including a vault and an orangery outfitted with a bathroom. Located in the heart of Burgundy’s wine country, today this engineering masterpiece is now reachable by boat and open to the public for exhibitions, concerts and naturally, wine tastings.
The FHS grant will support the replacement of the water wheel and help restore the masonry of the walls of the canal, which regulate the current and water level.
Designed as a “jardin à l’anglaise,” according to the recommendations of the renowned philosopher, the aptly named Parc Jean-Jacques Rousseau is also where this esteemed thinker would eventually end his days. The poplar island where he was laid to rest soon became a place of pilgrimage to figures as notable as Queen Marie Antoinette and Benjamin Franklin. His body would later be moved to the Panthéon in Paris, though his tomb would remain at the park. Located in front of the Château d’Ermenonville in the Picardie region, it was the Marquis Réné de Girardin who in 1762 would begin the park and the château’s initial transformation with three aspirations: for the eyes to seize the picturesque views; for the spirit to take in the poetry of the sites; and for the heart to feel the romanticism emanating throughout. While the château would eventually become a hotel, the park was purchased and opened to the public by the Conseil Général de Picardie in 1989.
The FHS grant will assist with the restoration of the Temple of Modern Philosophy, which is intentionally left unfinished to symbolize infinity.
Built along the route to the famed medieval pilgrimage site the Abbey of Conques, the Château du Bousquet is undeniably the most powerful and most beautiful of the feudal fortresses of the Rouergue region within the Aveyron department. Built in a reliquary fashion, the château surrounds a chapel which faces the rising sun and is today a very rare remaining example of this kind of military architecture. This includes six towers each with crenulations and machicolations with two stories of covered guards’ walks. While under the care of the de Roquefeuil family, a distinguished family which boasts countless high ranking officers in the Royal French Army, the house was modernized by enlarging the windows and creating a staircase to allow easier access to the various wings. Since 1951, the château has been in the process of restoration under the ownership of the Dijols family.
The FHS grant will assist with the restoration of the slate roof of the 6th tower: central tower of the western façade which houses the staircase.
Proudly guarded by the same ownership since 1528, the Château du Touvet boasts a vast structured garden as well as a spectacular staircase of cascading water that is still considered one of the most remarkable in all of France, having flowed freely without any use of machinery for over 250 years. Looming high in the Alps, the château was once an imposing fortress encircled by moats and towers, valiantly defending the valley of Isère from the sieges of the Count of Savoie. However, as centuries passed the château grew both in size and grandeur, evolving into a “château de plaisance,” embodying the art de vivre of the aristocracy of the region through its painted panelling, gypseries, parquetry and draperies of golden leather.
The FHS grant will help restore the masonry work of the staircase of cascading water.