French Heritage Society awards $268,034 in grants. These grants represent the fund raising efforts of the association and its Chapters through their activities across the US and in France.
Located in Normandy, near Dieppe, close to the sea, the Manoir d'Ango was registered as an Historic Monument in 1862 on one of the very first lists along with Versailles, Notre-Dame de Paris and the Louvre Palace. The manoir was built in 1530 by Jean Ango, a rich ship-owner from Dieppe. Ango was inspired by the Italian Renaissance as he was, through his work as ship-owner, in close contact with Italy. The loggia on the southern façade is illustrative of that influence and the gallery is decorated with Italian frescoes.
The façade features sculpted medallions that represent King Francis I, Ango, and their respective wives. In 1532 Ango had the refined brick dove cove built, which dominates the courtyard and could accommodate 3,200 pigeons – a clear illustration of his power and prestige. The onion dome, the only one in France, has a marked Byzantine influence in honor of the Franco-Turk alliance of 1536.
In 1523, Jean Ango asked Giovanni Verrazano, the great Italian explorer, to command four of his ships and sail west to find the passage to India. Verrazano crossed the Atlantic and sailed along the American coast from the Carolinas to Nova Scotia. Landing in what is now Maryland, he christened this paradisiacal land Arcadia.
The following year he discovered the site of New York and baptized it "Angousleme" to honor Francis I who had been Duke of Angouleme before becoming king.
In 1928, the estate was purchased by the current owners' family who largely restored the château and grounds.
Restoration: French Heritage Society's grant will help to restore the tile roof of the west wing of the château.
The Château de Longpra, southeast of Lyon, originally a Maison Forte typical of the region, entered into the family who currently owns it in 1536. In 1755, the austere structure was transformed into a refined house typical of the neoclassical and Italian tastes of the time. The owner at the time, Pierre Antoine Pascalis de Longpra, was a great lover of the arts. He hired the best artisans of the region, among them the famous cabinetmaker family, Hache.
They installed a permanent workshop in Longpra and created doors, furniture, staircases, parquet floors, etc. They left numerous tools behind that represent today one of the largest collections of cabinet making tools in France. The Château de Longpra remains an intact testimonial of the architectural and furniture heritage of the 18th century in the region and opens its doors for prestigious exhibits (Christofle) and concerts.
In 2004 major restoration of the roofs began. During this seven-year campaign, the Chief Architect for Historic Monuments was alerted several times by the owners of the need to restore the upper slope of the gambrel roof of the main building. Despite these warnings, the architect did not undertake this restoration. In the last ten years, that part of the roof severely deteriorated.
Today, the authorities have recognized that it was a mistake not to have included the middle of the roof in the original restoration campaign. The restoration has become urgent as water infiltrations threaten the carpentry work beneath it. The work will now be made more difficult due to the central position of the roof which will require special scaffolding to avoid damage to the recently restored sections of the roof.
Restoration: the upper slope of the remarkable gambrel roof of the main building
The Abbey of Reigny, located between Vezélay and Chablis, is a former Cistercian abbey situated on 14 hectares in Burgundy. Founded in 1128 on a former Gallo-Roman site by Father Etienne Toucy under the authority of St. Bernard, the Abbey of Reigny was put under the protection of Pope Eugene III in 1147. As of 1370 the abbey came under the protection of the King of France, Charles V. Although powerful and prosperous in the Middle Ages, welcoming up to 300 monks and brothers, the abbey has witnessed the vicissitudes of history.
In 1493 Charles VIII made it a Royal Foundation. The Hundred Years' War, the Wars of Religion and the French Revolution saw the destruction of portions of the abbey. However, it has retained remarkable buildings: the exceptional 14th-century Cistercian refectory (there are only three such examples in France), the hall and the monks' dormitory from the 18th century and redeveloped in 1925 when Coco Chanel and the Duke of Westminster stayed there. The foundations of the church can still be made out despite the demolished buildings. The entire Cistercian hydraulic system has also been preserved. For today's travelers, rooms were created in this former Cistercian abbey and breakfasts are served in the elegant 18th-century salons or in the garden. Since 2005, the current owners, who live at the abbey with their children, have undertaken an ambitious restoration and development program to bring the abbey back to life. It is open to the public for visits, concerts, exhibitions, receptions, weddings, and a bed and breakfast. A well-known musical festival takes place there every year.
Restoration: windows of the church
The Botanical Garden of the Château de Vauville, located on the extreme north coast of Cotentin in Normandy, has thrived with the more gentle climate influenced by the Gulf Stream. The garden is situated between the sea and the château and grows greenery native to the area and some 600 different species of exotic vegetation from South Africa, Tasmania, Madeira and the Canary Islands.
The manor was originally built as a fortress in 1163 by Richard de Vauville who participated in the Conquest of England with William the Conqueror. The château has been in the same family since 1890. The garden was created in the moat in 1947 by the parents of the present owners, who had a particular interest in exotic plants. Since 1980 the garden has grown from two to eight hectares. Reflecting pools where created, the banks restored, hedges to protect against the wind were integrated to give coherence to the garden. The current owners continue to collect unusual plants from all over the world. The on-going development and maintenance of such a garden only 300 yards from the sea with direct exposure to sand, wind, salt, and difficult weather, is a very challenging project.
Restoration: Urgent restoration of the green houses and orangerie greatly damaged by the severe snow storm with high winds in March 2013, which saw nearly 24 inches of snow fall in a single day. In addition, many plants and trees sustained damage. Teams worked around the clock for eight days to clear away the uprooted vegetation (more than 210,000 cubic feet of debris). The restoration of the green houses and orangerie is essential to incubate and house the plants needed in order to replant the vast gardens and repair the damage caused by the severe weather.
The Château de Sassy, one of the most beautiful châteaux in Normandy, was built in brick and stone in 1760 by the Comte de Germiny. The vast three-storey terraces in the park lead to the château. Two pavilions on both sides of the cour d'honneur dating from the 17th century remain from the previous château. In 1850 the château was bought by the first Duc d'Audiffret-Pasquier who had the study in the east wing of the château converted into a library to house the large collection from his ancestor, the chancellor Pasquier, an important public figure during the French Revolution and afterward. The interior decoration of the library was registered as a Historic Monument in 1994.
The second Duc d'Audiffret started a campaign to embellish the château. Between 1908 and 1913, he prolonged the western wing of the château and later had the park remodelled by the famous landscape gardener Achille Duchêne between 1920 and 1925. Duchêne worked in the grand manner established by André Le Nôtre and was the garden designer most in demand among French high society at the turn of the 20th century. Over a period of years his firm oversaw the design for some six thousand gardens in France and worldwide. The château also has the particularity of having the Greenwich meridian cross the far end of the western wing. Illustrious quests at Sassy have included Elizabeth II, Queen of England who stayed at the château in 1967.
Since 1999 and the death of the third Duc d'Audiffret-Pasquier, major restoration campaigns have been carried out. The roofing of the château, the chapel, the orangeries and the common buildings all suffered from water infiltration. Most of those sections of the roof have already been restored with special attention given to the replacement of the slate tiles.
Restoration: the roof and gutters on a section of the west wing of the château
The Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, just beyond the outskirts of early medieval Paris, was the burial place of Merovingian kings. At that time, the Left Bank of Paris was prone to flooding from the Seine, so much of the land could not be built upon and the Abbey stood in the middle of meadows, or prés in French, thereby giving it its name.
The Abbey was founded in the 6th century by the son of Clovis I, Childebert I. Under royal patronage the Abbey became one of the richest in France and remained a center of intellectual life until it was disbanded during the French Revolution. The abbey church remained however.
After the Second World War the quarter became the focal point for intellectuals like Sartre and de Beauvoir and epitomized Parisian cultural life. Philosophers, writers, actors and musicians, along with many Americans listened to jazz and discussed literature at the Café du Flore, Les Deux Magots and the Brasserie Lipp.
In 2011 a large restoration campaign began. The first phase, now completed, refurbished the sanctuary and restored the overall coherence of the structure. The second phase of work begins in 2013 for the restoration of the 19th-century murals and the stained glass windows.
Restoration: French Heritage Society's grant will help restore two prominent frescoes by Flandrin representing The Entry into Jerusalem and The Ascension to Calvary.
The Maison de l'Education de la Légion d'Honneur, located in Saint-Denis just to the north of Paris next to the celebrated Gothic Basilica which serves as the necropolis for the Kings of France, has a prestigious history in its own right. This public school for girls has rarely been open to the public so is less well known than its superb architecture and long history merit.
During Napoleon's reign as Emperor of the French, there were many military schools that educated boys to become soldiers. However, the education of girls was neglected, as the National Convention had closed all convents which had previously ensured their education. Napoleon created the Maisons d'Education de la Légion d'Honneur to take care of and educate the daughters, among whom many were orphans, of his best soldiers.
It is impossible not to make a link between the Maison d'Education de la Légion d'Honneur and the "Maison Royale de Saint-Louis" founded by Madame de Maintenon in Saint-Cyr which was used later by Napoleon as a school for officers of the French Army. Both schools were designed for daughters of poor officers or noblemen, and divided into classes identified by different colored ribbons.
The Maisons d'Education were chiefly run by nuns. Napoleon's first project was to create a school both for sons and daughters of the soldiers killed in the Battle of Austerlitz, but this project was not realized. A later decree creating the Maisons d'Education de la Légion d'honneur was signed in 1805 at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. It allowed for the creation of three schools where daughters of members of the Légion d'honneur could enter if they were between 7 and 10 years old, until the age of 21.
The first Maison was set up in the Château d'Écouen, is a property of the Légion d'Honneur since 1806. In a letter from 1807, Napoleon described the principles of the education that should be given to the girls: "to bring up believers and not thinkers." He required simple studies, aiming to "master vanity, which is the most active passion of the (female) gender" and make the pupils grow up to become modest mothers and wives.
In 1809, Napoleon signed a decree to create a second Maison d'Education de la Légion d'Honneur, at the Abbey of Saint Denis which had become property of the state in 1790 during the French Revolution.
The school was inaugurated 1811. In 1881, the education reforms enacted by Jules Ferry made religious schools convert to a secular curriculum. The Maisons d'Education de la Légion d'Honneur started following the same curriculum as the French lycées. The youngest girls studied in "Les Loges" in the former Augustinian monastery of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (opened in 1812), the intermediate classes were in Écouen and the oldest group in Saint-Denis. This is still the case today.
The Maison d'Education at Saint-Denis is housed in abbatial buildings entirely rebuilt in the 18th century by the famous architect Robert de Cotte who built the eastern and southern wings. From that time, the abbatial was laid out as a large square surrounding a cloister. Work began in 1700 and following Cotte's death, resumed in 1738, supervised by the first architect of the king, Jacques V Gabriel, with an additional wing added between 1776 and 1781.
Restoration: A campaign is currently underway to restore the Salon des Princes to reconstitute its original space. Additional restoration is required for the north facade of the Basilica, the roof, as well as the main entry gate. The use of French Heritage Society's grant from the Paris Chapter will be determined.
The Château de La Bussière was once one of the strongholds separating the Ile-de-France region from Burgundy. It hosted renowned figures including Joan of Arc and Charles VII. Destroyed during the Wars of Religion it was reconstructed in the 17th century by the Tillet family who took control of its lands.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, windows were pierced and a huge pond and a park were designed by Le Nôtre. The storms of 1999 and 2002 badly damaged the immense roofs of the château.
The square tower and its cast iron gallery was restored along with two towers and the slate roof on the entrance pavilion dating from the 19th century. French Heritage Society made a grant for this urgent need in 2001.
The restoration of the roof of the grand attic has continually been postponed because of its large surface (500 square meters) that has to be restored in its entirety. A mold invasion has further added to the delay.
Restoration: roofing of the grand attic
This château is on a human scale - it is so noble in its construction, so representative of the French heritage. It has lived and evolved over the centuries.
Today, Stéphanie and Géraud de Laffon have chosen to raise their six children there, perpetuating a chain of generations that have invested the château with a true spirit. It is open to the public and the entire family displays an inexhaustible imagination in organizing activities, which are much needed to support it and to keep it alive. Gizeux is famous for its Galerie des Châteaux dating from the 17th century. The murals of the impressive gallery require restoration, including one that represents the Château de Fontainebleau, site of French Heritage Society's 30th Anniversary Gala in 2012.
Restoration: 17th century murals in the Galerie des Châteaux
The Château de Caumale was built in the 11th century and remodeled in the 16th and 17th centuries on a flat plain among the vineyards that produce Armagnac. In the 18th and the 19th centuries, the château’s new owners, the Delisle family participated in the colonial adventure of many people from Aquitaine who left for the Caribbean. The Delisle family’s history traces the evolution of the wealthy plantation owners who cultivated coffee, cacao and sugar first in the Caribbean and then established successful commercial ventures in America and is thus a portrait of that milieu in the 18th century.
The Delisle family became ship owners in Philadelphia and planters in Saint Domingue, Cuba and Louisiana. Joseph Delisle was a great friend of Rochambeau whom he received often in Caumale. In 1870, the domain was sold and used as a farm. It suffered severely from the phylloxera epidemics but fortunately, the Armagnac production resisted.
In 2001, the château was given to the current owners who expressed the desire to restore it and open it to the public. In 2009, most of the roofs were badly damaged and now the entire building suffers from water infiltration threatening the solidity of the structure. The four angle towers are in danger of collapse, and need immediate restoration.
Restoration: the roofs of the four towers
The French Protestant (Huguenot) Church of Charleston is the only remaining independent Huguenot Church in America and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973. Designed by Edward Brickell White and built in 1844-5, the church that stands today was actually preceded by two others on the site. The first of which was built by a group 450 Huguenots who had fled France and settled in South Carolina's Low Country in 1687. After the first church was destroyed by fire in 1796, it was rebuilt shortly thereafter in 1800. The second church was torn down in 1844 to make way for a more attractive structure.
The Huguenot Church was the first Gothic Revival structure in South Carolina. The entire church, including its Gothic façade, is all white stucco on brick with a single tier of Gothic windows. It features multiple pinnacle-topped buttresses, a battlement parapet and dripstones. Cast-iron crockets top the pinnacles over the front windows and front gable. The interior is a single cell with ribbed grained vaulting. In 1845, a large tracker organ was installed, carved in the shape of a Gothic chapel.
Restoration: The church's exterior is currently undergoing a significant three-year restoration. French Heritage Society's support will help fund the restoration of the front façade of the church which is the most intricate and difficult and will be the final phase of the exterior restoration. The restoration will also reinstate the original color of the stucco, which after analysis proved to be a light pink!
Petite Plaisance, the home of renowned French author Marguerite Yourcenar, was turned into a museum upon her death. The first woman to be elected to the Académie Française, the multi- talented Yourcenar was a novelist, essayist, playwright, short story writer, poet, translator and world traveler. She settled in Maine at the onset of the Second World War. A master at reconstructing historical eras, her novels dealing with modern issues set in historical contexts won her immense fame as a writer.
The Trust that runs Petite Plaisance will apply for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and has received support from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. Petite Plaisance has also been invited by the Director of the Regional Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Lower Normandy to apply for "Maisons des Illustres" status. An application was submitted in February 2013.
Petite Plaisance was built around 1835 by prominent citizen Daniel "Squire" Kimball. The house is a simple clapboard farmhouse built using white siding exterior and black shutters, constructed in a gable-end design. A bay window and a covered porch have been added.
Restoration: removal of the old clapboard sidings and replacing them with new, historically accurate ones, repair of rotten boards or trim, lead paint prep, and repainting of the entire surface
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are the fourth most visited visual arts institutions in North America. As the Bay Area's major comprehensive fine arts museum, the Museums – formed in 1972 with the merger of the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor – offer Northern Californians an overview of artistic achievement spanning ancient times to the present. The Legion is known for its rich panorama of European art, from medieval times through the 20th century, and houses a fine collection of ancient art and one of the largest and most important collections of prints and drawings in the country. Annual attendance of the museum averages 400,000 visitors.
The Legion of Honor was built by Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Spreckels and opened to the public in 1924. It was designed as a 2/3 scale replica of the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur in Paris. In 1962, the Salon Doré was installed there. Richly carved and gilded, this room was designed during the reign of Louis XVI as the main salon de compagnie of the Hôtel de la Trémoille on the rue Saint-Dominique and is one of the finest examples of French neoclassical interior architecture in any museum in the world. The Salon was offered by its owner Richard Rheem in 1959 to the Legion of Honor. The museum's "no period room" policy was changed in order to accept the impressive Salon Doré.
Restoration: Restore the Salon Doré to its original size as a complete domestic interior with its parquet floor, windows, and ceiling. Once restored, the room will be furnished in a historically accurate manner.