History of the castle
- History 2
Antoine d' Estrées (father of Gabrielle, mistress of the
king Henri IV), acquires of Pierrefonds for 18 000 ducats.
Within the framework of its policy of lowering of large feudal,
Richelieu, Minister for the War, make the head office of Pierrefonds
with 3 000 men, 500 horses and 4 pieces of artillery. In less than
one week, it crushes all the advanced works and makes collapse the
XVIIIe century. Given up, the castle
attracts some rare visitors. In 1798, it is sold like national good
for 8100 Frs.
1810. Napoleon Ier only repurchases
Pierrefonds for 2 950 Frs.
1832. Louis-Philippe gives a reception
at the time of the marriage of his daughter with Léopold
Ier, king of the Belgians.
1848. Pierrefonds is registered on
the list of the Historic buildings.
1850. The Prince-president, future
Napoleon III, Pierrefonds visit. A few years later, it will charge
Viollet-the-Duke of the restoration.
1858. Work starts.
1861. The preliminary drafts are modified.
It is not only any more question of a "picturesque ruin",
but of an imperial residence. Napoleon III is with the ridge of
his glory (Nice and Savoy was attached to France, the boring of
Suez Canal advances. -). The king of Prussia visits Pierrefonds,
which will undoubtedly influence it forty years later for the restoration
of the castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg in Alsace. Louis II of Bavaria
will be inspired him also in the construction industry by the castle
of Neuschwanstein in 1869. Viollet-the-duke then gives free course
to his gothico-romantic inspiration. Its imagination is unbounded:
does not make it produce for Napoleon III a coach of railroad of
style Gothic as well as immense room a 50 m long intended to receive
its collection of armours. The vault is a pure creation of the architect,
interpreting the dashes freely - Gothic style and applying it to
the pieces of furniture, with decoration.
1869. The statue with horse of Louis
of Orleans by Frémiet (sculptor of the archangel which dominates
the Mount-Saint-Michel) is installation in the large court.
1870. The war stops the restoration
abruptly, but the main part of external work envisaged are finished.
It remains to carry out the fences (doors, windows, glaziery), the
roughs-casting, the cover of the terraces and the pavements.
1879. Viollet-the-duke dies. The end
of the restorations is hard. One regards them as finished in 1884.
The collections of armours are transferred in Paris with the museum
from the Army. The castle remains deserted and its unfinished decoration
leaves to a strange impression of theatre without actors nor spectators.
It will cross two world wars without suffering any damage, symbol
of the uselessness of its defenses of another age. The national
Case of the historic buildings and the sites has now charges of
it the conservation and the development of Pierrefonds. With the
favour of cultural tourism interested by the Middle Ages, it tries
to give life to this castle, too nine to appear old but too inspired
to be regarded as forgery.