A Little History

A Little History

Chateau de Courtomer is an 18th-century chateau built on 11th century vaulted foundations (still visible today in the cellars). Its handsome façade is on the French national register of Historic Monuments, as well as its curving stone staircase, fine plasterwork in the reception rooms, and unique star-patterned parquet in the “fumoir” (an 18th-century gentleman’s den).

With its emphasis on symmetry, proportion and light, Chateau de Courtomer is a grand product of the French classical style of the 18th-century enlightenment. It was one of the last great chateau built in France. Finished in 1789 on the eve of the French Revolution, it was commissioned by the Marquis de Courtomer and his architect, the royal favorite Jean-Baptiste Benoît de Blinnes. Inspired by the Chateau de Versailles, it is a monument to the Ancien Régime, a way of life and a system of privilege that ended conclusively with the execution of the French king Louis XVI in 1793. The Courtomer family narrowly escaped the same fate during the Terror. But they returned from prison to finish the decoration of the chateau in 1794.

Despite their pains, the chateau was pillaged by counter-revolutionaries in 1799. With the rise in power of Napoleon, fortune once again smiled on the Courtomer family. Antoine de Saint-Simon, Marquis de Courtomer, became chamberlain to the Empress Marie-Louise, Napoleon Bonaparte’s second wife.

Chateau de Courtomer was built as a showplace to celebrate the prestige and power of the marquisate of Courtomer. It was also a family seat…a home with a history. Successive generations of the Courtomer family were born here, married, brought up children, and are buried in the family chapels on grounds adjoining the village cemetery. They took part in France’s national and literary heritage, serving her kings and entertaining her men of letters.

For most of its thousand-year history, the property remained in the hands of the Courtomer family. That sense of historical continuity comes through in the beauty of the chateau’s setting, as well as in the architecture of the buildings. It was irresistible to us when we purchased the estate in 2005.

We undertook the decoration and renovations of Chateau de Courtomer to enhance its 18th-century charm, while providing a level of comfort unknown at that time. The interior decoration is authentic, using 17th- and 18th-century French furniture, paintings, and objects or good reproductions. Sofas and armchairs provide comfortable seating in a style that harmonizes with the rest of the decor.

The chateau is a noble demesne, and the materials used to build and decorate it are of corresponding quality. Our choice of linens, towels and furnishings are meant to ensure that the bedrooms and en-suite baths are comfortable and relaxing. The kitchen is fitted with professional-quality cookware and appliances. Chateau de Courtomer offers its guest the rich experience of “la vie du château,” French chateau living.

We hope you will enjoy Chateau de Courtomer as much as we do.