TitleChâteau de Villette: The Splendor of French Decor
|Title||Château de Villette: The Splendor of French Decor||Editor||Guillaume Picon||Format||Hardcover|
Built during the reign of Louis XIV in Condécourt, on the north-western outskirts of Île-de-France, Château de Villette evocatively embodies the formal grandeur and harmonious elegance of French classicism. The Château, which can be reserved for short term accommodation and special events, was designed by one of the most accomplished 17th-century French architects credited with introducing classicism into Baroque architecture in France, namely François Mansart, while the surrounding formal garden 'à la française' is the work of Andre Le Nôtre, one of the greatest European landscape architects who created the immaculate gardens at Versailles. With such stellar credentials it is no wonder that the Château has earned the nickname “Le Petit Versailles”.
Designed for the Count of Aufflay, Jean Dyell II, who was Louis XIV’s ambassador to Venice, Château de Villette later became home to Nicolas, Marquis de Condorcet, and his beautiful wife Sophie de Grouchy, a prominent salon hostess whose guests included prominent intelectuals and members of the international elite such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
The renovated Château features seven luxury suites with en-suite bathrooms, and an additional seven bedrooms housed in the 18th century east wing, as well as an orangery, a 16th century wine press, and a chapel—where guests can see a plaque commemorating the marriage of Nicolas and Sophie—all of which have been thoroughly renovated by acclaimed French decorator Jacques Garcia whose experience include working for the Louvre and Versailles. Fully restored to its original glory, Château de Villette offers visitors an unforgettable experience of lavish hospitality that combines modern comforts with aristocratic lustre, which a new book by Flammarion, Chateau de Villette : The Splendor of French Decor , beautifully illustrates.
The Château’s external austerity, a paradigm of the purest French classical style, belies the luxurious opulence of the interiors. From the carved stone buffet and the ornate boiserie walls, to tables veneered with marquetry and silk taffeta bed canopies, each room is a testament to French craftsmanship. Bridging the simplicity of the exterior with the richness of the interior décor, the sombre entrance vestibule and grand staircase, clad from top to bottom in white stone, are quietly embellished by a large 18th century tapestry, a gilt-bronze lantern from the beginning of the 19th century, and ornate gilded Louis XV scones.
In the dining room, the garland-laced wall panelling was restored to its original blue colour, discovered under seven layers of paint, which is harmoniously complemented by the 18th century sofa upholstered in a blue velvet, and a collection of Chinese porcelain vases. The music room on the other hand is dominated by floral patterns and motifs, emblazoned in the silk upholstery of the gilded sofa and armchairs, the porcelain table lamps, and the expansive 18th century carpet from Aubusson, while the master suite is engulfed in red velvet, silk and damask. For the master bathroom, Garcia has selected a magnificent bathtub carved out of onyx, which stands out against the dark lacquered wall panels and black marble flooring.
The sumptuous elegance of the interior décor is matched by the splendour of Andre Le Nôtre’s formal gardens 'à la française', a style based on symmetry, order and long perspectives. The gardens include a spectacular cascade fountain, originally from Château de Marly, reflecting pools, manicured lawns, and 18th century sculptures including an obelisk. And if the landscaped garden was not enough, the Château sits on more than 75 hectares of parkland, designated as a French national park, complete with two lakes and wooded areas, which visitors can enjoy on foot, bicycle or horseback.
With amenities such as a heated outdoor swimming pool, fully equipped gym and even a helipad, and a team of professional staff, including a chef, at their service, guests staying at Château de Villette can undoubtedly expect to be royally pampered in this noble and courtly venue.