Believe it or not, palaces are all around us, some are old and some are new, but they all have a story to tell. In western Europe alone there are hundreds of thousands. In this post I will be sharing a few. In today’s age some have been turned into hotels, wedding lodges or even museums.
This wonderful chateau was french Baron Pineau de Viennay’s summer palace, upon his death it passed to his daughter, Louise Pineau de Viennay. She was a supporter of the arts and hosted philosophers and artists including Voltaire, Rousseau, Mozart and Grimm. During WWI, while still in the Pineau de Viennay family, the Château was used as a hospital for wounded British Officers. During WW2,it sheltered and protected paintings belonging to the Louvre where they were hidden in a secret cache under the stage of the theater built in the former stables. The Chateau is now open to the public as a hotel.
Urspelt Castle is located in Luxembourg, it was the home of artist Amand Bouvier, during WW2 it was used as a hospital by the German military until American forces overpowered them and took on the chateau as command post. After the war it was left abandoned until 2005 when it was bought and restored. In 2008 it was declared a national monument by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is now a beautiful hotel.
The Chateau De Malmaison is situated in France. It was the residence of Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais, and Napoleon’s last residence in France at the end of the Hundred Days in 1815. It is now a museum of beitufil artifacts including the iconic Napoleon Crossing The Alps painting.
Lierna Castle located on the eastern side of Lake Como in Lombardy, Italy. The castle is built on a peninsula that protrudes into the lake and consists of a group of connected buildings, rather than a single building. The main portion of the current buildings was constructed in the 10th century upon former Roman ruins. Use of the castle before being transformed, was in the mid-16th century by Gian Giacomo Medici, known as “Medeghino” (the “small Medici”), who was primarily a mercenary.
The Chateau de Hautefort is a French chateau and gardens located in Dordogne. The castle was originally a medieval fortress that was reconstructed in the 17th century. The chateau’s gardens are listed by the Committee of Parks and Gardens of the Ministry of Culture of France as one of the Notable Gardens of France. It is now used as a host for events and set for filmmaking.
The Château de Monte-Cristo is located at Le Port-Marly in the Yvelines department of northern France. It was originally built as a residence for Alexandre Dumas. The château was designed by the architect Hippolyte Durand and built between 1844 and 1847. Dumas named it after one of his most successful novels, The Count of Monte Cristo. It is now the writer’s museum.
Built in 1886 by the Bordeaux architect Louis Garros, on the ruins of a relay for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela, the Château and all its outbuildings were still standing in 2008 when it was sold to Karl O’Hanlon and Anita Forte, who were looking for an estate to transform into a rural retreat. The transformation of the Château and the outbuildings took three years, when production was moved to the modern facility at nearby Domaine de Cibadies, with the current incarnation of the estate opening its doors to visitors in 2011.
In 1902, in the heart of the prestigious vineyards of Saint-Emilion and more specifically on the site of a 18th century monastery of Bordeaux, former property of Chateau de Figeac. Monsieur René Bouchart, decorated with the awards of “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur” and working in the brewery and malthouse industry, built the Château Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac for his future wife, Madame Marie Godeau. The drawings of Château Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac were inspired by his property in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, in the north of France, located close to the French-Belgian malthouse factories founded by Monsieur Bouchart himself.
The first traces from Maraval date back to the 15th century, 1476 to be specific, when we hear from the land of Maraval. In the early 19th century, Maraval was largely destroyed by a fire and it is on the ruins of the old castle that was rebuilt the present mansion. At the end of the 19th century, the castle welcomed Trappist Nuns who vacated the place in 1910. A fire destroyed the northwest barn where the nuns were producing chestnut chocolates. The nuns rebuilt a building opposite the castle that they named “Commanderie”. After the departure of the sisters, the new owner did enshrine in the woodwork of the current “Dali” lounge beautiful paintings on wood dating from the late 16th century representing the major stages of the life of Moses.
Built on the foundations of the legendary feud of the Knights Templar,The Chateau was bought by a Polish Count in 1900, who restored part of the property with the intention of donating it to a religious order. However, it was then acquired by a Parisian businessman who renovated it into a Hotel in 1958, until the Oetker family purchased the Château du Domaine Saint Martin in 1994.
Update Note- Historical details were added in regards to modifications of structures.