Beaumesnil : a dream made of stones.
A masterpiece of the XVIIth century.
An execptionnel architectural ensemble.
History of the families.
The château that we can see today was built by Jacques de Nonant between 1633 and 1640 for his wife Marie Dauvet-Desmaret in place of the old mediaeval castle, the only remaining part of which is the ruined tower under the clod covered with boxtrees and yews, that looks like a mystery island in the middle of moat.
A rare example of the château of Louis XIII period (the construction was led by the architect Jean Gallard between 1633 and 1640), the current building still carries the imprint of the end of the Renaissance, as well as the influence of the new trends coming from Italy (Florentine style) and Holland. The materials that were used for its construction are bricks and stones. The brick had quite a good price because it was produced in big quantities here, in Normandy, but some fragile parts of the château were additionally strengthened with the stone to prevent potential construction defaults. The rich ornamentation of its facades and monumental chimneys as well as astonishing optical effects create its originality.
Beaumesnil is an exceptional example of the architecture of Louis XIII period, a confusion of mannerism and baroque. The ensemble includes:a central front building topped by a lantern, symbol of power, where two fires signalized overnight of house location;a rectangular main building with three levels on each side of the front building, which contained owners’ apartments and the rooms reserved for important guests;two side pavilions added in the eighteenth century for the guests of less importance;all topped with a high slate roof. On the facades that were designed by the Brothers Martin and Toussaint La Flèche, there is a vertical line which is particularly highlighted by the height of the window-frames and chimneys. The decoration is rather complicated: each window and window-frame is decorated by an arched or triangular fronton with a mascaron inspired by Commedia dell’Arte in the center. The initials of the first owner’s wife (one M and two D for Marie Dauvet Desmarets) everywhere on the stones are to be noticed. The combination of 3 colours also attracts attention: blue of the slate symbolizes the sky, white of the stone is a royal colour, red of the brick is a colour of Roman emperors.
Beaumesnil passed from hand to hand of such illustrious families as Montmorency-Laval, Béthune-Carost and Maistre.
Grand Duke Dmitriy Pavlovich of Russia acquired it in 1939 but then ceded to Jean Fürstenberg in 1939 who devoted his life to retrieving the splendour of this place.
After his death in 1982, the Foundation Fürstenberg-Beaumesnil, which was recognized as being of public interest in 1966, has been doing its best to maintain a good state of the château, its park and collections. For more information about the Foundation Fürstenberg-Beaumesnil.click here.
In 2015, the Foundation Fürstenberg-Beaumesnil asked "Tous au Château" society to run the touristic development of the Beaumesnil estate. For more information about "Tous au Château" society. click here.