A little history of Breteuil castle
Breteuil, small brick and stone castle in the middle of the green valley of Chevreuse... The history began in the Middle Ages: we found here a stronghold called Bévillers (it remains a 15th century dovecote). Nicolas Le Jay raised in 1590 a main building with a square courtyard surrounded by two detached houses. In 1604, Thibault Desportes, a court usher who owned the estate in 1596, decorated the apartments. In 1712, Claude-Charles Le Tonnelier de Breteuil owned the castle. He was the man who raised the two lower wings. His son laid out a vast landscaped garden in 1780 and put joiner Pierre Bernard in charge of furnishing the castle. During the French Revolution, as many noblemen, baron of Breteuil went into self-imposed exile. When he finally came back in France in 1802, he died 5 years later... In 1817, the estate was called Breteuil. You know what? We find famous members, in this family, as for instance Emilie, a scientist who translated Newton and was... Voltaire's mistress! We also have Louis-Auguste, king Louis XVI's favourite minister: empress Marie-Theresa of Austria gave him the famous Teschen table in 1779, a fine masterpiece inlaid with 128 precious stones... In the 19th century, ditches were transformed into dry moats. Then, Henri, marquis of Breteuil, added two wings set at right angles to the castle. From to 1897 to 1903, Henri and Achille Duchêne landscaped formal gardens, based upon Le Nôtre's plans.