A little history of Rohan palace in Saverne
Saverne belonged to bishops of Strasbourg since the 13th century. In the 15th century, bishop Guillaume de Diest transformed Saverne into the seat of the bishopric. So he needed a real palace: they raised a castle called Oberhof. In the beginning of the 16th century, a brand new Renaissance castle was erected on the foundation of the former fortress. Bishops of Strasbourg who were exiled from their seat during the war of Religion, moved in here between 1561 and 1681. From 1667, bishops of Furstenberg raised a new building, extended later by a luxurious palace, 110 metres long! Now, let me introduce Armand-Gaston de Rohan-Soubise: the cardinal transformed the façade from 1712 with his architect, Robert de Cotte. Robert Le Lorrain and Coysevox were in charge of the inner decoration. In the garden, they laid out a canal ended by a big fountain, 260 metres in diameter! But in 1779, a fire destroyed Saverne palace, so much that ruins were razed.
Cardinal de Rohan hired a new architect, Nicolas-Alexandre Salins de Montfort, to designe plans for a new castle. The new building looked like a vast Neoclassical main building made of red sandstone, 140 metres long, flanked by two wings. The building site was very expensive, but the cardinal used for that a special income tax, specially created for that purpose!
The castle and park were completed in 1789. Marquis de Valfons, who visited Saverne in 1741, wrote about what he saw: 700 beds, 180 horses, unlimited horse-drawn carriages... so excessive! But the palace was seized and sold during the French Revolution, then abandoned. City of Saverne owned it in 1952.