Ambleville castle: Italian statues and Ronsard's poems
Renaissance in Ambleville
Those gardens are just beautiful! A real Italian estate... Medieval Ambleville castle was raised in the 15th century on the frontier between Normandy and Ile-de-France, a place ruled by the English. In 1450, the castle belonged to the Mornay family. Oh, but… we know those ones! We already met them in their neighbouring castle of Villarceaux... In the 16th century, their heirs transformed the old castle into a nice Renaissance manor. So between 1530 and 1550, Jean Grappin, a famous architect in the area, restored the castle. In the 18th century, Mornay family added a new Classical main building, with its triangular pediment.
My kingdom for those statues!
Just after the World War I, Ambleville fell to an Austrian paintings seller: Charles Sedelmeyer. This guy broke up a part of the inner decoration and raised crazy things in the castle: a theatre, a balcony… And one day of 1928, a lady stopped in front of the castle’s entrance: the marquise de Tulle de Villefranche: She saw gorgeous white statues, in the alley leading to Ambleville. She wanted to buy them, to put them in her castle of Villarceaux… Well, those antic came from the Este villa (Italy). Sedelmeyer was OK to sell her the statues… but she had to buy the castle with them! She had to take the whole package… or she won’t get nothing at all! The marquise agreed and she became the new owner. She re-fit out the castle and landscaped the Italian gardens. Yes! A part of the park was inspired by Gamberaia villa in Fiesole (Tuscany).
Ronsard and his loves
The tradition says that the French poet Ronsard wrote a part of his Amours in the park: he often came in Ambleville, because he was a good friend of the Mornay family, the castle’s owner in the 16th c. This book was completely dedicated to the pretty Cassandre Salviati, his dear love. Hey, by the way, the marquise de Villefranche was a member of the Salviati’s family!