Courson: a hanged man and a Corsican

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The park - ©Stéphane Enten / CC-BY-SA The park - ©Stéphane Enten / CC-BY-SA
Courson castle Castle Garden

Courson’s hanged man

The first owner of Courson, in 1534? He was Gilles Le Maître, first president in the Parliament of Paris. In 1550, architects Amaury and Arsillon raised his castle surrounded by moats. But the new owner turned up, in 1655. Whoa, a very special guy! His name? Balthazar de Fargues, a risk-taker and a Frondeur… who was hung high! With all his possessions seized, Courson included.

Nicolas de Lamoignon de Baville received the castle from Louis XIV, in 1667. Well, well! The period chronicler, Saint-Simon, wrote in his Memories that it was Lamoignon who sentenced Fargues to death, in order to seize his castle of Courson! Anyway, Lamoignon was never short of something to do, here: 10 years after his arrival, he extended the first castle and raised wings overlooking the courtyard. On the left, a dining-room and on the right, a vast gallery. He also landscaped a formal garden.

Toussaint the Corsican

The owner was guillotined during the French Revolution, eek, then his grand-daughter turned up: Anne-Zoé de Montesquiou-Fezensac. She married Jean-Toussaint Arrighi de Casanova. Who? Napoléon I’s cousin, son of a cousin of Laëtizia Ramolino (Napo’s mum)! He took part in every Empire battles, was exiled when Bourbons returned on the throne, came back, became deputy of Corsica in 1849. Napo even appointed him duke of Padua, in 1808.

And Courson’s Empire apartments were designed by Toussaint and Anne-Zoé, in 1820! Louis-Martin Berthault, landscaper of La Malmaison castle, also designing a part of the current park. Whoa, it cost a lot of money in the end… But Toussaint was fine, in Courson! He had a happy retirement, here. Because, loyal to Napoleon, he withdrew from politic when Bourbons returned. Definitively.

Besides, one day, the couple wasn’t in Courson. Outside, the duke of Angoulême and his wife were hunting, when they saw the castle. The duchess asked a peasant to whom the estate belonged: "– To the duke of Padua." "– Ah, I don’t know him." "– No, said the duke, and I regret it; because he’s the most honest and loyal man I know."

Courson’s park

Berthault created the current park, yes, we saw it. But also the brother Bühler in 1860, who dug the pond and planted species like the poplar from Virginia or the bald cypress. Embellishments went on until the 20th century… upon Albert Kahn’s advices, creator of the famous gardens in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris! Just plan one day to visit Courson: apartments, the pond surrounds by rhododendron, magnolias’ wood, the "Corsican walk" ans its pines...


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