How Voltaire nearly died (2 times) in Maisons-Laffitte castle

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The castle - ©Moonik / CC-BY-SA The castle - ©Moonik / CC-BY-SA
Maisons-Laffite castle Castle Accident Voltaire

In the 18th century, Maisons fell to René de Longueil’s grandson, Jean-René. He transformed a room into a chemistry laboratory (he get here a lovely Prussian blue) and a garden for rare plants: the tradition says that he planted the "only coffee who succeeded in growing in France"! He also hosted famous people. Like Voltaire, in 1723.

Whoa, this one immediately fell sick (smallpox) and nearly died. He wrote his will, called the priest by his side, but the doctor cured him with litres and litres of lemonade! Then he decided to leave Maisons. No sooner as he left his room, the floor started to burn: the downstairs apartments were completely in fire!

The cause? A wooden beam above the fireplace, in Voltaire’s bedroom, which slowly went up in flames. The fire only burst when he left the castle. But our philosopher felt so guilty… He wrote: "It wasn’t my fault, but I was the unfortunate occasion. I feel a great pain, as if I was guilty." What about Jean-René? Oh, he died of a violent smallpox, at the age of 32. And the Longueil’s lineage died out...


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