The seigneury used to be call Livet-Tournebu, and it fell to several Tournebu members, included Jean, who married Marie de Croismare in 1555, daughter of a rich councillor of Normandy Parliament. With their new comfortable means, they could transform the old castle into something more fashionable, a Renaissance dwelling: from 1561, they raised a small castle at the entrance, prolonged by a main building ending with a big tower.
Look at those details, this portico with its Corinthian columns, those fine windows! But above all, the real eccentricity is these red and green tiles on the façades…
The building work was completed in 1568. The Tournebu kept the castle until the 19th century. After, it fell to Julien Pillault in 1920. The chap restored St-Germain-du-Livet, furnished it and gave it before he died in 1957 to the city of Lisieux, who opened it to the public.
Do you know Julien Pillault? This man is pretty unknown, nowadays… and yet, in his mother’s family, we found the famous Riesener: remember, the famous cabinetmaker Jean-Henri Riesener, who made gorgeous furniture for Louis XVI?
Riesener married Jean-François Oeben's widow, another great cabinetmaker who made furniture in the castle of Versailles for Louis XV and his mistress, La Pompadour. And guess who was Oeben’s daughter? The mother of the future French painter Eugène Delacroix!
Quite apart from the fact that the little Julien met, when he was a child, musicians Massenet and Gounod, writers Daudet and Hérédia… So we can see in Le Livet castle a nice 18th furniture made by Riesener and paintings echoing Delacroix and his time!
We visit the Guards' room, with its big chimney and its 15th c. paintings: war scenes, tournaments, Judith and Holofernes… Don’t miss the saddlery, the Louis XV style living room with its nice ochre glazed tiled floor, but also all the artistic souvenirs belonging to the family Pillaut-Riesener.