Rousseau in Ermenonville: his spirit still haunts the park

Vinaigrette 0
The castle - ©Anecdotrip.com / CC-BY-NC-SA The castle - ©Anecdotrip.com / CC-BY-NC-SA
Ermenonville castle Castle Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Those lands belonged to Le Bouteillier de Senlis lords, in the Middle-Ages: they were bouteillier, which means they were in charge of kings of France's bottles, from the 10th to the 15th century!

The current building dates back to the 18th century, raised by Lombard family. In 1763, marquis René de Girardin owned Ermenonville. Around the castle, he found "an impassable and disgusting swamp"! So in 1765, he decided to lay out a landscaped garden with the landscaper Jean-Marie Morel and Scottish gardeners. They created a beautiful estate...

The marquis wanted to add a philosophic touch to his park, the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a friend he admired. So he raised a Temple of Philosophy and even a cenotaph dedicated to Rousseau himself, on the poplar trees' Island. This one was buried on the island in 1778...

Few weeks before he died, Rousseau moved in the castle, as the marquis invited him. He worked, wrote a lot, took out for a walk in the village, gathered some plants for his herbarium... then he died on July 2th 1778, of an apoplexy attack. Ermenonville became the place dedicated to Rousseau, a kind of pilgrimage: Thomas Jefferson, Bonaparte, Chateaubriand came here... In 1794, they decided to translate his body in the Parisian Panthéon.