Le Marais castle: rustic parties and a famous dandy
Once upon a time
A former castle already existed in the Middle Ages, purchased in the 15th century by Jean Hurault, wars paymaster who raised a huge main building surrounding by moats, but also a chapel and a dovecote.
At the end of the 16th century, the estate fell to Rachel de Cochefilet, widow of a Hurault member, who brought it as a dowry to her second husband, Sully, Henri IV's minister.
But Sully family never came here, so, in 1620, another side of Hurault family decided to purchase the old castle in order to transform it into a fashionable residence.
Le Marais was sold in 1767 to Jean Le Maître, artillery and engineering paymaster, who knocked down the building and replaced it by the current castle.
Between 1772 and 1779, architect Barré supervised building works.
Le Marais became a fashionable place, where poet Florian (Voltaire’s nephew) came to perform his plays just before the French Revolution.
In 1786, Mme de La Briche (Adélaïde Prévost was her maiden name) settled in the castle: her uncle gave it to her.
Nicknamed "the world’s best person", Adélaïde organized nice little country parties in her estate, inviting everyone, peasants and villagers included!
"I wanted to make my peasants happy, it filled me with joy. I organized a party for the inhabitants: huge tables were put in an alley of the park, little shops of cakes and gingerbreads, wine, fiddles to make them dance filled this charming day and everyone was happy."
So, during the Revolution, they let the lady and the castle in peace.
Boni the dandy
Boniface de Castellane, nicknamed Boni, was the archetypal French dandy. The perfect society guy!
And he owned Le Marais. He married the rich American lady Anna Gould (daughter of a big railway tycoon) in 1895, in New-York.
Oh my, she was so ugly. Poor Anna. Boni said about her: Elle est belle... vue de dot, "She's beautiful for her money" or "from behind"!
Yeah, Boni only loved money, money… and with it, he owned Le Marais and organized beautiful parties! And he was a big spender but also a pretty unfaithful husband.
So Anna decided to divorce and re-married Boni’s cousin, Hélie de Talleyrand: that’s why nowadays we find souvenirs of Napoleon I’s famous minister, Talleyrand, inside the castle!