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Ménars castle, La Pompadour's plaything

Aerial view | Starus / CC-BY-SA
Castle Festivities Stanislas Leszczynski Mme de Pompadour Marquis de Marigny Ménars castle

Wine-growers and an exiled Polish

The family who raised the current castle, in 1646, was the Charron. Simple wine-growers! At the time of Jean-Jacques Charron, the ex-king of Poland Stanislas Leczinski lived here with his wife, between 1728 and 1732.

His daughter Mary married king of France Louis XV in 1725… this one hosted his famous father-in-law in Chambord, first, then in Ménars!

But in Chambord, ouch… the swamps surrounding the castle gave Stanisla’s' family the fever and they had to move to Ménars...

La Pompadour and her toys

Nice collection!

In 1760, Ménars fell to the marquise de Ponpadour. La Pompadour… She became pretty unpopular when Louis XV abandoned her to take another mistress.

But they stayed friends: Louis gave her a nice little private income: with that, she spent a fortune for her castles.

She abandoned her gorgeous estate of Champs (near Paris) and took care of her new toy, Ménars. She collected townhouses and castles like others collected shoes!

Smart to the very end of the curtains!

La Pompadour especially took care of Ménars’ inner decoration. Archives mentioned ″tapestries full of flowers garlands″ in the ″red living-room″, a ″small living-room″with its Rocaille panelings made by Gabriel himself, high mirrors and 4 tapestries, based on a work by Lebrun, ″The Children Gardeners″…

The marquise collected furniture ″à la grecque″, this brand new neoclassical fashion: she was fan!

In the ″big living-room″, she put a portrait of Louis XV. In the ″Pompadour bedroom″, a chimney made or red marble from Pyrénées, with a bed and chairs made of white and green Persian linen. For the curtains, same colors! We had a corridor, in the middle, an amazing suite of adjoining rooms.

We also had the boudoir, pretty intimate, with its collection of 88 China vases… We had 20 apartments, each one with: a bedroom, an antechamber and a wardrobe. Fabric were made by Godefroy, the marquise’s usual tapestry-maker.

A Poisson, his lime-trees, his expenses

The brother’s good taste

So, when the marquise died, her little brother turned up: Abel Poisson, marquis de Marigny! He inherited Ménars in 1764. He planted the alley of lime-trees, but he also raised the orangery and the rotunda.

Architect Soufflot designed them (this one raised the Panthéon, in Paris). Inside the castle, Marigny didn’t alter his sister’s decoration. He only added the ″kings’ room″, decorated with portraits of Louis XV, Gustav of Sweden and Christian of Denmark! He even bought in London an ″English billiard″.

Animated tables!

Engineer Loriot also raised the hydraulic machine: a pretty famous chap in Versailles, because he invented animated tables which went up and down through a big hole in the floor, in the Trianon’s dining-room!

The machine was a curiosity and guests rushed in Ménars to see it!

Sad fate

Dufort de Cheverny said in his Mémoires: ″Gossip only talked about Marigny’s expenses and luxury. He raised gorgeous things… The marquis became a millionnaire thanks to his wife: he spent all her fortune with his amazing embellishments, and royally treated courtiers from Paris and from Blois.″

His wife? Marigny married Julie-Marie Filleul in 1767, a pretty lady who was… Louis XV’s daughter, he had with one of his mistress, Irène du Buisson de Longpré! An umpteenth mistress who came after La Pompadour… Sad fate?

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!