Thursday, July 14, 2011

Randan: The Castle That Time Forgot


We were on our way to visit another chateau, but when we found that it was closed for a private affair, we followed the signs for "Domaine Royal de Randan", just 10 kilometers away. This once splendid edifice was the property of Princess Adélaïde D'Orléans, sister of king Louis-Philippe, the last monarch of France. She bought the estate in 1821 and with the help of the architect Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine, turned it into a true jewel with a splendid park.
Unfortunately, the chateau burned down in 1926, when the property was owned by the Contesse of Paris, Marie-Isabelle d'Orléans-Montpensiers.
It was never rebuilt, and slowly it became overgrown and forgotten. In 1991, the French government took notice and dedicated funds to stabilize the ruin and to restore the gardens. It was declared a historic monument in 2001.
Today, one can visit the park, the chapel and the huge wing which once housed the kitchen and had escaped the 1926 fire.
Randan is well worth a visit.


Grace said...

I love the links you sometimes give - and learn a lot. I saw that the architect who designed this castle also designed an Arc de Triomphe that was begun the same year (1806) as the more famous one in Paris that the one on Grand Army Plaza is modeled after. Napoleon commissioned both arches in Paris.

Katia said...

That's cool, isn't it?
The period was called neo-classic and was inspired by greek and roman architecture. It lasted from around 1750 to 1830.