‘To restore a building is to recreate it in a complete form, indeed a form which might never have existed’ Viollet-le-Duc,1866.
We came across a gem last weekend! Best of all it’s only around a 1 hour drive from Paris!
Le Château de Pierrefonds is situated north of Paris in the Oise department. This area is so rich in history but crazily not marked on visitors lists of ‘things to do’.
The château was originally built in the 12th century as part of the County of Valois. After many changes, Napoleon l bought it in 1810 but it became a ‘Romantic ruin’. Around 1850 the Emperor Napoleon lll (nephew & heir of Napoleon l) asked Viollet-le-Duc to undertake its restoration. Viollet-le-Duc’s restorations were based on how he imagined it should be rather than basing it on the history of the building.
This château is amazing! I haven’t seen such a grand, intact site towering over the town like this for a long time. The inside interiors are so different and unique. Some of the drainpipes are very imaginative!
When you’re visiting the village you must visit the gorgeous Hélène et François Bigot Pâtisserie and treat yourself to a ‘Mâchicoulis’, a speciality cake of Pierrefonds!
Another visit to make whilst you’re in the Picardy region is to the lovely town of Compiègne. A town that is rich in history. On 23 May 1430 Jeanne d’Arc was captured here whilst trying to flee and sold to the English. The Armistice of the First World War was signed near Compiègne, which ended fighting.
The Armistice of the Second World War was signed in the same located between Nazi Germany and a defeated France. You can visit this location, including a replica of the wagon in which these exchanges took place. So much history to take in, you can pop into the tourism office in Compiègne where the lovely staff can advise you on your visit.