Saturday, September 10, 2016

Flore de Brantes' Incredible French Château

Completed by architect Anatole Amoudru in 1770, Le Fresne was purchased by a Brantes forebear in 1805.
At left is the pavilion where Brantes lives, and at right is the chapel, where she was christened.

A Charles X Savonnerie carpet spans the château’s grand salon.
Florist Rambert Rigaud filled the 18th-century
Chinese vases with blooms from the gardens.

Limestone pavilions rise beside the château’s main drive and entrance court.
The garden lawns have been mercilessly baked by the fierce summer drought.

Brantes and her son Alfred de La Moussaye on the main staircase.

Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s portrait of Brantes ancestor
Louise Sauvage de Brantes surveys the billiard room.

More than 40 dahlia varieties thrive in the cutting garden.

La vie de château is full of tradition and style—especially so at Château du Fresne, a modestly proportioned, sublimely neoclassical country house not far from Tours in central France. There, Brussels decorative-arts dealer Flore de Brantes and her husband, Count Amaury de La Moussaye, host riotous summer costume parties and relaxed alfresco dinners, all while managing the property’s 1,400-acre farm and tending to its more than two dozen dependencies.
Anatole Amoudru, a local architect known for his churches, completed the house in 1770. Some three decades later, Le Fresne became the property of General Pierre Perron, who had gone to India, made a fortune, and brought back a wife. After that the house was passed down through the female line until the second Marquis de Brantes, Flore’s great-grandfather, inherited it in 1914. Her farmer father revived the tradition, leaving Le Fresne to his daughter upon his death, in 2007.
Since then Brantes and her husband have been busy renovating the château “in a way one would not notice,” she says. The slate roof was replaced “so it doesn’t rain inside anymore,” La Moussaye quips. Baths were installed or updated, electrical wiring was upgraded, and central heating was brought in...
Source: Architectural Digest, Dana Thomas, September 7, 2016.

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