The castle of la Muette.
Posted in Culture le 19 October 2020
The castle of la Muette.
The name “Muette” attributed to the castle has sparked debate. It could have several meanings and refer in particular to the moulting of deer or hawks or to designate a pack of dogs in the old spelling. Famous hunting rendezvous for the kings of France in the Middle Ages, la Muette acquired its letters of nobility with the construction of a small castle commissioned by Charles IX at the end of the 16th century. The king gave the castle to his sister Marguerite de Valois (future Queen Margot) as a wedding gift with Henri de Bourbon (future Henri IV). She will then bequeath it to the Dauphin, the future Louis XIII. In 1716, the castle became the residence of the Duchess of Berry. Carried to any excess, she soon indulged in debauchery and drinking. And it was at La Muette that she received Pierre Le Grand during his tour of Europe. Following the death of the Duchess, her father, the Duke of Orleans, offered the castle to the young King Louis XV. The king had the castle rebuilt by Gabriel, decorated it and furnished it sumptuously to welcome his mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour. Then King Louis XVI spent happy days in this place with his wife Marie-Antoinette. The queen liked to stay there because she felt less subject to etiquette than at Versailles. National property during the Revolution, the estate underwent a few amputations and demolitions before the piano maker Sébastien Erard and the count Spontini, his brother-in-law, bought the property in 1822. The city of Paris not having resolved to buy the estate of la Muette to the heirs of the Erard family, a first part of the park was subdivided in 1904. The castle was demolished in 1920 and the part of the park adjoining the rue de Ranelagh was in turn built. In 1912, Baron Henri de Rothschild purchased land close to that of the original chateau to have a new chateau built in 1920 by the architect Lucien Besse in the style of the 18th century. In 1948, the baron’s heirs sold the property at 2 rue Pascal to the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), which in 1961 became the headquarters of the OECD. Visits for the public normally take place during Heritage Days and in the Grand Salon, adorned with Gobelins tapestries, a set of woodwork from the former royal library of Louis XV can be found. And if this castle is of recent construction, it nevertheless retains a historical dimension.
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