Château de la Roche Courbon

2009 Grant of $20,000—New York Chapter, FHS

During the Renaissance this austere fortress was transformed by Jean-Louis de Courbon into an elegant 17th-century residence. At the same time, the main wing of the building underwent important transformations that embellished the château: the drawing-room with painted wood paneling dates from this period as does the Louis XIII room with painted wood beams and the Saintongeaise (territory of Saintes) kitchen. In 1908 Pierre Loti referred to it as ‘Sleeping Beauty’s Castle”.

A few years later, the château and its gardens were saved by Paul Chénereau, who undertook a vast restoration campaign that has been continued by his descendants. Three generations have incessantly worked to preserve and restore the château and its gardens. An initial French Heritage Society grant in 2006 assisted with the restoration of the vault and roof of the 17th century northern commons. This is an essential element to preserve, as is serves as support for the entire château. French Heritage Society members were received for dinner during its 25th Anniversary trip; the coup de coeur felt during a subsequent visit led the New York Chapter to raise funds for a second grant to complete the preservation effort of this sublime piece of history.