A site that has never ceased to be ahead of its time, it has witnessed the evolution of society throughout the centuries.
The middle ages: The lords of Senlis, “grand masters of wine” for the first kings of France, erected a fortress at the Levis bridge in the middle of the swamp in Ermenonville, bolted to the road by 4 control towers.
1351: End of feudalism. The lords of Senlis sell to Robert de Lorris. First great revolution in France: the peasant’s revolt. Peasants, driven to desperation by poverty, set fire to Ermenonville castle.
The Modern ages: Louis XI – Henri IV and Dominique de Vic
1474: Louis XI often stays at Ermenonville castle. The end of the 16th century is a painful time. Religious wars, epidemics and famine bring the country to ruin. At Ermenonville there are no remaining lords. Dominique de Vic, a soldier, ‘the knight with the wooden leg’, buys the castle. King Henri IV, a good friend of Dominique de Vic, often comes to relax at Ermenonville castle, where he joins ‘the most beautiful woman of the kingdom’, Gabrielle d’Estrees.
1600-1700: The Vic family keep ownership of the castle for a century and a half. Passed through marriage to the Lambards who transform the castle in the first half of the 18th century.
1754: The Lombards sell Ermenonville to one of King Louis XV’s richest financiers, Rene Hatte, tax collector. Thanks to his considerable fortune, he is responsible for Ermenonville’s metamorphosis.
1766: The Marquis René de Girardin, René Hatte’s grandson, inherits Ermenonville castle. He creates a garden where he alone is visionary, creator, designer and patron. People come from all over the world to see the gardens surrounding the castle.
1778: Inspired by the gardens, Jean-Jacques Rousseau spends 6 weeks in Ermenonvillle in complete serenity. He passed away on the 2nd of July 1778, and René de Girardin has him buried in the isle of poplars.
1880: Ermenonville castle is sold to Prince Radziwill by Giraradin’s heirs.
1927: Death of Léon Radziwill and dissolution of the estate. Au Midi park is sold to the Touring Club de France and is renamed: Jean Jacques Rousseau park.
1942: The castle and North park are sold to Ettore Bugatti.
1964: Hispano-Suiza buy the Bugatti factory and put the castle on the market, it is bought by a financial company. The castle goes through various stages: retirement home, restaurant and cult headquarters.
1991: To the great pleasure of clients and inhabitants attached to the castle, the “Les Hôtels Particuliers” group become owners and manages it in full respect of its history.