The château de Chamarande is a 17th century French château in Chamarande, in the department of Essonne.
The first "castle" of this name was established at Bonnes around 811 by Arteld, missus dominicus and brother of Einhard, Charlemagne's biographer. However, excavations on the site have shown that the place was not fortified.
A fortified château was built in the 16th century, probably for François Hurault (prévôt des marchands de Paris and personal friend of king Henry IV), who in 1563 acquired the two seigneuries which make up the present estate and took up residence here. This castle corresponds to the present buildings of the commanderie. After the death of François Hurault in 1613, the château passed to his son Jean, who expanded the estate.
However, the château suffered in the Fronde and was in a poor state by the time it was sold in 1654 to Pierre Mérault, the former fermier des gabelles who had been promoted to a noble by buying a écuyership, who was also secretary to king Louis XIV. It was Mérault who built the present castle. Its design was formerly attributed to François Mansart without corroborating documentary evidence, but is now attributed to Nicolas de l'Espine. A rectangular building surrounded by a moat forms the living quarters, flanked on either side by the service wings The entrance to the main courtyard is flanked by two pavilions, with the left one containing the chapel. The estate was at the same time "ornamented with canals, lakes and fountains". André Le Nôtre helped design the park, though the dating and nature of his help are not known for certain.
Read more... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A2teau_de_Chamarande
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