Château de Lésigny: A château that will capture your heart
Text: Kate Harvey | Photos: Château De Lésigny
Tucked away in the rural outskirts of Paris is one of France’s best kept secrets. With a history that extends back to 1508, the Château de Lésigny was built on the ruins of a medieval castle and now encompasses one of the finest wedding, event and film spaces in the entire region. Having transformed constantly throughout the centuries, each corner of this fairytale property is a delight for the imagination.
After speaking to marketing director and co-owner, Daphné Reckert, it’s clear that the chateau has evolved through the narrative of French history. “I spent every summer there as a child, but it was not until I moved to France that I was really able to delve into its past,” says Reckert. Under the reign of François I, the chateau belonged to Louis de Poncher and was built in the elegant Renaissance style we see today. The former medieval structure was destroyed in a fire, apart from the picturesque moat and dungeons which remained intact.
The contrast in architectural styles is particularly striking. Old Renaissance stone sits alongside more embellished buildings and water features, while the chateau itself transforms across different floors. The entrance hall interiors are incredibly grandiose, yet the cottage-like tiles on the top floor give it an intimate feel. “Visitors will fall in love with the little details,” says Reckert
Falling into the hands of women
The property itself has undoubtedly received a woman’s touch. In 1613, it was purchased by Léonora Dori, an influential favourite of the French queen, Marie de Médicis. Dori, who was also known as La Galigaï, designed the chateau’s orangery, manicured gardens, and also built the chapel. Unfortunately, Dori met her untimely end under the guillotine in 1617: “Before they came to take her to Paris, they say that she had enough time to hide her treasures. But nothing has been found – yet!” Daphné reveals.
Interestingly, the estate has been assumed by females throughout history. “I noticed that for almost a century and a half, the chateau had been passed down from mother to daughter – which is rare considering women weren’t supposed to own property,” Daphné explains. Even today, Daphne, her grandmother and mother are now upholding the legacy of what her grandfather brought to their family.
And visitors need only wander the corridors to notice the many original paintings – all of which honour their female subjects.
A picture-perfect property
Capturing incredible photography has been at the heart of the Chateau de Lésigny for a long time already. In fact, visitors might recognise it as the film location of the popular Canal+ and BBC series Versailles, among others. With a large lake, a forest cabin, dove tower, dungeons, winding walkways and quaint farmhouses, “producers can endlessly explore their creativity,” explains Daphné.
“When my grandfather purchased the property in 1984, the furniture had already been sold to auction, which made it the perfect shell for filming. He made some structural changes to create a studio space, and enlarged the reception hall,” explains Daphné. As a result, the largest of its three interior spaces can accommodate up to 300 people – whether for a film crew or a dreamlike reception.
An architectural expression of love
Comprising 54 hectares of land and forest, this majestic chateau is the perfect place to immortalise that special moment. From the moat that crowns it, to the fine details etched into its walls, guests will go home with unforgettable memories created in a place of deep reaching heritage. “The beauty of the chateau provides a deep and emotional experience for its guests, and makes their dreams reality. In fact, the Chateau de Lésigny is the definition of a fairytale venue that perfectly complements its neighbouring Disneyland Paris.
With so much room to play around with, the chateau serves as a versatile location for both filming and weddings. “We provide an American-style customer service to our guests. We help them plan, but don’t impose much,” explains Daphné. Reckert and her staff aim to cater to their guests’ wishes with the utmost ease, and have hosted all sorts of weddings across various religions and backgrounds. “We’ve hosted numerous Disney Princess-themed ceremonies, for example!” she reveals.
A chateau at the heart of the community
Daphné, who is originally from California, is passionate about engaging with local businesses. Wherever possible, she therefore works with photographers, catering companies and florists from the nearby villages, and also with the mayor to host public events. “There is a budding community which we really try to embrace,” she explains. Located just 30 minutes from the centre of Paris, the chateau provides the ideal rural escape. Visitors can easily access the French capital and its two main airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, in just under an hour, and guests can arrange accommodation options just a short distance away.
For more information on the services available for your special occasion, visit their website or get in touch. You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook, for updates on their public events.
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