In Progress

French Parterres during restoration work March 2009 ©RB Presse
The Chantilly Estate Foundation has launched an extensive campaign of heritage restoration, in order to count the Estate among the most valuable French residence, and to give back to the French Institute a fully restored Estate in 2025. The restoration works are covered by an estimated 180-million programme, which, on top of His Highness the Aga Khan and our partners’ contribution, requires the support of other sponsors who would be interested in the overall restoring project. During the first years, priority was given to the infrastructure and plumbing work, in order to set the foundations for future renovations. For several years now, heritage restorations have been initiated on all of the Estate, the aim being to provide rapidly a wider offer to our visitors. A selection of the most outstanding works is proposed in the list below.
Restored French Parterres ©Martine Savart

INFRASTRUCTURE WORKS

 

The restoration of the Château's basements

There have been several restoration phases for the basements between 2005 and 2009. These works required that we drain the moats, in agreement with the Water Service, after decanting all the fishes into the other ponds of the park. The masonry restoration operation made it possible to replace corrupted stones, while respecting the equipment, the joint width and the size of the lintels. This also meant digging up, sizing the new stones, setting temporary wedges, mortar jointing with hydraulic lime, injections and strengthening of the blockade.

 

 

The restoration of the château’s bridges

The château counts two mobile bridges, which were restored in 2007-2008: the drawbridge of the Capitainerie Courtyard and the swing bridge of la Volière Garden. These bridges were created by the Duke of Aumale during the reshaping works of the château, conducted by the architect Honoré Daumet from 1875 to 1885. They were built in accordance to the tradition (a rocking drawbridge) but made of modern elements of that time (iron and cast iron). They represent also the two main design often found at the château of Chantilly, combining tradition and modernity.

 

The bridges were restored in the exact same way, but had to be adapted to be used, which was not the case anymore. Rust had cut into metallic parts, which greatly affected its weight carrying abilities. The bridge abutments were in bad shape, the wooden roadway was getting fragile.
 

 

The dredging of the park's canals 

The dredging of all of the park canals was a precondition for restoring the park's landscape. Keep in mind that the Grand Canal is an expanded and canalized section of the Nonette, a small river which flows into the Oise river. Therefore, the Grand Canal and the secondary canals were progressively silting up, which blocked the necessary drainage of the lands. The park grounds were water-soaked during humid periods, and slowly but surely sinking in and deteriorating. The trees of the park were suffering from root suffocation.

 

The 2007 canals’ dredging helped to improve the lands’ ability to wipe and allowed for an adjustment of the water level in the canals, each season. In addition to the dredging of the Grand Canal, of the secondary canals and the Hameau, the work included adapting the Pré Saint-Jean area to mud stockpiling. As of 2012, this area has become a simple a meadow.

 


The restoration of the underground aqueduct in the park

The aqueduct of the Prince or Prince's Canal is a buried aqueduct measuring more than 5 miles long, which captured several sources in the suburbs of Senlis and brought back the water - thanks to the simple gravity effect - to the park of Chantilly. Initiated by the latest Duke of Montmorency in the seventeenth century, and finalized in 1622, it functioned until the twentieth century. The aqueduct ensured a permanent water flow of almost 10594ft³ per hour, thus supplying the fountains in the parterre, otherwise known as "Miracle of the Waters": Chantilly was indeed the only château in France to have continuous running water. Even the water-jets of the ten "mirrors", the Spray and the statues of the Grand Degré were fed by the aqueduct. The aqueduct restoration enabled to water the parterre northen jets with this old system. The work also set to consolidate both the apron with a thick roman sealant ensuring watertightness, and the vaulting built in breeze blocks.

 

 

The restoration of the Great Stables joinery

The restoration of the large woodworks started in 2007. The size of the woodwork is consequent (almost 22ft x 9ft) and had not been restored since the nineteenth century until their stability was questioned. Therefore, they were moved to a workshop to be restored. The intention is to maintain their look so as to remain similar to the original ones, to conserve the glazing if possible, to clear the back-bands, to remove the deficient wood elements, and to operate a partial replacement with grafts and connecting pieces made of new oak, to restorate wrought-iron elements, and the painting of the overall pieces. Taking care of the woodworks will require the implementation of a scaffolding inside the building, at the right of every bay in restoration.


 

The sewers of the château 

Until 2008, the whole of the wastewater and sewage waters of the château is rejected in a sewers wired/system achieved during the nineteenth century by the Duke of Aumale, and were rejected in the moats without any treatment. These facilities were a hygiene problems and environmental nuisances important for visitors (smells… ). One of the first works of the Foundation concerned the compliance of the equipments: the sewage and black waters are now drained away to a public cleaning network, while rain waters
are still transported to the moats.

 

 

HERITAGE RESTORATIONS IN THE CHATEAU AND ITS CONDE MUSEUM

 

 

The restoration of the Grands Apartments

The Foundation launched successive restorations of the rooms constituting the Grands apartments of the Princes of Condé. These apartments were located at first floor of the small château in the middle of the sixteenth century, and have been equipped with white and gold paneling around 1718/1720. The conception of the decor was supervised by the architect Jean Aubert. The Grands Apartments as a whole constitute one of the main artwork developed during the Regency, the current which started in 1715 and which is now considered as a transition to the great Rococo art of Louis XV’s reigning period. The resumption of the roofing of the Small Château, which took place between 2002 and 2005, solved the dampness and water seepage issues. Then the Gallery of Battles, the Great Monkey Room, and the Salon of Music have been successively restored, respectively in 2005-2006, 2007-2008 and 2010-2012. The restorating works are handled by teams of experts in restoring paneling, painting, gilt, locksmith, and wooden floors …


  

The restoration of the Loggia and Débotté

The loggia is located at the heart of the wing built in the sixteenth century for Anne of Montmorency. Today’s rooms have been created in the nineteenth century for the Duke of Aumale: on one side, a closed and glazed loggia overlooking the moats, and on the other side the "Débotté", overlooking the private rooms of the Duke. Their decors are inspired by the sixteenth century, as a tribute to the supreme commander Anne of Montmorency, and therefore look like a pastiche of the Renaissance.
This set had suffered a lot from the climatic conditions: located behind the glass wall overlooking the moats, with a south-east exposure, it grabbed the sun heat during the summer. During winter, as the moats were close and this wing of the château was not heated, there was a lot of dampness which threatens its conservation. The restoration started by doubling the glazing of the glass wall, which then enabled to restore the decor. The Loggia, masterpiece of the decorative arts of the nineteenth century, is included in the visit of the small apartments since its restoration in 2008.

 

 

 

THE ARCHITECTURAL AND LANDSCAPED RESTORATION IN THE PARK

 

The restoration of the parterre Le Nôtre (named North Parterre)

The Grand Parterre of Chantilly was drawn by Le Nôtre between 1665 (drawing of the gardens and pools) and 1671 (end of the Grand Canal construction work).
These gardens were designed in a classical type, with floral borders and topiaries. At that time, the drawing was based on a false perspective, adapted to the asymmetry of the two parterres: east and west. But the great originality of this garden is the fact that the water games of the ten pools, called the Mirrors, of the Spray and the fountains operated continuously, without using any engine, as the water supply was working purely on gravity, from a buried aqueduct in Senlis, 5 miles distant from the site. The jets of the Mirrors used to gush at 15 ft high. The initial pipes were made of wood or iron, then in cast iron (eighteenth century).

 

Destroyed during Revolution, the Grand Parterre was restored at the end of the nineteenth century by the Duke of Aumale, which eliminated the false perspective by recreating two almost symmetrical beds, by removing the floral borders and topiaries, and in trying, in vain, to recreate the effects of water games. 
The Restoration works were carried out from 2007 to 2009. They intended to restore the parterre as it was in the nineteenth century ; only the water games had been restored to their initial condition, ie by recreating the gravity supply. The water games of Chantilly are indeed considered as a jewel of Le Nôtre ingenuity.

 

 

The restoration of the Wall Louis XIII

The wall Louis XIII had been built in the last years of the seventeenth century. It was part of the construction works which finalized the Grand Axis of Chantilly gardens, staged by Andre Le Nôtre for the Grand Condé. This wall intended in the first place to retain the structure of the château of Enghien's terrace. It illustrates perfectly well how complex can be a classic garden to lay out.
It is indeed at the same time a technical platform maintaining the back land, a precise work in landscape architecture which balances the château as a whole and the Grand degré, and eventually an art decorative masterpiece employing boss pilasters with niches in full curve.

 

The wall Louis XIII was very damaged especially because of waters infiltrations from the top of the terrace that overlooks it, and its stability was threatened. The works included the following interventions: cleaning of all the siding accompanied by a processing algaecide and lichenicide, taken from the cut stone masonry of large machine in frank rock of Saint-Maximin, taken from foundation made in liais of Saint-Maximin, stone particularly adapted because of its great resistance, and creation of a buried device preventing in the upper part of the wall the percolation of rainwater.

 

 

The restoration of the House of Sylvie 

The project of restorating the house of Sylvie is part of the development goals of the Chantilly Estate.The House of Sylvie is actually aimed at becoming a privileged place, keeping Its vocation of historic residence that is also a place for welcoming and hosting.
The project had been built with that ambition, and included the restoration in authentic state of Duke of Aumale's time. The work program integrated the restoration of the façades combining books of cut stone and speckled coating panels, restoration of roof structures and slate-covers, and the restoration of external joinery.
The works also enabled to restore interior decors, parquets, paneling and painted decors, ceilings. In order to ensure security and comfort to welcome the visitors, technical devices (electricity, heating) have been revised.

 

 

The restoration of the English Garden

This operation includes the restoration and rehabilitation in water of the Island of love (Île d’Amour), the bridge of Great Men (le pont des Grands Hommes) and the fountain of Beauvais, as well as the landscape restoration of surrounding spaces. These three elements are part of the English Garden, located in the western part of the park and whose lay out dates from the work undertaken by the architect Dubois for Louis-Joseph of Bourbon in the 1818-1820 years. This lay out was achieved on the site of regular gardens destroyed during Revolution ; the fountain of Beauvais was and remains the only witness well preserved. The Bridge of Great Men (le pont des Grands Hommes) was created during Restoration period, in the initial construction works of the English Garden in 1820. The Island of love has its current form because of the adjustments made in the nineteenth century by the Duke of Aumale. This construction built on some part the Island of love's base in the seventeenth century was designed in 1886 and built in 1895-1896

 

The Island of Love and the Bridge of the great men (le pont des Grands Hommes) haven't been restorated except during the restoration campaign at the end of the nineteenth century. Their conservation status became a matter of concern. The operation, underway in 2012, includes the masonry restoration / cut stone, the restoration of the bridges structure, the restoration of art trellis and sculptures, the fountains with plumbing works restoration at the fountains level, and the planting and gardening work.
This work construction is scheduled for September 2012.

 

 

RESTORATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE GREAT STABLES 


 

The restoration of the Courtyard of the Sheds

The Courtyard of the Sheds is a U building backed to the Great Stables and made with three axial porches allowing to reach the carrousel, the street of the constable and the Chenils courtyard. On the ground floor, the building hosted some old sheds and saddleries, the two floors were dedicated to housing the staff. The restoration of the Remise Courtyard buildings includes the rehabilitation of the cut stone façades, the complete makeover of the roof (roof structure and slate-cover), of structures (wood floors), and the joinery restoration, most of it dated from the original building in the eighteenth century.

 

 

The Bleachers improving works under the Dome

Since the opening of the Live Horse Museum in 1982, horse shows took place under the Dome. That area raised security issues and comfort for spectators was quite rudimentary.
Bleachers improving works have been conducted to meet several objectives:

 

- A better comfort for spectators that also enables a more diversified use of this space (shows, concerts, conferences,.. ) as seats became individuals, more spacious and comfortable, and the heating system better adapted.

 

- The overall safety as bleachers and a heating system are meeting safety requirements forpublic areas

- A better display of the architecture: the perspectives of the Great Stables is valued, and the door overlooking the Hippodrome can now be reused for special events.

Aerial View Chantilly Estate © JL Aubert
restauration du hameau domaine de chantilly © M.Savart
hameau restauré domaine de chantilly © M.Savart
Garden of the Birdhouse Chantilly Estate © Béatrice Lécuyer-Bibal
Grande singerie après restauration domaine de chantilly © Hermine Cleret
loggia après restauration domaine de chantilly © Andre Pelle
Salon violet restauré © Béatrice Lécuyer-Bibal
Salon Condé © Béatrice Lécuyer-Bibal
Bibliothèque du théatre restaurée © André Pelle
La tribune chateau de chantilly © Béatrice Lécuyer-Bibal