ARCHITECT, French
(active 1597-1617 in Val-de-Marne)

Exterior view

1597-1617
Photo
Château de Grosbois, Boissy-Saint-Léger (Val-de-Marne)

In the early years of the seventeenth century, we find some conflicts of styles in château building in France. In the reign of Henry IV the greater part of the castles and country houses built conform in materials and manner to the brick-and-stone work of the Place Royale in Paris, but the years after 1610 architects make and even greater display of fantasy here than in the Paris hôtel. Of the simple style a fine example is the château de Grosbois. It was begun by Nicolas de Harlay (1546–1629), a French soldier and diplomat in 1597, but work on the stables was still continuing in 1617, when the estate had passed to the Duc d'Angoulème, natural son of Charles IX.

There is no record of the original designer, but in view of the great semi-circular bay in the middle of the main block, which is a grander enlargement of the niche in the Stable Court at Fontainebleau, Rémy Collin is a likely architect responsible for the design. However, the château de Grosbois is clearly influenced by those designed by Jacques Androuet du Cerceau. On a U plan, it is made up of a central wing curved into an exedra, flanked by two pavilions of the same height and by two lower wings at right angles. The château is traditional in its materials and is composed of the brick and stone or plaster current in the reign of Henry IV and the regency of Marie de' Medici.

The château is built on a rectangular platform in the middle of a once water-filled moat, now dry. It is reached by three bridges.

The photo shows the entrance to the château de Grosbois.




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