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Château de Reux, Pont-L'Evêque, Calvados, Normandy, France

Early History

Château de Reux is a castle in Reux, Calvados, Normandy, France. First occupied by the Reux family from the 14th century, it passed through several families until the 17th century, when it was home to the de la Ferté and then the La Myre-Mory families. In the late 18th century, the author the Comte de Lauraguais observed that the Château was decorated with many fine pieces of 16th century glazed pottery ('faience') made by Bernard Palissy (1510-1589). 

The Ephrussi-Rothschilds

In 1868, Madame de Wissel (born La Myre-Mory) sold the Château to Paul Borel, one of the partners who built the Suez Canal. His widow sold it in about 1895 to Baron Maurice Ephrussi (1849-1916), who married (Charlotte) Béatrice de Rothschild (1864-1934) in 1883. The Ephrussis made several additions to the existing original tower house. The Château sat on an estate of 320-acres and was accessed by two stone bridges that crossed the moat. Maurice Ephrussi maintained a vast stable of thoroughbred horses at Reux that won several of the most prestigious prizes in France and England. They maintained Reux along with L'Hôtel Ephrussi-Rothschild in Paris and a villa in Monte Carlo. However, by 1904, Maurice had run up significant gambling debts and the Rothschilds took him to court to have him legally separated from Béatrice. After 1905, Béatrice spent most of her time on the Cote d'Azur where she built the Villa Ephrussi-Rothschild. Maurice Ephrussi died in 1916, and was buried at Reux, and the Château became the property of the Rothschilds. 

The twentieth century

After she died in 1934, Béatrice left the Château de Reux to her brother, Édouard Alphonse James de Rothschild 1868-1949), but he rarely visited. When he died in 1949, it passed to his only surviving son, Guy de Rothschild (1909-2007). At the time of his father's death, Guy was married to his first wife, the Austro-Hungarian Baroness Alix von Koromla (1911-1982). She immediately fell in love with Reux and though she and Guy were divorced in 1956, she remained here and devoted the last thirty years of her life to the Château and the village, serving as Mayor of Reux in 1953. Aside from Reux itself, Alix was a passionate supporter of Israeli art and artists, and it was here that the pianist Eugene Istomin began his long and close friendship with the Israeli painter Avigdor Arikha. At the Château, Alix commissioned artwork by Norbert Kricke and in the 1960s, Francis Bott designed the stained glass windows in the chapel. Today, the Château is the country home of Guy and Alix's only son, David (b.1942), who was married here in 1974 to the Italian Princess, Olimpia Aldobrandini (b.1955). Baron David de Rothschild also served as Mayor of Reux for eighteen years.  

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