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Château d'Armainvilliers, Seine-et-Marne, France

Armainvilliers Castle was an ancient stronghold dating back to the twelfth century. It was partially destroyed during the French Revolution.It was restored under the Second Empire. Sosthenes de la Rochefoucauld, 2nd Duke of Doudeauville, former aid-de-camp of King Charles X, died there in 1864.

Edmond de Rothschild (1845-1934) bought the estate of Armainvilliers close to Ferrières in Seine-et-Marne, in 1877, and replaced the castle with a modern Château.  The original building was described as a hunting lodge, but underwent significant alterations. Between 1881 and 1938 numerous additions were made to it, the chief architects involved being Félix Langlais and Emile Ulmann. The resulting low pavilion with its steeply-pitched roofs and timbering in the upper storeys, bears some resemblance to the English cottage style found in Devey’s Ascott. 

In 1881, the estate consisted of 250 hectares; by the end of the century it had grown to 3,961 hectares. The magnificent grounds included numerous tall trees, among them Sequoias, and a lake fifty metres long surrounded with statues. The outhouses, including the ‘pavillon de garde’ and the laundry and stud, were built quite separate from the house with their own access.

When Edmond died the house passed to his second son, Maurice (1881-1957) and then to Maurice’s son Edmond (1926-1997) who sold the house to the King of Morocco in the 1980s. In 2024, the Château and estate were rumoured to be on the market for some £363 million, making it one of the most expensive private residences ever brought to market.

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