Origins of the Château
The chateau was built on
a site that had belonged to the Chartreux and then to Philippe-le-Hardi,
son of King Jean-le-Bon, the first Duke of Burgandy. It had been a fortified
castle surrounded by vineyards. Then, in the early 19th century, Etienne
Liégeard purchashed a parcel of the land. His son, Jean-Baptiste
Liégeard bought more of the surrounding land, and then Stephen
Liégeard, Etiennes grandson, eventually bought the former
Chartreux house that was situated on the property from the Darcy family,
and constructed the most recent château on the land.
Liégeard, an extremely well-educated and sophistcated man, was
first and foremost a poet. He published his first work « Remeberance
of Summer Nights » which consisted of poems and short plays, when
he was only 22 years old. After receiveing critical acclaim for his
work, he was even awarded a literary prize in 1894 by the Académie
Française for his work titled « The Big Hearts ».
La Côte dAzur » was his major work for which he
is most well remembered. He wrote it in Brochon in 1887 and it was published
in Paris in 1888. It is, of course, a story about the French Riviera where
he had bought a house, near Cannes, called « Villa des Violettes
». Liégeard, who had spent every winter in Southern France,
along the Mediterrean Coast in a region called the French Riviera, was
inspired by the beauty of the land, and by the maginifecent blue of the
ocean to call the area « La Côte dAzur ». For
his work, written in an elegeantly articulate manner he was awarded the
Bordin Prize by the Académie Française.Influential people
in Paris were saying, at that time, how he had written a work of the highest
quality. Meanwhile, he continued to churn out poetry to commemorate every
event or ceremony he saw fit to memorialize.
COTE DAZUR, by Stephen LIEGEARD, Reprinting of the work in which
the name « Cote dAzur » was coined in 1887 describing
the Medieterrean Coast from Toulon to San Remo, printed on the 100th
Anniversary of its original dtae.
To order it :
Model for « Sous- Préfet aux Champs »
The short story
« Des Lettres de Mon Moulin » was inspired by Stephen Liégeard
and his impressive life. At the time he was serving in Carptentras as
« sous-prefet », an appointed local governement official.
There was something original about him that Alphones Daudet, his neighbor,
had noticed : as a hig ranking civil servant Liégeard not only
committed himself to his community, but he committed all his free time
dreamt of being admitted to the Académie Française, where
he knew many people. After three unsuccessful attempts at induction
(in 1891, 1892 and 1901) he had to give up. Certain people said he lost
each time because of the Chambertin wine. (People joked that if he was
admitted the panel of judges risked not receiving the many bottles of
Chambertin wine that Liégeard offered them before each election
!) But the real reason he was not accepted was because he was competeing
against the likes of Pierre Loti, Edmond Rostand and Emile Zola.
Despite his exciting
and glamorous life and his coloassal fortune Stephen Liégeard
remained a good and generous man, illustrated by his famous quote «
It is beautiful to be big, but to be good is better. »
After having been
a contributing member to many charitable foundations through his life
he was put in charge of the Société Nationale dEncouragement
au Bien (SNEB) in 1897, a position he retained until 1921, retiring
only after accomplishing many great things through the foundation.
of the Château
wished to give the village of Brochon something spectacualr to be known
by, a monumental reference point for Brochon. He also wanted an opportunity
to show off his vast amounts of land, his large wealth and his refined
and sophisticated taste. The Château that he ulitmately constructed
in Brochon was the last of its kind to be constructed in the Cote
dOr. The construction of the Château began shortly after
the Phylloxéra crises which had attacked the vineyards and ruined
the financial prospects of many small businessmen in the Dijon area.
Stephen Liégeard always had other peoples interest in mind,
so he responded to this crisis by hiring many of the out-of-work men
in the area to help build his château.
Liégeard called upon among the most well renowned artisans in the
area to contruct his château. He chose Leprince and Perreau as his
architects. Louis Perreau is well known in Dijon for designing the Post
Office in Place Grangier, while Leprince, the seocnd architect was a student
of Viollet-Le-Duc (1814-1879). The interior design of the château
was handeled by Schanosky, Cesbron, and Gasq, all well known Dijonnais artists.
of the château took three years and was finished in 1898, but
the interior decoration, and the finer details took and additional three
years to complete, so the château was compltely finished in 1902.
The Chateau was constructed in a neo-renaissance style, but it is possible
to see the influences of many different designs. The Easterly facade
resembles Azay-le-Rideau, the large arcades resemble Chenonceaux, and
the chmneys are reminiscent of Blois and Chambord, all of which are
Châteaux in the Loire Valley.
château was left to the French government when Gaston, Stepehn
Liégeards only son, died in 1953 without an hier to inherit
the chateau. What could the government do with this large and luxorious
castle ? In 1962 the National Education agency created Lycée
Stephen Liégeard by building modern facilities on the grounds
of the château, to use as classrooms and for other educational
purposes. The château itself, including the interior decortaions
and artwork, became a historical monument in 1975.
Created in 1994,
the Association of the Friends of the Château Stephen Liegeard
promotes awareness of the Burgandinian monument. The association (with
the cooperation of the Conseil Régional de Bourgogne, the Lycée
Stepehn Liégeard, and the Brochon community,) organizes guided
tours of the château and its magnificent grounds.