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Favorite thing: Le-Duc was a brilliannt logical and scholarly man who learned his architecture from working with leading experts in medieval Architecture (Huve and Leclere) rather than enroll in the Ecole des Beaux Artes (just as the Impressionists would do a decade later). During his life besides his reconstruction work, he wrote voluminously. His chef d'oeuvre was his 10 volume Dictionnaire raisonnee (rational) de l'Architecture (1854-69). It was accompanied by a sister work of 6 volumes covering furniture and practical arts (both only on the 11-16C France). He felt that the key to understanding a science required planned linkages (cross-references) with detailed explanatory illustrations. (He thus simulated a computer in print!) With great mathematical skill he polemicized for the recognition of the beauty, logic and structural strength of Gothic buildings, previously considered ugly, recognizing that he would be condemned by a certain type of critic (and this will be continued for eternity). All the brilliant unconventional architects that followed were influenced by him (Wright and Gaudi for two). But most important for tourists, with the encouragement and financing through Prosper Merimee and Napoleon III, le-Duc has preserved sites that are exciting to visit all over France.
Written Jun 7, 2008
Favorite thing: Le Duc engaged numerous fine craftsmen and worked closely with them. He assisted Honore Monduit (1824-93) and his son Philippe (1875-1909) in reviving the art of lead-working by hammering on dies. These objects were used over the entire chateau from roof work to fininals (and gargoyles). The Monduits cast many famous sights: the spires on Notre Dame de Paris and Mont St.-Michel and made the molds for the small replicas that Bartholdy sold to finance the erection of the Statue of Liberty and the Lion of Belfort plus its reduced replica that stands in the Place Denfert-Rochereau in Paris (See Our Tips and others). This room is on the first floor in the Guest Quarters.
Written Jun 7, 2008
Favorite thing: After a lifetime of creative thinking and restoring Gothic buildings, the individualistic architect was permitted to give free play to his deepest held beliefs on restoration. He completed most of it and his son added a bit more, so Pierrefonds is what we have of the real him besides his writings. The portrait photo is in the castle and the statue of St. James is on the trumeau of the Chapel with le-Duc's facial likeness as he designed it.
Fondest memory: The enormous number of tourists outside who are not coming in to get in our way.
Written Jun 3, 2008
Favorite thing: Wherever we go,Billy and Sam always seem to find huge ice creams to pose alongside.Be a shame not to take a photo.
Fondest memory: Peace and quiet,mind you we did stumble ,or rather he stumbled across us... A drunk down and out asking for some spare cash.
Written May 24, 2006
Fondest memory: Apart from the amazing fairytale castle another quite unique feature of the small town of Pierrefonds is this huge lake, in the centre of the town. On good weekends and in the season you can hire boats and pedalos to go out on the lake. There are a few noce cafes on the lakes shore. I have a very nice Apricot Sorbet from one of them!
With Pierrefonds only being 50 miles from Paris it is a popular day trip for Parisians, in the summer they also have a music Festival next to the lake.
Updated Oct 27, 2004
Fondest memory: From all the windows of the chateau at Pierrefonds there are the most wonderful views around the town and surrounding forests. Pierrefonds sits on the edge of the ancient royal forest of Compiegne.
Written Oct 27, 2004