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Les Trésorières at Saint-Cyr-lès-Tours

Entry gate of Les Trésorières

Entry gate of "Les Trésorières"
© AD Indre-et-Loire

Tocqueville's health was always extremely delicate, but after an initial bout of tuberculosis in 1850, his doctors advised him to spend the summer of 1853 in a milder climate than that afforded by the chateau de Tocqueville. He decided on Touraine, and asked Gustave de Beaumont to find him a furnished house to rent. Beaumont, who became a veritable estate agent for the good of the cause, and who visited every suitable residence in the area, convinced his friend to take up lodgings in a house located at Saint-Cyr near Tours, Les Trésorières.   play sound extractlire l'extrait sonore  
Although everyone agreed that it did not have much of a view, the house had a number of advantages for Alexis de Tocqueville. Completely sheltered from the wind, its climate was so favorable that Dr. Bretonneau, one of Tocqueville's favorite physicians, set up house not far away.

« In this place named for Treasure's charms,
Where basking lizards shun all storms,
Our poets rhyme, but curse their sloth,
Genius, impotent, bags but a moth. »
(Gustave de Beaumont, letter to Alexis de Tocqueville, August 8, 1853)

Tocqueville and his wife stayed at Les Trésorières for about ten months, from June 1853 to April 1854, and it seems that he was untroubled and happy there. except for the unexpected invasion of insects that greeted them on their arrival. They quickly came to love the solitude of their "hermitage" and refused to take part in the social life of Tours. Their sole courtesy visit was to Mgr. Morlot, the bishop of the city. On the other hand, some of their closest friends visited them at Les Trésorières, including Beaumont, Ampère, de Corcelle, Lanjuinais and Dufaure.

Front steps of Les Trésorières

Front steps of Les Trésorières
© AD Indre-et-Loire

But what made Tocqueville's stay particularly profitable was that he was only four kilometers from Tours, and he walked this distance nearly every day to visit the Tours archives and the archivist who kept them, Charles de Grandmaison. He examined documents relating to the Ancien Regime and spoke often with Grandmaison, a graduate of the École des Chartes. Both the archive and the conversations were extremely useful to Tocqueville when he began to write The Old Regime and the Revolution during his stay at Les Trésorières.

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Monseigneur Morlot

Monseigneur Morlot
© AD Indre-et-Loire

Portrait of doctor Bretonneau

Portrait of doctor Bretonneau, Raoul Mercier
© AD Indre-et-Loire

The Prefecture of Tours

The Prefecture of Tours
© AD Indre-et-Loire

Archives

Ground plan of Les Trésorières, 1786

Ground plan of
Les Trésorières, 1786
© AD Indre-et-Loire

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