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The chateau de Verneuil-sur-Seine
« This property features a pretty castle built in the modern style and designed by M. Antoine, the architect who built La Monnaie in Paris
[...] It includes sixteen master apartments, all furnished, in addition to a lower level completely lined with mirrors
[...] The estate is surrounded by a most delightful countryside. »
(Advertisement for the sale of the chateau in 1816)

Before it was the childhood home of Alexis de Tocqueville, the chateau de Verneuil-sur-Seine was marked by the memory of Madame de Sénozan, the wife of President de Sénozan. Her name was Anne Nicole de Lamoignon, the sister of Malesherbes. When her husband died on September 30, 1778, she was obliged, to settle problems arising from his estate, to sell off some of his possessions. In return, on April 14, 1780, she purchased the lands and seigneurie at Verneuil-sur-Seine. At her instigation, the chateau, which had formerly belonged Monsieur and Madame Randon de Lucenay, was profoundly transformed in the 1780s, and emerged a beautiful building whose style was pure Louis XVI. To keep his sister company, who had remained a widow, Malesherbes, made frequent visits to the chateau, where his rooms awaited him. Above all, he appreciated the calm and the handsome rural surroundings. Under the Terror, Madame de Sénozan was forced to answer to the Tribunal about her special relationship with the defender of Louis XVI, as well as her ties to the entire upper ranks of the French aristocracy, who visited her salon before swelling the ranks of those fleeing France. Despite a complete lack of evidence, she was condemned to death, and was guillotined on May 10, 1794 at the age of 76. The chateau de Verneuil was sealed and seized by the Republic, until the Convention agreed in 1795 to restore all confiscated property to the rightful owners.
Louise Madeleine Le Peletier de Rosanbo, Alexis de Tocqueville's mother and the great-niece of Madame de Sénozan, inherited a share of the chateau in 1803. In 1807 - when her family had lived in the chateau for four years and her husband, Hervé de Tocqueville, had been the town's mayor since 1804 - she purchased the shares of the other heirs and became sole owner. Hervé took it on himself to "diligently restore order and discipline in the village" and to restore the chateau, which had suffered a great deal of damage after the recent events, to its former luster and glory. Hervé de Tocqueville and his wife cleared away the ruins and restored the buildings the way Madame de Sénozan had wanted, refurbished the large outbuildings, restored the chateau's small theater, the "Salle de Comédie" - which delighted the young Alexis de Tocqueville - and gave new life to the gardens and flower beds. They also welcomed a multitude of prominent visitors, including Chateaubriand, who was a frequent guest. Their wish in doing all this was to reconstitute at Verneuil the aristocratic world and art of living that the Revolution had smashed to pieces. They were so successful that Alexis's few childhood memories from this period are tinged with this gentle way of life and its nostalgia for the Ancien Regime - a way of life that was definitively over with the passing of the First Empire. When he began his career as a prefect in 1815, Hervé de Tocqueville had resolved to break with this memory of the 18th century that the estate at Verneuil-sur-Seine represented, and to plunge with his family into the adventure of the early 19th century. In 1816, the chateau was sold to Suzanne Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, countess of Mortefontaine.

See the map

Chateau de Verneuil, north facade

Chateau de Verneuil, north facade
© Tous droits réservés

Chateau de Verneuil

Chateau de Verneuil
© Tous droits réservés

Chateau de Verneuil

Chateau de Verneuil
© Inventaire général / Phot. de Blic - ADAGP

Chateau de Verneuil

Chateau de Verneuil, XVIIIe century
© Mairie de Verneuil-sur-Seine

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