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Château Mennechet

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HISTORY

Château Mennechet is a castle from the end of the 19th century, built in the commune of Chiry-Ourscamp, Oise, in the Hauts-de-France region, on the slopes of Mont-Conseil. His patron Alphonse Mennechet de Barival, born in Saint-Quentin, would have made a fortune thanks to his marriage to his cousin Henriette Caroline Paillet, whose father, Charles, was an art lover. Around 1855, Mennechet acquired much land in Chiry-Ourscamp, a commune crossed by the railroad, halfway between Paris and Saint-Quentin. It was on these lands that he built a stone complex dedicated to his wife, consisting of a tower, called La Folie (The Madness), a castle, two small manor houses and large stables. The castle, which remained unfinished, was built around 1880 and was conceived as a gallery, richly carved on its facades, intended to house Alphonse's collection of works of art - paintings, sculptures and ceramics - while the Tower, in Moorish style, it was built in ashlar stone to honor the memory of his late wife.

WHY THIS PLACE

At 42 meters high, it had 237 steps that led to the highest floor, now destroyed. There Alphonse used to retreat to feel closer to his lost soulmate. The stones used in these buildings were mined from quarries owned by Mennechet and the labor came from nearby villages. Mennechet died in 1903, at the age of ninety, leaving no direct heirs, therefore, as established in his will, his collection of art objects was transferred to the Antoine Lécuyer Museum, his 69 paintings to the city of Saint-Quentin and the management of his patrimony to his nephew Louis Hugues, who, however, soon squandered his fortune.

CURIOSITIES

During World War I the castle was damaged and the tower and manors were destroyed. The castle, again hit during the Second World War, has not been restored after that. It is currently abandoned and in ruins and was close to being demolished (project abandoned in 2007). In 2008, the new owner carried out major deforestation and cleaning works that led to the discovery of a previously unknown vaulted pit. The ruins were officially listed as a historic monument in 2011.

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