The history of the Castle

Originally owned by the Marans family from Poitou in the 15th century, the Ormes estate became the property of brothers Antoine-Martin and Henri Pussort in 1642. They were royal advisers and uncles of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, one of the principal advisers to King Louis XIV. A castle consisting of seven pavilions, one of which was topped with a dome in the center, was erected along the Vienne River at the location of the current buildings.

In 1729, the castle was acquired by Count Marc-Pierre de Voyer de Paulmy d’Argenson (1696-1764), a State Councilor, Minister of War, and close friend of Louis XV. In 1757, he initiated the reconstruction of the castle, a project completed by his son Marc-René, Marquis de Voyer (1722-1782), in 1783. The central structure was built in the neoclassical style by the renowned architect Charles de Wailly (1730-1798), who was also the architect of the Odéon Theatre in Paris.

As friends and patrons of philosophers, Count d’Argenson and Marquis de Voyer hosted some of the greatest minds of the 18th century in the left wing known as the « aile d’Argenson » (Argenson wing). Figures such as Marmontel, Fontenelle, President Hénault, and Dom Deschamps frequented the castle, and Diderot and d’Alembert dedicated the first volume of the most famous work of the time, the Encyclopédie, to the Count in 1751. The Château des Ormes thus became one of the intellectual centers of the « Enlightenment, » reinforced by the Count’s exile from 1757 to 1764.

Demolished in 1853 by Marc-René-Marie, the 4th Marquis d’Argenson (1771-1842), deputy of Vienne, due to aging and changing tastes, the central structure was rebuilt in 1903-1905 by Alfred Coulomb (1838-1929), a renowned Parisian architect of the Belle Époque, in the neo-rococo style. The new buildings (central pavilion and lateral galleries) harmonize perfectly with the 17th and 18th-century pavilions and wings.

In September 2000, the castle, along with its park, was acquired by the doctor, Mr. Sydney Abbou who has since led an extensive restoration campaign to restore the site to its former glory.