The chateau


Built in 1631 by the celebrated architect François Mansart (1598-1666) at the request of Jean de Choisy, the Château de Balleroy and its surrounding buildings are one of the first urban plans that inspired other chateaux, including Versailles. All the buildings were built from scratch. The chateau itself has retained almost all of its original features and it is because of this that it witnessed the major innovations of the 17th Century.

In 1970, Malcolm S. Forbes, owner of a major U.S. newspaper group acquired the chateau which was then fully restored and refurbished. Today, his four sons and his daughter continue his work.

The cantilevered staircase

Entering the château, the visitor encounters a dramatic innovation by Mansart – the suspended staircase. Held in place by a keystone at its uppermost level, the stairs and balustrades are supported by a series of vaulting with no supporting pillars. Open staircases were becoming popular in the early 17th century and the example at Balleroy was the first to be built.

The Louis XIII salon

With a beautiful oak panelled carved ceiling painted a shade of grey to match the slate on the floor. Over the fireplace is a painting by Claude Vignon executed from 1623 and the oldest painting in the château. Arranged along the other walls are large canvases of hunting scenes by Comte Albert de Balleroy, a talented painter of animals. A. de Balleroy showed regularly at the Salon in Paris and shared a studio with Edouard Manet for seven year.

The smoking room

This room was completely redecorated and refurnished by Malcolm Forbes, who dedicated it to Albert de Balleroy by collecting and exposing the many works of the painter.

The Dining room

This room was completely redecorated and refurnished by Malcolm Forbes, who dedicated it to Albert de Balleroy by collecting and exposing the many works of the painter.

The Bedrooms

Passionate about the 19th century, Christopher Forbes has chosen to dedicate each of these rooms to a character or an event of this century: Queen Victoria, King Louis-Philippe, or the Battle of Waterloo.

The Salon d’honneur

Jewel of the chateau, this room has survived the centuries without any modifications. The floor is original, the painted ceiling is attributed to Charles de la Fosse and the series of royal portraits (restored in 1998) were executed by Juste d’Egmont, a pupil of Rubens in the 17th century.

The Libary

The library dates the XXth century, in the English style, it consists of more than 1 600 volumes.