My master's thesis back in graduate school was an analysis of La Grande Mademoiselle's (Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans) memoirs. An essential part of that analysis was about how she created her persona: via texts, via physical representations (portraits, etc.) and via estate-building. Well, I finally got to visit the chateau that she is most associated with during her exile: St. Fargeau.
While the castle suffered during the Revolution and then afterward, through neglect, it was renovated in the late 70's and early 80's. It's privately owned and still suffers from a lack of funding, but it's definitely better than it was 40 years ago.
Montpensier transformed what was essentially a medieval defensive castle into a neo-classical 17th beauty. Here are some photos of the outside, with its large park in the back:
The inside needs more love. Nonetheless, here are some shots (with a before and after renovation), plus an extract of Mme. de Sévigné's witty letter about Montpensier's supposed marriage:
There were many, many representations of La Grande Mademoiselle around the castle, in various degrees of preservation. Because these were essential to my master's thesis, I made a little collage of these too:
However, the portrait which was the key to my analysis is not here. It's at Versailles. Here's a link. And here's the portrait:
Happy Easter everybody!