The Rothschilds are known as one of the largest European banking dynasties, whose origins date back to the eighteenth century. They mingled the greatest private fortune in modern history. The family is not known precisely for anything that has to do with misery, ruin or decay.
France is a country where there are spectacular abandoned sites, it can be abeautiful castle or a magnificent mansion, as it is located only 5 miles from Notre-Dame, beyond the green lawn of the Edmond de Rothschild park, which rises Defiant behind a thick wall of shrubs and brambles is the ghostly figure of theabandoned mansion of the Rothschilds .
The neo-style mansion Louis XIV remains abandoned since World War II, when the Rothschild family fled to England before the imminent arrival of the Germans. The mansion was occupied and looted by the Nazis during the four years of Nazi occupation of Paris. After the liberation of the city, once again the Rothschild house was occupied and inhabited, this time by members of the United States Army, which did not do the residence any favors. The Rothschilds never returned home and for decades it has deteriorated, making it a perfect place for graffiti artists and vandals.
The now abandoned mansion or castle was bought by James Mayer de Rothschild in 1817, one of the richest men in the world at the time and the most powerful banker in France. It played a very important role in making France an industrial power after the Napoleonic wars. It is estimated that his personal fortune (not including that of his family) would have been at least five times the fortune accumulated by Bill Gates.
Certainly a large house that reflected the power and fortune of the Rothschild which featured a regal English garden with waterfalls and picturesque and beautiful interior frescoes by Eugène Lami. For eight years James and his wife Betty organized the most luxurious parties of the time between these walls.
He was one of the main patrons of the time and in his list of guests he regularly included characters like Rossini, Chopin, Balzac or Delacroix and everyone who was in the financial, business and political world of France.Chopin even dedicated his Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in minor Sharp to the Rothschild’s daughter, Charlotte.
Between the clinking of champagne glasses, the laughter and the music playing in the corridors, it would have been unimaginable to think that the Chateau de Rothschild would be doomed to suffer the damage and neglect that has left him in the pitiful state he is in today day.
Jules Mansart was inspired to design the house Rothschild in the castle of Clagny, a seventeenth-century French country house northeast of the palace of Versailles, which was also abandoned, neglected and, Consequently, demolished less than a century after its construction.
The castle of Rothschild was saved of running a similar destiny in 1951, after being declared historical monument. In 1979 James Mayer of Rothschild sold the castle for the symbolic price of 1 franc to the city of Paris, which immediately sold it to a rich buyer of Saudi Arabia for 50 million francs (about 7 million euros today). More than thirty years later, under the same ownership, the house is still in ruins. Restoration works are estimated at 30 million euros.
Meanwhile, the park named after Baron Edmond de Rothschild remains open to the public, being able to picnic on the lawn with a front row seat in front of this spectacular abandoned mansion . Certainly, there are no guided tours in this historic monument of Paris. The castle of Rothschild is closed to visitors indefinitely.
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Where is Rothschild Castle in Paris?
You can find the entrance to the park Edmond de Rothschild at Rue des Victories 3, Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts de Seine, very close to the south-east entrance of Bois de Boulogne) Tel: 01 55 18 66 80, Website here .
But I must clarify once again that the castle itself is not open to visitors, even though the graffiti suggest otherwise.
Photographs by Edouard Bergé .
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