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Saturday 31 May 2008

There to stay

Hotels, Guest rooms, Guest Houses of Montfort-l'Amaury

Lire la suite


Wednesday 9 April 2008

How to get to Groussay from Paris

By car
about 35 minutes

- Take the A13 to Rouen.
- And take the A12 to Dreux.
- And take the N12 to Dreux.
- Go trough the tunnel of Pontchantrain.
- Take the first exit : Méré/Thoiry/Montfort-l'Amaury.
In Montfort-l'Amaury, after the first cobblestone square, turn left. Go straight ahead until the Stop sign.
After the Stop sign, turn left and go along the park wall. The entrance of the château is on the right after the wall.

By train
about 40 minutes

Take the train from Paris, gare Montparnass to Montfort-l'Amaury/Méré station (about 4 km from the château).


Histoiry of Château

Photo М.K.

The Château de Groussay was built in 1815 for the Duchesse de Charost, the daughter of Madame de Tourzel, the governess of the children of king Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Bought in 1938 by Charles de Beistegui, inspired eshete, Groussay was expanded in 1952, when two wings were added - one leading to the theatre - and the "folies" were devised by collaborating artists Emilio Terry and Alexandre Serebriakoff and architects Desbrosses and Costi. The transformation of the château and the creation of the "stone monuments" were carried on untill the death of Charles de Beistegui in 1970. The entirely has been classified as an "Ancient Monument" since 1993. Its new owner, who has been restoring the château since 2001, has decided to open it to the public.

Official site of Château de Groussay


Friday 22 June 2007

Getting there

By train

SNCF trains to Houdan or Dreux, stopping at Montfort-l’Amaury-Méré, leave Gare de Montparnasse (Banlieu) three times in the morning on weekdays, once on Saturday and twice on Sunday. Note that Grandes Lignes trains to Dreux from Montparnasse do not stop at Montfort.The last train back to Paris is at approximately 10 30 pm on Sundays and at around 7 pm the rest of the week. Taxi from the station to Montfort : tel 06 09 10 49 72 The schedule of trains

By bus

Bus Gare Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines - Montfort l'Amaury center Line 05 Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines -Les Mesnuls Site line 05

By car

Motorway (autoroute) A13, then A12 and N12 (Dreux).


Thursday 21 June 2007


Traditional kitchen

Photo M.K.

LA TREILLE : restaurant traditional kitchen

16, place Robert Brault
Opened every day except Sunday evening.

LA PLACE : Rôtisserie, grill, salon de thé

7, place de la Libération
Closed Thursday evening and Sunday evening .

Kitchen of the world

Photo M.K.

TRATTORIA PASTA FOLIE'S : fast-food, Italian restaurant

40 Rue de Paris
e-mail :
Closed sunday and monday.

DROLE DE GALETTE : pancake house

22 Rue de Paris
Closed Monday.

Ô MILLEPATE : Italien restaurant , salon de thé.

9, place de la Libération
Closed Monday and Sunday and Wendesday evenings.

CHI FAN : Chinese and Thai specialites . Таке away.

2, place de la Libération
Closed Monday midday

LANA THAÏ RESTAURANT : Genuine Thai kitchen

16, place Robert Brault on place or take away
Closed Monday evening and Tuesday

Brasseries, coffees, bar with wines, salon de thé

Photo M.K.

LE TABAC DU COQ : salads, sandwiches

44, rue de Paris

BISTROT DES TOURS : Quick restoration and salon de thé

3, Place de la Libération
Closed Monday.

CAFE DE LA POSTE : Salads, toasted ham and cheese sandwich, special dish of the day …

16, place Robert Brault
Closed Thursday.

L’ATELIER BOUTEILLE : bar with wines

26, rue de Paris
Plate Basque meat products, cheese, wine in tasting
Closed Monday and Tuesday.

HISTOIRE DE SAVEURS : Salon de thé, salads, quiches, pies…

28, rue de Paris
Closed Sunday and Monday



Photo M.K.
Montfort is one of those well-kept medieval towns that seems too good to be true. Its narrow streets of picturesque houses are built on the slopes of a citadel crowned by the ruined walls of a castle and encircled by the remnants of medieval ramparts. A stately church dominates the town centre, its clock chiming the quarters, and the shops cater for residents with leisure and taste.

Many of them are Parisians who own second homes in and around Montfort. Perhaps the best-known resident was the composer Maurice Ravel, whose house has been turned into an eerie museum, preserved exactly as it was when he died in 1937. A later resident, the film director Henri Georges Clouzot, made Montfort the setting for two of this films, and until quite recently the Auberge de la Moutière restaurant was a favourite venue for fashionable Parisians.

But there is more to Montfort than its picture-postcard charm and its artistic residents.

It is a story of violence, constant adaptation and triumphant continuity; and it begins with the Roman road from Beauvais to Chartres, which crosses the town from north to south before entering the Forest of Rambouillet. The hill overlooking this strategic route was fortified in 996 on the orders of Robert the Pious, son of the Hugues Capet, the first king of France. The village became a fortress (Mont Fort) with a castle surrounded y ramparts, its defence entrusted to the descendants of the builder, who became Counts of Montfort.

Amaury, the first of these, gave the town its name, and founded a dynasty which included Simon IV de Montfort (1165-1218), notorious for his brutal leadership of the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars in the South of France. His defeat of the heretics enabled Louis VIII to add the Earldom of Toulouse to the expanding kingdom of France. His son, Simon V de Montfort (1192-1265) married the sister of Henry III of England and is credited with the founding, of the first English parliament in opposition to his brother-in-law. The 700th anniversary of this event was celebrated in Montfort with grate pomp in 1965. in fact, the history of the rulers of Montfort is so entangled with the fortunes of the Capetien kings of France and the Plantagenets of England that it is difficult to separate them. What does emerge is the fragility of the French kingdom, constantly threatened by unruly vassals and with invasions by the English, themselves descendants of a powerful neighbour, William of Normandy. As the Plantagenets were linked by marriage to the Montfort family, both the king of England and the king of France laid claim to Montfort in the 14th century and a lengthy war ensued, during which the castle and most of the ramparts were razed by the English. Two fragments of the castle walls are all that remain. Through an earlier connection by marriage with the rulers of Brittany, Montfort eventually passed to Anne de Bretagne (1477-1514), whose subsequent marriages to two French kings definitively established the town as part of the kingdom of France.

Photo M.K.
The ruined tower on the hilltop was part of the Renaissance château built by Anne de Bretagne, who also began the enlargement of the 11th-century church. A second set of ramparts was built in the 16th century at the instigation of Charles IX, who promised the town a charter of independence in return. It became an important administrative centre for the region, which included the Forest of Montfort (it became Rambouillet under Napoleon I) and the little village of Versailles.

However, the expansion of Versailles under Louis XIV led to a decline in the importance of Montfort, which passed to the Duc de Luynes. During the Revolution the 11th-century chapel on the hill was requisitioned from the magistrate to whom it had been sold off, for use as a prison for the Chouans – participants in the counter-revolutionary uprising led by Jean Chouan in the Vendée from 1793 to 1800. they died there of starvation in conditions so atrocious that the owner had it demolished after the fall of Robespiere in 1794, so that such scenes could never be repeated in Montfort. Under Napoleon the administration of the district was transferred to Rambouillet and Montfort suffered the further indignity of occupation after the French defeat at Waterloo in 1815. the occupation was presumably by the Prussians – the local history in understandably vague on this point.

Photo M.K.
In the 19th century the 16th-century ramparts were demolished, in the mistaken belief that the population would continue to expand. Montfort’s popularity with artists and writers dates from this period, Victor Hugo’s Romantic poem to its ruined castle setting the fashion, which has continued to the present day.

From Annabel Simms "An Hour From Paris"
Official site