The first person to build at the Vallée-aux-Loups was André—Arnoult Acloque, a brewer and soldier of the national guard who wanted to live closer to his uncle. He built a small one-storey house there, but was forced to sell up with the fall of the monarchy in 1792.
Retreating from Paris (as he'd wished for a few years before) after an article in the Mercure de France, in which he compared Napoleon to Nero, François—René de Chateaubriand and his wife Céleste bought La Vallée-aux-Loups in 1807 pretty much as Aclocque had left it. Chateaubriand began transforming the former inhabitant's 'gardener's house', and this is what it looks like today.
The portico with caryatids, recalling Chateaubriand's journey to Greece.
Aclocque had built a pavilion in the grounds, which Chateaubriand named 'Tour Velléda' from his book Les Martyrs. It is here that he began Mémoires d'Outre—Tombe.
Chateaubriand also occupied himself with the garden, which he wanted to serve as a memory of the places he'd visited. This was essentially an English garden, with for instance cedars reminding him of the east and catalpas of North America. Above is a cedar planted by him.
Above is an example of a very well preserved 18th century ice house with an underground tank 5.5 meters across and six meters in depth, giving 150 tonnes of ice.
The La Rochefoucauld wing. After Montmorency died in 1826, it became his daughter Elizabeth's, who was married to Sosthènes de la Rochefoucauld, Duke of Doudeauville, who appears to be best known for the mockery he received by lengthening the skirts of dancers at the Opéra and for puritanically covering up the particular anatomical parts of statues that obviously offended him. A digression: that has no direct relation to the La Rochefoucauld wing.
Sosthènes's property passed to his two sons in 1841, although it wasn't until 1849 that 'Sosthènes II' fully came to the property as the single owner of it. A rich and very active social networker of the day, Sosthènes' II soon added a wing on the opposite side to the Montmorency wing, sandwiching Chateaubriand's original property.
The house was opened to the public in 1987.
This plaque lists the works Chateaubriand wrote while he lived here between 1807 and 1818.
VÉCVT ICI DE 1807 À 1818
ORNA LA DEMEVRE
PLANTA LE PARC
L'ITINÉRAIRE DE PARIS À JÉRVSALEM
LE DERNIER ABÉCÉNERAGE
COMMENCA LES ÉTVDES HISTORIQUES
LES MÉMOIRES D'OVTRE-TOMBE'
'LA VALLÉE-AVX-LOUPS, DE TOVTES
LES CHOSES QVI ME SON ÉCHAPPÉES,
EST LA SEVLE CHOSE QVE JE REGRETTE'