Before the French Revolution the property of “Les Charmettes” was called “The Brewery”. The oldest document we found about the estate was dated in 1589. It was the home of the Count of Condren then.

The description of the deed of sale gives us the impression that nothing has changed in the park since then. The property must be older, but we don’t know very much about the years before 1589.

The cousin of Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas is one of the greatest and most famous writers in France. He was the author of “The Three Musketeers”, “Twenty Years After”, “The Vicomte de Bragelonne” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”. He lived in Villers-Cotterêts nearby Largny. He was often a visitor at Les Charmettes, because his uncle, Father Jacques Conseil, had been living there since 1793.

Alexandre Dumas wrote in his memories about Father Jacques Conseil and the little valley of the Brewery. Father Jacques Conseil made a big fortune at the court of King Louis XV and King Louis XVI as teacher or tutor of the royal children.
He was pastor of the local church of Largny before the Revolution and became mayor of the village afterwards. Alexandre Dumas wrote about the estate as
a charming house in a picturesque garden.
So it is still today.

Auguste Castellant: an admirer of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Auguste Castellant

After 1823 the estate became the property of the Irish family O’Rian and later the families Guay and Moutonnet-Joly, before it was acquired by the editor, writer and philosopher Auguste Castellant in 1891.

He changed the name of the estate into “Les Charmettes”.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

At that time the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau seemed to be forgotten. Three persons have worked their whole lives to save the great philosopher from oblivion: the Marquis de Gérardin, Memo and … Auguste Castellant.

Auguste Castellant wrote two books and many papers about Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

He commanded and inaugurated statues in Asnières, Montmorency, Ermenonville and in his own garden. He organized big parties to remember Rousseau. Some of the parties took place in his garden. Mostly there were more than 400 persons present. Several newspapers at that time reported on these important Rousseau manifestations at Les Charmettes in Largny.

The garden

Auguste Castellant by the Temple of the Nature

The restoration of the estate started in 2004. In 2008 the estate was listed as a historic monument.

The park of Les Charmettes of Largny-sur-Automne is very romantic and probably one of the most secret gardens of France. The visitor can discover in the park different monuments like a temple dedicated to Nature, a temple of Philosophy, caves, sources, a burial monument, a little river, a pond and several statues of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Some of them were built especially as a decoration for the 19th century garden parties and are still there after more than 100 years.

It seems to be a wonder that the estate is still there as a whole with all its original elements. Nothing seems to have changed. When you visit Les Charmettes of Largny it is like a journey back in time.

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