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Origins and history



The first lord of La Ferté-Vidame mentioned in records was Hugo de la Ferteia in 985. It was probably he who had the first fortress built on the site of the current ruined château. Several lords succeeded each other during the Middle Ages, including the families of Vendôme and Ferrières. During the religious wars, the château became the property of a protestant horbeau: Préjean de Lafin. At the end of the troubled period, the estate returned to the Comtesse de Soisson.



In 1635, Claude de Rouvroy de Ruffec, Duke of Saint-Simon moved into the château. When he died his son, Louis de Rouvroy, Duke of Saint-Simon, inherited the estate. We owe to the Saint-Simon family the construction of the Saint-Nicolas church as well as the stables (today called "petit château").

In 1764, Jean-Joseph De Laborde bought the estate. He had the medieval building demolished to build a palace, whose monumental ruins can still be seen. He called on Antoine Mathieu le Carpentier to create the building and he also developped the huge French-style park.

Furthermore, he was forced to sell his property to the Duke of Bourbon Penthièvre (grandson of Louis XIV). The French Revolution resulted in the property falling into the hands of the revolutionary Jean Cardo Villiers who dismantled the château and sold everything that could be sold.

In 1830, the château of La Ferté-Vidame became the property of Louis-Phillipe, King of France. Unable to rebuild the château, he enlarged the outbuildings to make the "petit château" his second home.

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Sold after the death of Louis-Philippe, King of France, it was not until 1870 that the estate had a new owner. Passionate about hunting, Léon de Dorlodot stayed there for 10 years. Sold to Mr. Charles Laurent and then inherited by his son Roger, the king's pack of hunting dogs was able to settle there.

In  the 1920s the Laurent family sold the estate to Christian Viljeux who subsequently sold part of it to the car manufacturers, Citroën. The 900 hectares of park became Citroën’s official test centre and still remains so today. As for the remaining hectares of the estate, it was not until the 1990s that the General Council of Eure-et-Loir became the owner and participated in its improvement.

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