The old world, the fledgling nation, the castle and the Mayor #1

[Feuilleton] On December 15, the Magcentre resumed the revelations in Le Canard Enchainé about the resignation of Marie Lajus, mayor of Indre et Loire, dismissed without prior notice by the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin. Since then, from letters to petitions of support, the case has gained national dimension, as this decision without official explanation seems shocking with respect to republican laws in the region. We return here to this case with a well-documented investigation in the form of a Christmas soap opera within the region’s power machine.

Château Louise de la Vallière Wikipedia

Since December 7, Touraine’s political class has been buzzing with rumors about the departure of the Mayor of Indre-et-Loire, Ms. Marie Lajus, who arrived in Tours just over two years ago. Funny sequence that causes great commotion, the press, in addition to the New Republic, noted the shocking nature of this hasty departure. Senator Nicole Bonnefoy of Charentes openly defended Ms. Lajus asking Mr. Darmanin, followed locally by Mr. Franck Gagnaire, Secretary of PS37. An online petition was also presented by a popular education association in support of the Mayor who had left good memories in her previous functions, namely when assuming legalism and social scope for her performance as a representative of the State.

It is difficult to have a precise idea of ​​the real reasons for Mrs. Lajus, so much off-the-record information circulates, but in any case Le Canard Enchaîné will have had the merit of shedding light on the current project at the Château Louise de la Vallière located in Reugny.

Chapter 1

It all starts with love at first sight

The fairy tale begins in 2018, when Mira Grebenstein visits the Château Louise de la Vallière, for sale for 1.5 million euros, and which she immediately tells her husband about” let’s look no further, we don’t need to visit the interiors, it’s him that I want (…) this house chose me. As soon as I saw him, I knew that I would give him all my heart, my passion, that I would restore this place to its majesty and its letters of nobility. “. After so much passion encompassed by the NR, everything went very quickly and the couple thus acquired the 941m² castle with its more than forty rooms and its 19 ha estate which includes many remarkable trees, French gardens, a swimming pool, a orangery and some other small pleasures.

The following year, Mira Grebenstein announced that she was going to create a luxury hotel there – “ the dream of a lifetime -, she who “andGraduated from the largest hotel management schools in Switzerland “, a reference. And in the autumn of 2022, on October 25, the grand opening day finally arrives after four exhausting years and more than 13 million euros spent, where every morning, Mrs. Grebenstein” is there at 9 am for the briefing with the craftsmen, masons, carpenters, carpenters, electricians, carpenters (…) , each lamp already has its place in his mind 🇧🇷

What a personal night!

Everyone is there for opening night, even Parisian social media via Say Who, who post pictures of the wonderful reception. There we meet François Sarkozy, the brother of a doctor who went through the pharmaceutical industry and Aventis to end up in consultancy, namely at Publicis. There is Jean-Pascal Hesse, director of communication for Pierre Cardin and elected Les Républicains in Paris, Frédéric Bouilleux, deputy general manager of the Château de Chambord, Yves Mirande, communication consultant and design expert, especially in the specialized press. Let’s not forget Fabien Vallérian, director of arts and culture at Ruinart, famous champagne house, Amin Jaffer, international director of the Asian arts department at Christie’s and Marie-Christine Clément, gastronomy expert and member of the Board of Directors (CA) of Relais et Châteaux, which lists charming residences and important restaurants and publishes an annual guide. On the artists’ side, of course, we have the Italian decorator Nicola Pelucchi and especially the cult Jacques Garcia, the ” king of decorators 🇧🇷

The Mansart foundation and the château-business

Jacques Garcia, obviously very famous and influential, is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Mansart Foundation, an association that aims to ” preserve and bring to life heritage of great interest, historical or contemporary: natural and landscape sites, historic or architectural sites, collections and museums “. Of course, ” the foundation’s first wish is to preserve heritage in a sustainable way, in order to pass on quality goods preserved in their integrity to future generations “. Rightly invited to the evening are Alexis Robin, Director General of the Mansart Foundation, who is also a collaborator of Senator LR de Eure-et-Loir Albéric de Montgolfier. Mr. Robin is also Deputy Mayor LR de Maintenon, responsible for Heritage. There is also Audrey de Montgolfier, the senator’s daughter. She works at the foundation and writes novels to bring to life the memory of old forgotten castles such as Bagatelle and Maintenon. It should also be noted that since 2019 the president of the Mansart foundation is none other than Albéric de Montgolfier himself who, as a castellan in the south of France, has long been aware of the difficulties encountered by lovers of heritage.

The effective presence of so many members of the Mansart Foundation is not by chance, it is a whole concept of safeguarding the heritage that is being advanced in this way. In 1983, the owners of Château de Maintenon in Eure-et-Loir bequeathed the building and land to an association they created and which would become the Mansart Foundation. In 2005, the latter transferred to the Departmental Council of Eure-et-Loir (CD28) the management, maintenance, operation and animation of the Château. At the time, the president of CD28 was… Albéric de Montgolfier. It should be noted that in 1988 a golf course was created in part of the property park, resold since 2019 to a Chinese investor. At the same time, starting in 2012, a four-star hotel project was created in another area of ​​the park, immediately adjacent to the castle and very close to the golf course. It is Jean-Marc de Margerie, trained in Swiss hospitality, from the Taittinger group and former manager of Parisian palaces, who invests in this ambitious project that will take a few years to materialize and will cause many to run the ink. , in particular because of the use of a Bulgarian box to compress the expenses of the place, an impolite box that did not honor wages or housing rents for the workers. It should also be noted that the renovation of the castle’s stables, which are partially integrated into the hotel project, had aroused the emotions of the architect of buildings in France, but look, everything quickly returned to normal. It should be remembered that this exploration plan, which combined heritage conservation with the support of public entities and the diversification of businesses around the castle, this time by private agents, is important for the future…

The Château de Maintenon emblazoned with the monogram of Louis XIV before the hotel was built

To be continued…

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