The “Clos des Fées” castle in the French municipality of Saint-Jouin-Bruneval, whose current condition is the result of a fire in the 1990s, still looks like a ghostly movie set. That is soon to change. Albert Besnard was one of the leading French Impressionist painters in the 19th century and a graduate of the famous Académie de France à Rome. His son Louis, who was also active as an artist, became mayor of Saint-Jouin-Bruneval at the beginning of the 20th century and, thanks to his father’s fortune, had this impressive monument erected in 1902.
This was to attract famous Parisian personalities to the Atlantic coast on special occasions. The “Clos des Fées” – named after a former nunnery – became one of the hottest meeting places of fine society. From the 1930s, the castle was again taken over by a community of nuns, who ran a vacation home for young girls here until the end of the 1970s. After that, the building passed into private ownership. The renovation work that had been started was not continued after the fire.
Now the municipality succeeded in acquiring the abandoned castle from the private owner. The property is to become part of a new future project for the small coastal community. To this end, several apartments are to be built in the castle, along with other facilities in consultation with the citizens. The declared goal is to preserve the silhouette of the dominant main part and to make the interior “contemporary”.