To live in a French chateau: It’s a dream many Americans have nurtured since the late 18th century, when Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson thoroughly enjoyed themselves on assignment in Paris. Despite the challenges, the dream endures, and among its most enthusiastic adherents are Matthew Meehan and Rod Hildebrant, life-long antiques collectors and partners of The HighBoy.
Since 2004, this dynamic couple have been the proud and attentive owners of their own slice of French history, Chateau Le Pavillon. Located in Normandy on the edge of Louviers, a town overlooking the Eure river, Chateau Le Pavillon is one of two houses built in the 1780s by an aristocrat for his two grown sons.
Upon walking past the estate’s massive wrought iron gates, one’s first impression is of orderly grandeur. Fostered by the geometric plantings and cool stone and slate surfaces of the house, this effect is sustained as one climbs the steps to the foyer de reception, where the couple welcome their guests.
When they arrived, Meehan and Hildebrant found the property in rough shape, so they engaged landscape designer Michel Laurent, who had recently worked at the palace of Versailles. The front of the house is graced by formal plantings featuring topiaries trimmed three times per year. Behind the house are more “romantic” plantings focused on two alleys and culminating in a Japanese water garden. A magnificent blue heron is sometimes spotted landing there to snack on some of its 3,500 koi fish. Dotting the entire landscape are handsome neoclassical figures, including Diana the huntress, and Dionysus with a Lion. A beautiful rose garden features four color quadrants and looks its best in early June.
Enjoy a self-guided virtual tour through Le Pavillon’s gardens, they just might inspire you.
From an article that previously appeared in Fine Art Connoisseur, read the complete article here.