Artistic and cultural works of Pierre-Georges Latécoère
Artistic and cultural works
of Pierre-Georges Latécoère
Château " Le Coudray-Montpensier ", restored
A brief history of Le Coudray-Montpensier château
The name "Le Coudray-Montpensier" appears to refer to trees commonly found in local forests: Coudray probably comes from ’coudrier’ and ’coudraie’, meaning ’common hazel’ (Corylus avellana) and ’hazel grove’.
The château itself dates back to the Middle Ages. From the 12th century on, the property was owned by a series of aristocratic families, including the de Montsoreau, de Marmande, de Sainte-Maure, and d’Artois.
In the 14th century, during the Hundred Years War, Le Coudray-Montpensier was a fine fortress with a drawbridge, moats and barbicans. For its defence and guard, it had a castellan and yeomen from the surrounding country who were mustered as the fortunes of war required.
Pierre-Georges Latécoère acquired the property in 1930 and soon embarked on an exemplary restoration.
Le Coudray-Montpensier, now very run down indeed, found itself in the hands of an industrialist — a builder in his own right. Under Latécoère’s watchful and determined eye, work began on the buildings and, at the same time, on formal French gardens. All works were carefully coordinated and managed like clockwork.
Latécoère admired the gardens at Rigny-Ussé and Villandry, including the former’s parterres and gentle slopes leading down to the river lndre. For Le Coudray-Montpensier, he drew up the plans himself, including the layout of each parterre. He read widely and made careful notes, drawings and sketches to produce full-color plans. Only boxwood was used for border edges and parterre designs to heighten the contrast with multicolour flowerbeds combining rosettes, teardrops and other patterns.
Pierre-Georges Latécoère died in August 1943 in Paris, never to see his beloved Le Coudray-Montpensier again.
Département de Paris
Direction de la Construction et du logement
17, Boulevard Morland 75181 Paris cedex 04
Les Amis du Coudray-Montpensier et des Jardins Latécoère (A.C.M.J. Latécoère), a not-for-profit association, was set up on 20 October 1993 to preserve, restore and promote the architectural ensemble and site of Le Coudray-Montpensier (Seuilly) and, especially, the gardens designed by
Several site components have been recorded in France’s supplementary inventory of historical monuments (Inventaire Supplémentaire des Monuments Historiques):
9 July 1926: Le Coudray-Montpensier château
28 April 1994: terraced gardens, forecourt and two gate lodges
17 February 1995: drawbridge and ditches, lodge, two outbuildings, old orchard, park and avenue Seuilly.
The perspectives are less clearly defined; the alignments and parterres are overgrown with weeds and shrubs, masking the garden’s original design.Propriétaire actuel
The formal gardens at Le Coudray-Montpensier
as P-G Latécoère knew them (left) and now (right)
Strolling through the gardens, one quickly realizes that they are only a shadow of what they once were. With the master gone, all that remains is the grace and an uncertain balance between the nature of art and the art of nature. As I come to the end of this presentation of the gardens, my thoughts turn to Pierre-Georges Latécoère and the thought he expressed so neatly when he wrote: "I have done the calculations over and over. It won’t work. Which means there’s only one thing to do: build it and make it work!"
Dominique Franchet d’Espèrey, President of A.C.M.J. Latécoère.
For further information concerning A.C.M.J. Latécoère,
contact: Mme Dominique Franchet d’Espèrey
La Métayrie de l’Abbaye 37500, Seuilly,France
Tel: +33(0)2 47 95 94 79