Laye constitutes a protected property, registered in the additional inventory of the French National Historic Monuments and is a member of Vieilles Maisons Françaises (VMF) and la Demeure Historique (DH). The Fleurieu represent for the French Society of Cincinnati, Count Charles-Pierre Claret de Fleurieu, minister of the Navy under King Louis XVI. Prior to this position, he organized the campaign of the French fleet which took part, under de Grasse’s Command, in the US War of Independance. The Fleurieu are also members of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, and are always delighted to welcome Americans to Laye.
One century after the construction of the house, the landscape disigner Paul de Choulot layed out the formal gardens « à la française », in a romantic park, melting into the agricultural landscape. It covers almost fifty acres and is spread out around an ornamental canal. The park is well-preserved according to the original plan, and completed by an arboretum and botanical plantations.
The original building dates back to the middle-ages. Remaining from that period are the vaulted halls supported by stone pillars which form the basis of the present house built in the XVIIIth century (1740) by the Marquis d’Espinay. The Fleurieu family succeeded him in 1830.
The sober architecture of Laye reflects the influence of Germain Soufflot, architect of King Louis XV, who at that time came back from Italy and worked in the nearby town of Lyon.
The most interesting rooms in the architectural point of view are :
• The main grand hall, the size of wich will take you aback, showing a trompe- l’œil ceiling with arebasques, roses and pearls, greek frets in a grey camaïeu.
• A classical Louis XVI drawing room.
• The music room, Louis XV, is remarquable for its finely sculptured wood-panels gilded with gold leaf.
The restoration of this drawing room was partly possible thanks to a participation of the American society of Friends of Vieilles Maisons Françaises of Baltimore, Washington DC Chapter, 1993.
Thomas Jefferson spent five years in France. He was sent there by George Washington to represent American interests at the court of Louis XVI. He under- took many study trips. In March 1787, he came to our area, and stayed in Laye from March 7th to 9th 1787[he relates his visit in a letter to madame de Tessé, La Fayette’s aunt]. He was interested in the wine production which remains a tradi- tion in Laye. Jefferson appreciated the wooden floor of the classical drawing room so much that he copied dimensions and pattern for the visiting room in Monticello, his Virginian home. Dimensions and pattern are the same, but the wood that has been used is different. As a reminder of his stay in Laye, a winebar is dedicated to him in the oldest part of the house.TripAdvisor property ID 3371442...Read more
Laye is situated in Beaujolais, at 430 km south-east of Paris, 35 km north of Lyon. The Beaujolais, well known for its fruited wines, stretches out to the south of Burgundy, between the plain of the river SaoĚ‚ne and the hills of Beaujolais.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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