The restoration of Pierrefonds Castle is nearing completion

The renovation project at the Château de Pierrefonds (Oise) is coming to an end. Its emblematic Salle des Preuses, closed to visitors for more than two years, will reopen its doors for the summer season even if it will be necessary to wait until next fall for all the scaffolding to be dismantled.

Initiated in January 2022, the work was entrusted to Pierre Bortolussi, chief architect of historic monuments. The project focused on the restoration of the Preuses wing and its adjoining towers, the Alexandre tower and the Godefroy de Bouillon tower. Numerous alterations had appeared in this part of the fortress, which had not undergone any major restoration for more than one hundred and fifty years. The sculpted stone facades had deteriorated significantly under the influence of time and bad weather. The painted decorations of the Salle des Preuses – a vast room 52 meters long and 12 meters high – had also deteriorated due to the poor waterproofing of the roof and the movement of the metal frame, which expands and contracts in response to temperature variations.

Restoration project for the vaults of the Salle des Preuses at the Château de Pierrefonds.

© Benjamin Gavaudo / CMN

“We had to remove the roof, restore the frame and the vault from the outside, but also restore the latter from the inside” explains Xavier Bailly, general administrator of the Château de Pierrefonds, to Actu Oise. “We are currently in the process of restoring the facade on the courtyard side, whose very rich decor needed to be redone”. Once the project is completed, some interventions in the Preuses room will still be necessary during the year 2025, particularly in terms of its decorations and its fireplace, the decoration of which (nine female figures with chivalrous attributes) gives its name to the room. piece.

The cost of the project amounted to 8.7 million euros, of which 2 million were granted to the Center des monuments nationaux (which manages the Pierrefonds site) as part of the European recovery plan.

Despite the closure of part of the site during the work, the Château de Pierrefonds recorded its attendance record with more than 160,000 visitors in 2023.

Located in the Oise near Compiègne, the Pierrefonds castle was built at the end of the 14th century under the leadership of Louis d'Orléans, son of King Charles V, who made it a strategic place to defend Paris against invasions. Burgundian and English. Dismantled under Louis XIII, the fortress was doomed to ruin before being transformed into an imperial residence by Napoleon III, who entrusted its restoration to the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1857.

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