elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Queer Places: Château de Coppet

Address: Château de Coppet, 1296 Coppet, Switzerland

Jacques Necker, famous finance minister of Louis XV, led a very brilliant life at the Chateau de Coppet. His wife had died near Lausanne on May 6, 1794, and he remained alone with their children in Coppet. At his death in 1804, although the Vaud Revolution abolished feudal rights related to the barony, his heirs were in favor of a massive fortune.
The castle went to his daughter and heiress Germaine Necker, who married in 1786 Baron Erik Magnus de Stael-Holstein, ambassador of the King of Sweden in France, elder by 17 years, then remarried at age 45, to Mr de Rocca, a 20 years her junior officer, from whom she had a son, Alphonse de Rocca. Germaine, better known under the name of Madame de Stael, contributed greatly to the fame of the castle with her literary activity, by bringing together in this house the Coppet Group, the intellectual European elite of the time.

On February 15, 1816, her daughter Albertine (1797-1838) married in Livorno diplomat and statesman Victor de Broglie, 3rd Duke de Broglie. On the death of Germaine de Stael the following year, Coppet passes to his son Louis-Auguste which died in 1827, and then to his son, died in infancy, and then to his widow, blood relative to the Geneva theologian Jacob Vernet - known for his involvement with Rousseau and Voltaire – and finally in 1876 to Louise-Albertine de Broglie (1818-1882), wife of Joseph Othenin Count of d'Haussonville who bequeathed it to her daughter; her progeny still own it.
Germaine de Staël hardly brought modifications to the buildings. She gave the castle in 1809 to his son Louis-Auguste de Stael (1790-1827) who in 1816 asked the carpenter Samuel Chouet of establishing a remarkable Empire library and develops its field by raising (in a very modern style at the time) a new lodge porter in 1820-1822, and creating on its land an English inspired experimental farm, soon known internationally in agronomique’s environments.
The building is registered as a Swiss cultural property of national importance. Private property open to the public, it is maintained since 2004 by an association (Association of Friends of Coppet) charged both of the "conservation and enhancement of Coppet Castle Park" and of the organization of various events. Since 2003, the European Institute of the University of Geneva has installed in the castle its archives. Since 2013, part of the castle is for hosting business seminars.

The Passionate Exiles, A Dual Biography of Madame de Stael and Madame Recamier, by Maurice Levaillant, tells their intimate friendship. The liberal and pan-Germanic views of Madame de Stael resulted in her exile in Switzerland. Juliette Recamier, married to Jacques-Rose Recamier, 30 years her senior, was left financially ruined when his husband sustained heavy financial losses in 1805, and was likewise forced to flee the country. She visited Madame de Stael at Coppet in Switzerland. At Coppet the two women carried on their incomparably entangled love affairs: the son of Madame de Stael, with her approval, becomes one of Jullette's intsest suitors, while Madame de Stael seeks to conceal the birth of an illegitimate child.

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