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History of the château de Villaines

Built on the ruins of a 12th-century feudal castle in the mid-seventeenth century, the château de Villaines has been neither modified nor extended since. Spared by the French Revolution, it was sold in 1776 by the last remaining member of the Gaignon family, who had been the owners of the Villaines estate for four centuries, to the marquis d’Aulx who gave it his own name.

In the late 19th century the château d’Aulx was purchased by the comte de Gramedo, who restored its original name – château de Villaines.

Towards the end of the First World War, the American army set up a training centre for military chaplains in the château. Many hundreds of chaplains were trained there before returning to the front.
Between the two wars the château was the centre of intense cultural activity, and was the subject of several engravings by Jean-Emile Laboureur. After being occupied by German troops as early as 1940, Villaines was liberated in July 1944, and some traces of the fighting can still be seen on the façade.

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