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The history of the Chateau and the Golf de La Cordelière



    The area of “la Maison Rouge” also called “Vendue aux Cordeliers” evokes a portion of forest belonging to the Franciscan community commonly called Cordeliers, hence the name of La Cordelière.


   In 1591, Guillaume Hennequin de Vaubercey and his second wife Catherine Mauroy, became the very first owners of this estate, which then went to their daughter, Catherine Hennequin and her husband, Sébastien de la Ruelle, gentleman of the great Falconry of the King.


    Nicolas Parent, born in Chaource on June 24, 1744, king's lawyer in Troyes, received him as an inheritance. In 1780, he had a castle built, which he baptized “la Cordelière”, the one currently known as “la petite Cordelière”, a typical 18th century castle.    


    Nicolas took the oath of the Jeu de Paume on June 20, 1789. He died guillotined under the Terror on February 4, 1794, under the fallacious pretext of conspiring against the freedom and safety of the French people (he was wrongly accused of having hidden from the royalists in the forest of Chaource.    


    Her sister, Françoise, died as well as her daughter, in August 1802, in the collapse of the ceiling of the house that she and her husband had just built in the heart of Chaource: the current town hall of Chaource. In 1833, the latter's son, Frédéric Louis Micheau, became the new owner of La Cordelière. He was general councilor, Knight of Malta and appointed Count Micheau de Chassy by the Grand Duke of Tuscany.   


    In 1852, the estate returned to her daughter Aurélie-Louise who married Count Gabriel Chandon de Briailles, owner of the wines of Champagne Moët and Chandon. They had two sons: René born in 1853 and Frédéric in 1858.       .


    After the death of his parents (in 1868 and 1873), Frédéric stayed at la petite Cordelière, with his grandparents and became Viscount Chandon de Briailles.


    Very simple and very popular, he gave big parties at La Cordelière where the local population was invited. During the winter of 1891, to occupy the men deprived of work because of the harsh winter conditions, he had a magnificent ice castle built on a tiny island in the middle of a pond. Later, around 1895-1900, he had a two-storey chalet built, high and narrow, in the same place, a sort of miniature castle covered with thatch and surmounted by a turret. The castle was connected to the shore by a footbridge. The chalet is still visible on the pond located on the other side of the departmental road along the golf course.


    In memory of his mother Louise Micheau, Frédéric Chandon de Briailles endowed the church of Chaource with an altar dedicated to Saint François de Sales, erected in the chapel on the right side where their family bench is located.  

    After his marriage to Odette de Fontenay (from the Château de Vaux), he had a vast and magnificent Renaissance-style château built in 1892, opposite the Petite Cordelière, surrounded by a park with a formal garden. It is the current Club-house.



After his marriage to Odette de Fontenay (from the Château de Vaux), he had a vast and magnificent Renaissance-style château built in 1892, opposite the Petite Cordelière, surrounded by a park with a formal garden. It is the current Club-house.


  Four statues of nymphs placed in the center of flower beds, embellished the space between the two residences. Today, this space is the putting green.


    In November 1900, the inauguration of the castle gave rise to great celebrations to which the population of Chaource was invited. These celebrations ended with a marvelous fireworks display representing, as a final bouquet, the crown of the viscount.


    Frédéric succeeded as mayor to Baron de Damoiseau of the Chaource Band in 1896, a position he kept until his death in 1918 after an interruption from 1904 to 1908 due to a dispute over the secular school. 

Mobilized in 1914, as Artillery Captain, Knight of the Legion of Honor, he inherited the title of Count from his brother René, who died in 1917. Frédéric died on June 25, 1918 as a result of the war.


     The Count had 4 children: François (1892-1953), Henri (1898-1937), Hervé (1900-1954) and Jehanne (1902-1947)


    The castle was inhabited by the eldest, Count François. He married in 1917 Louise Archdeacon of the castle of Chevrey in Yonne, daughter of a deputy from Paris, but, shortly after, their marriage was annulled.


    François Chandon de Briailles was mayor of Chaource from 1922 until his death in 1953, district councilor before 1940, general councilor from 1947 to 1953. The Count devoted a great deal of time to heraldry, literature, numismatics and archeology. Every year in March, he left to excavate in Syria.


   This cultivated and popular man, like his father, was arrested in 1944 and deported for 11 months to Germany at the Neuengamme camp. Do the real reasons for his deportation relate to his affiliation to a Resistance network or to his situation as a squire and a public figure?  He did not return to La Cordelière until August 1945, his health deteriorated. During his absence, the castle had been occupied by a German general staff who had taken advantage of their stay to empty the cellars full of Moët and Chandon champagne!


    Count François died in February 1953, without descendants. The Chaourçois keep of this original and affable man, a grateful memory for all that he brought to the city and to the population. We remember in particular, that on Good Friday, he allowed young people wanted by the Germans to hide in the steeple of the church, that he saved the life of a photographer, that he obtained forged papers. to the young people appointed for the STO, that he lodged wounded resistance fighters in the basements of the castle.


    Honorary President of the Union Sportive Chaourçoise, François Chandon had made his pond available to the club for  the practice of swimming. In fine weather, every evening at five o'clock, young people from Chaource and the surrounding area went to the Cordelière pond, to learn to swim, under the supervision of the instructor Henri Robert. On summer Sundays, the pond became a very popular place to walk. Every year, it was the setting for a great nautical festival, swimming competitions, nautical jousting, flower-filled perishable competitions.


    François Chandon de Briailles was buried, alongside members of his family, in the chapel of the property he had built. It is a Gothic-style chapel whose windows are copied from those of the Chaource church and the spire from that of the hospice.


    The castle returned by will to Count Hervé who died a year later. In this will, some of the staff received almost as much as some of the count's nieces.


    In 1954 therefore, it was Frédéric, son of Hervé, and last of the name, who inherited the property. He then owned the famous Moët et Chandon champagne house in Epernay.  As he lived in the castle of Louvois in the Marne, he hardly ever returned to La Cordelière. In May 1957, he organized a large auction. In five days, the important furniture, engravings, porcelain, earthenware, weapons, armor, bronzes, crystal chandeliers were dispersed. The 2000 valuable volumes that made up the Comte François library were also auctioned off and were bitterly disputed between local amateurs and Parisian booksellers for a sum of 500,000F!  





   The Louis XII-style castle, an amalgamation of Gothic and Renaissance, is a building of great and rich appearance in which nothing is left to chance.  


   The foundations of the facades, the chains and the frames of the bays in the basement are made of Pierre-Chêvre rock with rustic blue rubble fillings, a kind of hard limestone peculiar to the region. The steps and balconies are in fine Chamesson stone with steps and shelves in Comblanchien rock. At their upper part, the facades are in Savonnières stone with filling in red Perchois bricks. The balustrades of the steps and balconies, the loggia of the large living room and the dormers of the crown in terracotta, stone tone, constitute an interesting application, both from the point of view of the decorative effect and the sharpness of the edges.


    Through a double staircase on the east facade, you enter the great hall, adorned with hunting trophies and lit by the large stained-glass window (work of the Parisian glassmaker Tamoni). This hall separates the ground floor into two parts: On the right, the reception rooms: dining rooms (Petite Cordelière side), upholstered in Cordoba leather (currently the clubhouse relaxation lounges) and the lounges overlooking the park (currently the Clubhouse bar and restaurant).  



   On the left: the living rooms, apartments of the Mother Countess and her husband, each containing a study and a toilet room. You reach the 1st floor by the main staircase. This floor is divided into twelve guest rooms with wardrobe, bathroom and WC. Hervé and Jehanne's apartments are located in the right wing. The children's bedrooms, the bedroom of Count François in the left wing.   


   On the 2nd floor, five guest antechambers and a study room occupy the southern part while the laundry, the servants' rooms and the attic occupy the opposite part.




    But what makes this castle so special are the elements of modern comfort with which it was provided from the time of construction (1892). We owe this particularity to the architect, Mr. Sauger. Chief architect of the city of Paris and therefore initiated into the needs of modern urban housing, he strove to meet the same conditions of comfort in a large country house.


    Above the cellars dug in the rock, the castle includes a basement, buried by a few steps but whose ceiling is 3 meters above the ground. Also, this floor is widely lit so as to give full satisfaction to the services fitted there: the large kitchen, the pantry, the crockery (place where game is stored), the mulberry tree, the hunting room and weapons, the bathroom and the room of physical culture, the workshop and the laboratory of photography, the dining room of the staff, the coal-fired boilers.


    There are also petroleum engines for supplying water tanks. This makes it possible to have hot water on the floors, all the rooms being equipped with toilets and toilets. Two service stairs (one at each end) and a freight elevator put the basement in communication with the upper floors.


    All floors are equipped with a fire department and a drinking water service which operates using a hydraulic ram. A main sewer was installed thanks to a sewer belt receiving wastewater of all kinds, transporting it to settling chambers before being lost in the surrounding woods.


    To protect the many orange trees that surrounded the castle from the cold, an “orangery” was erected, a long building with large bay windows. The orange trees, but also all the other fragile plants, laurels, roses, palm trees or lemon trees spent the winter there. Their movement was done on rails that were installed for the occasion, in wagons pushed by 8 men.


And now ......


This Renaissance-style castle, inaugurated in 1900, was during the first half of the 20th century, a high place of Chaourçoise life where the Chandons let champagne flow ... Moët et Chandon.


   At the beginning of 1957, Count Frédéric CHANDON DE BRIAILLES, owner of the premises, agreed to lease the estate to the newly created Association Sportive et d'Etudes Agricoles de la Cordelière which gradually transformed the park into a golf course, recognized today hui as one of the most beautiful in France. The property is sold to a Belgian industrialist before the members of the association, through its Section Immobilière created in October 1963, buy back the property.


  The castle now, on the ground floor, has a secretariat, a games and television room, a bar, a lounge, a restaurant and above all the billiard room which crossed the 20th century without giving way to modernity. Its walls hung with pink satin and its heavy purple velvet hangings conjure up the image of an era of pomp and happiness. On the upper floors, at the Petite Cordelière and in the outbuildings, rooms have been fitted out to accommodate the players.


    Thus, of this prestigious estate, only the chapel where their ancestors rest has been preserved by the Chandon de Briailles heirs.


"The Chandon de Briailles family and the Cordelière estate in Chaource" by Roger Barat (published in 1998)  - Article published in the Aube Nouvelle (summer 2000)

Summary prepared by Michel Colin, Annie-Claude Lauvergeat and Laetitia Mialet.

Some of the period photographic documents were kindly provided by Roger Barat. Modern photographic documents and other period photographic documents were kindly made available to us by Madame Béatrice Mialet and Monsieur Michel Colin.


 Birth of the Golf de Troyes - La Cordelière


Golf (Golf de Reims, Aube section) made its appearance in the Aube department in the years 1954 with the CAUZARD and BOULENGER families, following an initiation to golf practiced in LA BAULE.

   Very motivated, they decide to share this budding passion with some Trojan friends. They equip themselves, half bag for four and installation of a practice on the airfield of Barberey.

    The group of enthusiasts who are victims of the "golf" virus is growing and every weekend, a convoy of 8 to 10 cars takes the road to the golf course of Reims (in Gueux) to satisfy this passion; it will last 2 years.

    At the start of 1957 Mr. André MAROT discovered the Domaine de la Cordelière which Count Frédéric CHANDON DE BRIAILLES, owner of the premises, agreed to rent to the newly created Association Sportive et d'Etudes Agricoles de la Cordelière. The ground being found, and the realization of a golf course being decided (05/08/1957) it is necessary to collect the necessary budget from the founding members to then define the future course of the course; this task will be entrusted to a golf architect Mr. Tom SIMSON (who has never seen the course) and to the golf instructor of Fontainebleau, Mr. Joseph HIRIGOYEN, who has solid notions of architecture.

   It is with an indisputable talent that he will realize the route that we know today. The construction of the first 9 holes will start in August 1957 under the energetic direction of Doctor Pierre TORRE, well assisted by a group of volunteer pioneers.

    At the end of 1957, a teacher was hired, Mr. Pierre DELAVILLE from Nancy, the restaurant was organized, the field staff was definitely hired, the equipment was borrowed or rented from neighboring clubs. Everything is operational and in the spring of 1958 the first sports calendar is printed, consisting of about fifteen competitions, the first being the Archibald Cup which took place on April 20, 1958 (provisional and very imperfect greens, especially in rainy weather, very difficult rughs ... AG 12/1958)

    The Golf de Troyes - La Cordelière was born bringing together around 130 members (founders, active members and honorary members).

    The first Board of Directors which will work for the creation of a large golf course is made up of twelve members, appointed at the association's first general assembly, held on November 5, 1957, with:

President: Pierre TORRE
  : Maurice BELLOT & André MAROT
Secretary: Madame GUIET, with Mr. BLOUET as deputy
Treasurer: Pierre JONQUET, with Mr. Jean LEMOINE as deputy

Field director: M. MAHEE

Club House Director: Mr. Jacques RENAUDINEAU, with Mr. Michel LEMELAND as deputy

Sporting director: Mr. Pierre BOULENGER, with Mr. Charles BOHEME as deputy

The balance sheet for the years 1957 and 1958 is 11,807,000 old francs for investments and 3,867,880 old francs for maintenance.

    In 1959, the course improved and was completed by the final greens, the tees, and bunkers. Time will pass, and following the work plan advised by Joseph HIRIGOYEN, after playing on 9 holes, we will play on 12 to finally arrive at 18 holes in 1967

    In January 1961, when Mr. DELAVILLE left, a new "pro" was hired, Mr. Maurice BOTCAZOU, his wife in charge of the proper functioning of the Club House (bar and restaurant).

   Today the Golf de Troyes - La Cordelière is one of the most beautiful courses in eastern France. The Presidents and the Boards of Directors of the Association, which have succeeded one another, have all made a large contribution to the development and improvement of the land, infrastructure and equipment, the estate being operated and managed on the long-term lease basis.
     After Pierre TORRE, the various Presidents of the Golf Association were: Claude JALABERT for 17 years, Michel DION for 20 years, Jean LAUVERGEAT, Albert FELIX-BOUY, Laurent GESP, Joël DARZAC, and currently Gilles ALLAIN.

    On 08/10/1963 the Real Estate Section of the Association Sportive et Agricole de la Cordelière (SIDASAC), Société Civile Immobilière, with a capital of 285,000, was formed with 57 shares distributed among 39 members, to acquire the domain on 11 / 10/1963, at the price of 250,000 frs. 

Mr. Paul BERNARDEAU was the first Chairman of the modern board of directors.

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