From the 15th to the 19th century
Following the widespread destruction caused by the Hundred Years War, the bourgeois Parisian Lapite family bought the estate of Courances in 1460. During the reign of François Ier, the king made the Château de Fontainebleau and its surrounding area very fashionable. Cosme Clausse, Henri II’s secretary of state, already owner of the nearby château at Fleury-en-Bière, acquired the estate in 1552 for his second son. It is thanks to Clausse that we have the Grand Canal (the second in France, the first one being at Fleury, while the third was commissioned by the king for Fontainebleau), the Dôme, the Salle d’Eau and the Pré en l’Île.
Starting in 1622, the Gallard family pursued this programme of embellishment, giving the park its classical features. Gallard built a new château in 1630. The widow of Nicolas Pottier de Novion created the Miroir, the large reflecting pool in front of the château, in the middle of the 18th century. Then the estate became the property of the Nicolaÿ family through wedlock. Father and son were both decapitated during the Revolution. The estate was restituted to the family but Théodore de Nicolaÿ, a legitimist, went into exile in Switzerland in 1830 and the estate slowly fell into disrepair.
“La Dame de Courances“, painted by Beaubrun around 1660