The Château de Monte-Cristo, Alexandre Dumas' hidden and unusual home

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Published by La Rédac · Photos by My de Sortiraparis · Published on June 29th, 2024 at 10:35 a.m.
Discover the Château de Monte-Cristo, the residence imagined by the writer Alexandre Dumas. Set in an English garden in the heart of the Yvelines, on the Saint-Germain-en-Laye side, you'll find an exuberantly styled 19th-century château and its small Château d'If. We take you on a tour of this hidden heritage, listed as a historic monument.

At the height of his fame, in 1844, following the success of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, which appeared successively in the press as serials, Alexandre Dumas sought to establish himself far from the incessant hustle and bustle of the city, in a place where he could find sufficient peace and quiet to work and supply publishers with his manuscripts.

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Dumas was then living in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Seduced by the landscapes along the Seine, he chose a hill on the slopes of Port-Marly to build his home. He hired an architect, not the least of whom was Hippolyte Durand, to make his dream come true. He told his architect: " You will lay out for me an English park, in the middle of which I want a Renaissance house. For my study, a Gothic pavilion surrounded by water... There are springs, you will make waterfalls for me ".

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Dumas gave his instructions and the estate was designed according to his wishes, whatever the price. On July 25, 1847, the writer hung the house-warming party in the presence of a host of friends, admirers and onlookers.... Nearly 600 people flocked to admire the place, which Balzac described as"one of the most delightful follies ever made".

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Unfortunately, Alexandre Dumas barely had time to take advantage of the opportunity, as just a few months later he went bankrupt, losing his historic Paris theater. He was forced to sell the Monte Cristo estate to pay off his debts for a pittance in 1849.

The xhâteau and its estate then passed from hand to hand, gradually falling into disrepair and disrepair. It even came within a hair's breadth of extinction in the face of a housing development. It owes its survival to Alain Decaux, who founded the Société des Amis d'Alexandre Dumas, subsequently motivating the communes of Marly-le-Roi, Pecq-sur-Seine and Le Port-Marly to buy back the property by setting up an intercommunal syndicate in the 1970s. Since restored, the site has been open to visitors since 1994.

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The Château de Monte-Cristo is a charming residence with entirely sculpted facades. History, nature and the writer's soul are omnipresent: floral motifs, angels, musical instruments and weapons stand side by side with a variety of strange animals.

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Above each first floor window, Alexandre Dumas had a portrait of a playwright from every era placed. In the place of honor, above the entrance door, Alexandre Dumas himself appears to welcome his guests. The pediment displays the arms of his ancestors and his personal motto "J'aime qui m'aime" ("I love whoever loves me"). Finally, the bell towers atop the château's two turrets are adorned with the writer's intertwined initials. Inside, the living room and dining room are central rooms bathed in light.

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We then climb upstairs to the bedroom, library, toilet and astonishing Moorish salon. A real folly according to Balzac, it survives thanks to the patronage of King Hassan II of Morocco.

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Opposite the main house stands a neo-Gothic castel surrounded by water, the Château d'If. It was here, in this building of eclectic architecture, that Dumas wrote tirelessly, sometimes resting upstairs.

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On its façade, guarded by a dog in its niche, are engraved the titles of the writer's books, as well as the names of the heroes of his novels.

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Saved from destruction in 1970 and classified as a historic monument, the Monte Cristo estate is now open to the public to reveal this architectural gem and the fascinating world of its creator. Today, the estate has been preserved to continue Alexandre Dumas' dream.

Throughout the year, the château offers a wide range of events. Guided tours await you on the second Sunday of every month from February to November. From April to October, the last Sunday of the month is devoted to dramatized tours to immerse you in the atmosphere. Temporary exhibitions on the second floor of the château are also on offer.

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Opening days and times

The Château de Monte Cristo is open every day except Monday, including public holidays, unless it falls on a Monday in high season, and only on weekend afternoons in low season. Annual closures from mid-December to early January.

March 1 to June 30 and September 1 to November 1 inclusive (high season)

  • Tuesday and Thursday: 10am to 12:30pm and 2pm to 6pm.
    Self-guided tours. Last admissions at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
    The park and château are completely closed during lunchtime.
  • Wednesday and Friday: 2 pm to 6 pm.
    Self-guided tours. Last admission at 5pm.
  • Saturdays and public holidays (except Mondays) from 10am to 6pm.
    Self-guided tours. Last admission at 5pm.
  • Sunday: 10am to 6pm. Last admission at 5pm.
  • Open on May 1st and May 8th from 10am to 6pm.

November 2 to February 28 inclusive (low season)

Open Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm.
Ticket office closes 1 hour before site closes.

- Guided tours on the 2nd Sunday of February, March and November.
- Self-guided tours (without a guide) on the other Sundays of the same period.
- "Surprise" tours (with an actor) on the last Sunday of February, March and November

When tours are guided, no self-guided tours are possible.

How do I get there?

The Château de Monte Cristo is rather well hidden. It's located in Port-Marly. By public transport, you'll need to take the RER A or transilien from Paris Saint-Lazare or La Defense station and get off at Marly le Roi. Then take line 10 to the Les lampes stop and walk 5 minutes.

By car, take the Saint-Germain-en Laye- N186 exit, then follow signs for Saint Germain en Laye. At the 6th set of traffic lights, turn left in the direction of Marly le Roi. You'll find common access to the Clinique de l'Europe via the chemin du haut des Ormes, so you won't be lost. An automatic gate gives access to the château parking lot, allowing you to get as close as possible to the château and its grounds.

How much does it cost?

Tickets for self-guided tours without events are €8 for adults, €6 for children and free for children under 8. Guided tours cost €9 for adults and €2 for children aged 3/7. From February to October, theatrical tours are available. They cost €10 per adult and €2 per child aged 3/7, and are free for children under 7. This private château is open to the public on the 1st Sunday of the month. Reservations are not necessary; tickets can be purchased on site.

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After the Three Musketeers, the Count of Monte Cristo has been adapted for the big screen. What better way to follow in the footsteps of the prolific writer Alexandre Dumas across the Île-de-France region! [Read more]

Photos : Le Château de Monte-CristoPhotos : Le Château de Monte-CristoPhotos : Le Château de Monte-CristoPhotos : Le Château de Monte-Cristo Murder party, treasure hunt and escape game at Château de Monte-Cristo: activities for all the family
Monte Cristo Castle needs your investigative skills! A variety of investigative games are on offer, giving you the chance to discover this beautiful castle in a fun way. [Read more]

Practical information

Location


78560 Port Marly (Le)

Prices
Visites guidées, théâtralisées, surprise selon âges: €2 - €10
Parc uniquement : €4
Tarif réduit: €6
Plein tarif: €8

Recommended age
For all

Official website
www.chateau-monte-cristo.com

More information
Opening dates and times are subject to change, so please check the official website before travelling.

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