Château de La Napoule in Mandelieu

American artist, Henry Clews, and his American wife,  Marie,  re-built the medieval fortress/chateau in the 1920’s, as it had mostly been destroyed during the French Revolution (except for an exterior wall and a portion of one of the wings).  Henry was a painter and sculptor, who abhorred the arrogant bourgeoisie (as depicted in the carved wreath of faces photo) and also  made fun of doctors for their sense of superpower and condescension.  He caricatured American critics, not appreciated by Henry, through his animal-sculpted wooden doors.

Henry had tried to follow in his father’s footsteps, by being a banker on Wall Street, but left to become an artist and follow his passion. He had ties with Rodin in Paris, which helped him connect to the Parisian art world.  Both Henry and Marie had been previously married with children; they felt passionate about each other and about art and had one son together.

What’s amazing is that after Henry’s death, Marie stayed at the château through the years of German occupation, having hidden and buried all of Henry’s art work, humbly welcoming Germans to stay at the château as a cover.  Her strength of character and passion for her husband and his works of art helped save the immense collection that is currently on display – a remarkable love story!

Located West of Cannes, this lovely and historical château is well worth a visit.

(hover over image for caption)

11 thoughts on “Château de La Napoule in Mandelieu

  1. We drive through here, eaten here, several times over the years and have never visited the Chateau. Thanks for the motivation. It’s on our list for September.

  2. fabulous photographs! your collection of photographs is amazing.

  3. Fascinating! Reminds me a little of the American wife of the director of the Ritz who also remained there in Paris during much of the occupation.

  4. pedmar10 says:

    indeed great story and nice place; it seems we are all over France lol!!! have a similar story in Brittany.

    • Merci – I’m sure there are a lot of similar stories of brave men and women during that period of history.

      • pedmar10 says:

        yes Rochefort-en-Terre on one of my entries is the story of the American from Baltimore who brought painters there in the 20’s the castle is not a museum of many and his Alfred Klotz…..and do see mona biscmarck in Paris where all the American clubs are near Trocadéro ::)

  5. elladyer says:

    This is top of our “to-do” list the next time we are in Nice. Thank you for the lovely information and photos; I so enjoy learning more about the region through your blog.

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