The castle of Woolsack, located on the banks of the lake of Aureilhan, has seen on its lawns Coco Chanel, Charlie Chaplin, Salvador Dalí, Suzanne Lenglen, Lloyd George, Georges Carpentier, the king of Spain Alphonse XIII, the draughtsman Sem, Sir Anthony Eden or Winston Churchill.
This castle is a former hunting lodge located in the town of Mimizan.
Built in 1911 on the shores of Lake Aureilhan by Hughes Richard Arthur Grosvenor (1879-1953), Duke of Westminster, the castle is a replica of the home of Rudyard Kipling, author of "The Jungle Book".
The Duke of Westminster, who was born in 1879 and came from one of the richest and most prestigious families in Great Britain, came to the Landes in 1910 and, after this first visit, acquired a wooded plot of land.
Construction work began in 1911.
He came thereafter to stay regularly until 1940.
But in the absence of a land access road, it is by motorboat from Aureilhan that the duke reached his property. It was also by boat that the supplies were delivered.
An English quarter was built away from the castle to accommodate the staff in charge of organizing the hunting parties, the housekeeper, the governess, the dog handlers, the mule driver, the chauffeur, the grooms and the friends. The adjoining stables are occupied by thirty horses and the kennel has no less than sixty dogs.
Coco Chanel often came to stay at the castle, but the relationship between the fashion designer and the duke ended when he got married on February 20, 1930 for the third time.
Nazi troops occupied Mimizan on June 28, 1940.
The house was returned to its owner when the Germans withdrew.
In 1947, the Duke married Anne Nancy Winifred Sullivan for the fourth time. As the young couple was about to come to Woolsack for their honeymoon, the house caught fire.
In 1953, the Duke returned to Woolsack to decide whether to sell it. Restored by Mr. Sargos, the castle was classified as a historical monument in 1978. Today it is privately owned by Barbara and Vivien Ramsey. If, unfortunately, it is not possible to visit this castle, its magnificent frontage is nevertheless worth the detour.
Le château de Woolsack
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