The castle of Thézan had never been opened to the public before May 2022. Abandoned for 20 years, this magnificent ensemble has been taken over by two enthusiasts who are conducting a complete renovation of the building and the park, in order to make them accessible to all.
The first inauguration will be that of the park, with the opening of a very beautiful exhibition of the contemporary artist sculptor Etienne Viard.
Pierre de Beytia and Emmanuel Renoux are both passionate about old stones, furniture and art objects, as well as beautiful gardens.
Leaving Paris and their professional activities, they met the Château de Thézan in February 2015 and bought it in 2019, after visiting many other places.
Their project was to find a historical place, ideally "in its juice", and to wake it up to live there, but especially, to share it.
This was done with the Château de Thézan, an imposing Provencal building, the fruit of the great construction periods of the Comtat Venaissin, located in Saint-Didier in the Vaucluse.
A little history...
The first mention of the castle appears in the archives in 1159 under the name of "Villa de Saint-Didier-Villa SanctiDesi-derii", in the list of titles held by the Counts of Toulouse which will be ceded to the Bishop of Carpentras.
Around the year 1500, the seigniorial residence erected on the foundations of the Roman village began to develop under the impulse of Siffre de Venasque and Esprit de Thézan. The main residence of the Thézan-Vénasque family from 1545 onwards, the castle which spreads out on the edge of the village of Saint-Didier adopts the appearance of a beautiful Renaissance residence.
In the 17th century, the lords of Thézan enlarged and modernized it with great splendor before being acquired in 1962, after several changes of hands, by Adolphe Masson, a doctor from Carpentras, with the aim of establishing a hydrotherapy center.
The clinic closed its doors at the end of the 1980s, its activities being transferred to La Gardette, a modern establishment, which is still in operation in Saint-Didier.
In 2019, it was bought by Pierre de Beytia and Emmanuel Renoux.
The Castle and the park
The opening of the exteriors (Cour d'Honneur and Park) from June 2022 is the first step of an ambitious project of rehabilitation of the Park and the Castle of Thézan in the heart of the village of Saint-Didier in the Vaucluse (84), opposite the Church.
It benefits from a double opening, on one side on the village, on the other side on the agricultural lands which border it. It extends with its outbuildings, on 4000m2 of floors, 1,4ha of enclosed land, and 3,5 ha of farmland.
The Château de Thézan, built on the foundations of a Roman villa, became a seigneurial residence in the first half of the 16th century. It is at the end of the XVIIth and especially at the beginning of the XVIIIth century that a real enclosed garden will be developed. Its structure, organization and regular layout are characteristic of a French garden, the design of which is often attributed to André Le Nôtre, who was then active in the region.
In the second half of the 18th century, these gardens aroused admiration and, for nearly a century, they continued to fascinate with their original care and arrangement, which evolved with the taste of the times.
They are described as "immense and magnificent, with jutting and jetted waters, green rooms, and endless paths presenting a unique view.
The partial conversion of the garden into a landscape park in the second half of the 19th century did not completely erase this composition
which can still be seen in its southern part. When the site was transformed into a hydrotherapy center in 1862, the large trees of the old garden were preserved and new, more exotic, horticultural trees were planted, in the style typical of English parks in the second half of the 19th century. A low garden was added to the estate and the Orangery was built to the north of this plot.
The park was then maintained with varying degrees of care until the end of the 1980s, when the clinic closed. Thereafter, a very light maintenance is ensured until 2016, year when the Castle and the Garden fall to the abandonment. Open to all outrages and other ransacks, the current owners, acquired the property 3 years ago in a real critical state.
After years of renovation, they can be proud to reopen it to the public in a magnificent state.
The Etienne Viard exhibition
Etienne Viard was born in France in 1954 and lives and works in Venasque in the Vaucluse. Self-taught, he began sculpting in 1980,
His sculptures, of large format, are forged from steel sheets or bars, coated with a black patina, or left in their raw state.
From the Cité Radieuse to Berlin, from Provence to China or the United States, this artist has exhibited all over the world...
He exhibits in the park of the castle 12 of his works, among which Oblique, Hyperbole, Altea, Lames, Pluie, Pliage, Sun Valley.
Pierre de Beytia and Emmanuel Renoux have taken up the challenge of completely restoring the site to its former glory, in strict accordance with its history.
Château de Thézan
58, rue du Château,
06 22 88 07 46
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator