Grands Châteaux of the Loire and Ile-de-France: Château d’Écouen

Grands Châteaux of the Loire and Ile-de-France: Château d’Écouen

Live from France with Guillaume Fonkenell


Thursday, February 25 at 12:00 p.m.
$8 Members / $15 Non-members
Online via Zoom • in English

Register now

12:00 p.m. (Chicago) • 1:00 p.m. (Miami)  7:00 p.m. (Paris) 

Our series inviting you to visit ten Grands Châteaux live from France continues! Today Russell Kelley explores the history of the Château d’Écouen through the prism of the French Renaissance in the company of its heritage curator Guillaume Fonkenell.


Francis I spent his childhood at the Château d’Amboise with Anne, the future Duke of Montmorency, a boy his age who was named after his godmother Queen Anne de Bretagne. Anne fought alongside  the newly crowned Francis I at Marignano in 1515 and was captured with him at Pavia in 1525, and  became the most trusted advisor of both Francis I and his son and successor Henri II. Anne was the most powerful and the richest man in France, second only to the king, possessing nearly 600 fiefs and 130 châteaux at his death in 1567. While Anne ably assisted his wife Madeleine of Savoy, undertook many building projects, his masterpiece was the Château d’Écouen, which was constructed  between 1538 and 1555 in the evolving French Renaissance style. Located 12 miles north of Paris, the Château d’Écouen has housed the National Museum of the Renaissance since 1977.


Guillaume Fonkenell has been Chief Heritage Curator at the National Museum of the Renaissance at the Château d’Écouen since 2014. He is author of Le Palais des Tuileries (Éditions Honoré Claire, 2010), and co-author of the three-volume Histoire du Louvre (Édition Musée du Louvre, Fayard, 2016).

A board member of the Alliance Française Miami Metro, Russell Kelley is the curator and moderator of the lecture series on the Grands Châteaux of the Loire and Ile-de-France. He is author of The Making of Paris: The Story of How Paris Evolved from a Fishing Village into the World’s Most Beautiful City, to be published by Globe Pequot Press in March 2021. He has lived in France for nearly 30 years and has visited every château featured in this series many times since his first visit to the Loire Valley 50 years ago.


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This program is presented in partnership with the Alliance Française Miami Metro with communication support from the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA, the French Heritage Society, and WICE - Paris.

Through our Entrée Libre initiative, free admission to this program is offered to students enrolled in French Studies in universities and French schools in Chicago and the Midwest. This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.