A beautiful arrival formed according to the code of practice, a forecourt supervised by two sphinges and of a court bordered of commun runs, precedes the castle, beautiful building recently restored with the white walls, masking traditional alliance brick and pierre.Deux solemn houses frame the crowned central fore-part of a triangular pediment. The unit is covered with slate blue-gray roofs, sloping and bored attic windows. Low reliefs of the XVIIIème century appearing arts and the seasons decorate the top of the French windows centrales.En left surrounded by water ditch, flanked turrets, the field is composed in addition to the castle, of vast commun runs dominated by a splendid truncated dovecote of XVIe century and a beautiful shaded park opened with the public.
It is Louis Habert, secretary of Finances of King Henri III (1566) then Ordinary General Trésorier of the Wars (1588) who made build at the end of the French Renaissance, in 1589, this residence on the site of a house located in a place named "Boullard". It is on the order of Henri III that it was pledged for him with 200 arpents of ground, that is to say a little more than 84 hectares. By these letters, it received the authorization "to close and close the aforementioned house and its pourpris of ditches such depth that good will seem to him with drawbridge, turns, turrets... and to set it up out of noble ground". Thus was born "Mênil-Habert".
The castle is livable since 1592. It was much less significant than today, of which the high parts that we admire go back to the XVIIe century. Henri-Louis Habert de Montmor [1603-1679] grandson of Louis, academician, guard of the scientists, will accomodate there later of the famous hosts, such as Gassendi, Quintinie, Henry Bret, Louis de Buade de Frontenac, Cyrano of Bergerac, and faithful of Port-Royal, of which Madame de Sévigné, Philippe de Champaigne or Doctor Jean Hamon.

Jean-Louis Habert de Montmor [1648-1720] general intendant of Galères de France (1688 to 1716), married with Gabrielle de La Reynie, the girl of the famous Intendant of Police force, Nicolas-Gabriel de La Reynie, will be the last descendant of this famous family. In 1724,
Jean-Louis de Rieu du Fargis, nephew and curator of Jean-Louis Habert de Montmor became the heir to the seigniory and the castle of Mesnil which will lose its title of county in 1728.
At the XVIIIe century (1737) the castle was bought by Charles de Selle [1707-1786], Conseiller of State, with the help of the sum of 140.000 books. It will remain in the family of Selle until 1805 after having successively belonged of 1769 to 1782 then of 1790 to the 3 nivôse An VI to Charles-François de Selle (1749-1814), to advise at the Parliament of Paris, its cousin Henri-Louis Lamouroux (in usufruct) of 1782 to 1790, and with Anne-Gabrielle-Catherine de Selle de Verduc de Soisy (half-sister of Charles-François) of the 3 nivôse An VI to 13 germinal An XIII (April 3, 1805).
Several owners follow one another then: it will be receipt by Etienne Dominique Pierre Cureau de Roullée, originating in Le Mans (he will be a mayor of Mesnil), which made there build beautiful sheep-folds, being owner of a beautiful herd so much of merino than of métis.Il will remain about it owner until 1836, year when Claude-Pierre Gauthier [1789-1865] barristers president and senior of the Order of Lawyers of Versailles, founder of the college of Lawyers of the same city, acquired of it. Her Eugene son will be a mayor of the commune of 1860 to 1866. It is during this period that came to the castle in 1842, Sophie Gay [1776-1852] woman of letters, friend of Balzac.
With its death in 1865, the heirs will sell the field and the castle with the Husson-Carcenac family, which restores (under the direction of the French architect Hippolyte Destailleur [1822-1893] restorer of the castles of Vaux-le-Vicomte and Courances), embellishes it of a chapell (1884) and life gives again to him. We also owe them the construction (1894) of the Monastery of the Sacré-Coeur du Mousseau, which they raised for their Marie daughter, religious of the Order of Norbertines. Let us announce that the father of Mrs. Pauline Husson, Henri Carcenac, was a mayor of IIe district of Paris, under the government of Mr. Thiers. During the war of 1870, the castle was occupied by the Prussian troops ordered by the Duke Friedrich Franz II von Mecklenburg-Schwerin [1823-1883] then by Prince Frederic-Guillaume de Hohenlohe. Let us mention the arrival with the castle in October 1870, of a crowd of prisoners following the fire of the commune of Ablis.
Another war that of 1914, will carry an almost fatal blow to the castle: parcelled out field, cut down enclosing walls, allotments created. But the castle will be concerned its wounds gently and will continue to accomodate famous occupants.
Indeed in 1929, it will become the property of Fredrik Herman Gade, Norwegian minister, who will accomodate there in 1940 the King of the Zog Albanians 1st and his wife the Geraldine queen, both then in exile. Then with its death, the castle will be bought (1947) by Milton Reynolds, Chicago inhabitant, who will undertake in the commun runs, the manufacture of the first ball point pens marketed in France! Finally in 1952, the commune of the Mesnil-Saint-Denis, chaired then by Me Raymond Berrurier, repurchased the castle in order to install there the town hall, the schools and various communal services.
Copyright © Olivier FAUVEAU - 2001

Interiors - Park and gardens