All our kings have built, embellished, enlarged and modified many castles. And each king had his favorite castle, his refuge like Louis XIV and Marly. For Louis XV it was the Saint-Hubert castle.
Construction of the Saint-Hubert castle
Louis XV had it built on the edge of the forest of Rambouillet and for two reasons: as a great hunter, he needed a forest nearby; his request to purchase the Château de Rambouillet belonging to the Duke of Penthièvre was refused.
With the help of the Marquise de Pompadour, Ange-Jacques Gabriel First architect to the King, from 1755 created a simple hunting lodge. Over the years, the king enlarged it, embellished it until it became a real royal residence, a real place of pleasure and hunting, with frontage on the pond, flat Italian roof, two courtyards with body of buildings for apartments and outbuildings, the whole becoming a real royal domain in a fairly isolated region.
A village was founded there, linked by tree-lined avenues, strongly resembling the layout of the city of Versailles, entirely devoted to the castle. The village of Saint-Hubert still exists today and depends on the town of Essarts-le-Roi, while the castle has disappeared.
In 1758, the castle was habitable and Philippe de Noailles was appointed governor, responsible for the organization of royal stays, human and financial management, providing furniture, providing equipment (dishes, linen, etc.) and taking care of necessary personnel: chaplain, janitor, sweepers, guards necessary.
The King's stays
Nothing is really and officially attested and written down. Only a few memories inform us of the stays of May and June 1758, then often the same months each year “in May 1762, there are still nine trips of the king to his castle of Saint-Hubert for this summer, in addition to the two he has been doing for two weeks ”as Jean-François Barbier lawyer mentions in his Historical and Anecdotal Journal of the Reign of Louis XV. And so, it will last until the end of the reign.
The guests are handpicked, according to the royal favor, in the manner of Marly and Louis XIV. Although there were only about 20 dwellings in 1758, a list existed with the allocated dwellings and the name of the "blessed". They are men of the same generation as the king, great officers of the court in high office and experienced hunters, as well as some members of the "little suppers".
Later with the expansion, some members of the family are also invited, chosen in part by Mme de Pompadour who wanted to be closer to the royal family: Ladies daughters of the King, the Dauphin and Marie-Josèphe de Saxe, the future Louis XVI .
The destruction of the castle
As often, on the death of Louis XV, the residence was deserted from 1774. Worse still, Louis XVI having obtained Rambouillet, had Saint-Hubert demolished and ordered “its reduction”, that is to say its partial destruction. .
Sold during the Revolution, the last buildings were destroyed in the middle of the 19th century. And nowadays, all that remains is the terrace and the park overlooking the Saint-Hubert pond.