Property & Park : The History of Les Fontaines
Built by the Rothschild family, today the les Fontaines château near Chantilly is a unique corporate seminar center, in the heart of a vast park.
A Campus both modern and historic
At Chantilly, in the heart of a property rich with history and a renowned forest, Serge Kampf Les Fontaines is an environmentally responsible Campus spanning 52 hectares featuring a château with a metal framework known as Eiffel dating back to the 19th century, a wooded park, a pond, a Normandy farm and 7 modern villas with 300 rooms. A bold, unique architectural identity designed with people and businesses in mind.
History: 18th–21st century
In 1781, Jacques Berthault amassed multiple plots of land in an estate where he created a picturesque garden in the style of the day. He erected several buildings there—the Hermitage, fisherman’s bungalow, and the Obelisk—and diverted the river to create a pond, which remains at the center of the estate today.
In 1878, Baron James de Rothschild acquired the property and entrusted the construction of château des Fontaines to his own architect, Félix Langlais.
The château’s design was ultra-contemporary for that period. The building was constructed with a metallic framework, still evident in the attic, bearing witness to a strong commitment to innovation that remains at Capgemini Les Fontaines Campus today!
Passing away in 1881, the Baron would not live to see the work completed, 10 years later under the direction of his wife, “Baronness James.”
In 1946, the Jesuits became the proprietors of the estate and created an enormous library and hotel for researchers. They held seminars there on a wide range of subjects.
In 1998, the Capgemini group acquired the château, and in January 2003 they opened an international campus to provide their teams and their clients with a unique place for seminars and corporate events.
Audacious: a château reflecting many architectural influences
The château des Fontaines marries multiple architectural styles while respecting the regional influence—the Rothschild family wanted it to express the European universality of its dynasty:
- The period of Henri IV in the main façade, in the manner of Place des Vosges in Paris,
- The neo-gothic in the cylindrical turrets,
- An inspiration from the Dutch and British Northern Renaissance, seen in the central lodge.
In perspective: 52-hectare park
Lines radiating outward from the château, a pond, patios, wellness paths and artwork embellish the 52 hectares of the wooded park.
«The layout of the park [des Fontaines] is designed to ideally position the visitor by deftly using a vocabulary of premier design, hidden openings, breaks, backdrops and views.»
– Albert Amar, landscape architect
Modern: seven environmentally responsible villas designed by Valode & Pistre
In the heart of the estate, seven villas offer 300 rooms ranging from (standard, to superior rooms and suites).
Renovated in 2011 by Italian designer Porro, the rooms combine modernity and comfort and while minimizing the environmental impact:
- Geothermal energy is used to heat and cool the rooms,
- The electricity consumed comes from 100% renewable sources.
The Normandy Farm
At the heart of the park, the Baronness de Rothschild called on architect Dominique Girard to build “the Normandy Farm”–reminiscent of the seaside villas on the Normandy coast.
Today, the Normandy Farm is the ideal place for meetings in a natural setting.