Visiting our Area
Just an hour and a half west of Paris, Maison Conti is an ideal base from which to explore in all directions. Located within the national park of the Perche, Montmirail is surrounded by unspoiled countryside. Home to the famous Percheron horses, the area features gently rolling hills, forest and farmland. It is traversed by several rivers and dotted with small hamlets and manoirs. In addition, the Loire Valley, Chartres, Vendome, Le Mans and southern Normandy are all convenient day trips. Mild weather, absence of traffic and a traditional relaxed way of life make it your perfect escape. The New York Times has called it one of France's best kept secrets... "the last terroir."
Situated at the highest point in the area, Montmirail has been continuously inhabited for centuries. During the middle ages it was a strategic location, straddling the border between French and English domains. The local dukes had exclusive loyalties to neither crown, and were related by marriage to both, and sometimes mediated between them. So it was that in 1169 King Louis VII of France met with Henry II Plantagenêt and Thomas Beckett at the castle of Montmirail in an attempt to reconcile differences between the English monarch and his archbishop.
In the early part of the 18th century the beautiful and charming Princess Conti, favored illegitimate daughter of Louis XIV, resided in the castle. She made extensive changes to both the exterior and interior, adding many renaissance elements to the original feudal structure. Today the castle is an unusual blend of the two styles. It was during the Princess’ tenure that Maison Conti was built as a residence for her personal secretary. Today it is regarded as one of the most beautiful buildings in the village.
From the grounds of the chateau there is a spectacular 360° view of the surrounding countryside. On a clear day the spires of Chartres Cathedral are visible in the distance. Montmirail is an historically preserved “little city of character” without overhead power lines or modern buildings. The architecture is homogeneous, in a palette of soft earthtones, with brick cornices and clay tile roofs.