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What we are about

At Académie Le Grippault, we believe in the power of living well and making a positive impact in the world. Our mission is to create a sanctuary for those seeking to connect with nature and the arts, to learn and reimagine our future together. Inspired by visionaries like Suzanne Simard and Jeremy Lent, we strive to live in harmony with the ecosystems we are a part of. Through artistic expression and experimentation with new practices, we encourage you to use your

imagination, engage in discussions, and practice new ways of living and working. We aspire to cultivate a community that values diversity, inclusivity, and collaboration, and celebrates the richness of different cultures and perspectives. By fostering a spirit of curiosity and open-mindedness, we aim to spark meaningful conversations and catalyze positive change. At Académie Le Grippault, we are committed to making a difference in the world, one person and one idea at a time.

How we came to live here

We are Jeroen and Leonoor. Jeroen is a theatre maker and drama teacher, while Leonoor worked as a curator and cultural programmer. Together with our two children Louis and Josephine we moved to France in December 2021. Four months later we got the keys to our house Le Grippault. We had been looking for a house in Touraine for some time. The area around the town of Richelieu particularly appealed to us for its tranquillity and sweeping vistas.

That we found Le Grippault cannot be a coincidence. Le Grippault is the perfect place to realise our dreams: a domain where we can host groups of people to work together in nature, where theatre and other arts can be made. A place to play, whether you are big or small. Here is the time and space needed to clear your head, learn and experiment. We wish our visitors to return home with new perpectives.

Château Le Grippault

The history of Le Grippault is largely a mystery that we hope to solve in the coming years with good detective work in local archives and the community. What we do know is that the central part of the house was built around 1830 as a hunting lodge. The building was constructed against the outer walls of the vast grounds that surrounded the chateau of Richelieu. Part of the wall still exists and marke the border of our grounds. The chateau itself has been demolished after the French Revolution of 1789. The stones of that chateau have been used to build Le Grippault and several other manors and castles in the region! Around the middle of the nineteenth century the left and right wings were built onto the building to make it suitable for habitation.

Our family lives in the left wing. The right wing is currently being renovated into eight guestrooms. The central section of the building consists of a dining room, drawing room and large hall that we call ‘la rue’. This hall, as it were, connects the town in front of the house with nature and landscape behind it.

In recent decades, the grounds have been used as an equestrian estate. It even had a polo field! On the 6 hectares of grassland, a lot of wild nature has disappeared as a result. By initially regenerating the land, we hope to restore it. The 21-hectare forest is in much better condition. Our forest borders an even much larger forest of 300 hectares that is not open to the public. The result is a large piece of unspoiled nature which is very welcome in this area that is rich in agriculture.

Château Le Grippault is situated at the outer walls of the vast grounds surrounding the once majestic chateau of the famous Cardinal Duke Jean-Armand du Plessis, the first prime-minister in history in the early 17th century. It was under his reign that Richelieu was built, designed to be the “ideal city”. The immense forest adjacent to the château and the parc where the château stood until shortly after the French Revolution nowadays belong to the Sorbonne -the university of Paris- that was founded by Richelieu. It is not widely known that Richelieu has been one of the most important innovators of European theatre of the last four centuries for it is Richelieu who introduced bourgeois theatre. A man of literature, he founded the Académie Francaise. It was also Richelieu who introduced the table knife!

Richelieu is located in the Loire region, right between the stunning cities of Tours (50 minutes), Poitiers (50 minutes) and Saumur (60 minutes). The Loire region is known for its many castles. Less well known is that it is one big national park with vast forests, criss-crossed by rivers. Richelieu is a 17th-century monumental town with many places of interest. The town of Richelieu has cosy cafés and restaurants, a great weekly market and some nice brocante shops. The area around Richelieu produces many delicacies, such as asparagus, wine, saffron and truffle.