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Construction of the Château de Guermantes in Lagny-sur-Marne, Seine et Marne, France, was undertaken by Claude Viole (died 1638), whose family had possessed the fief of "Le Chemin" since the mid sixteenth century. Paulin Pondre (1650-1723) purchased the property in 1698. He engaged Jules Hardouin-Mansart for renovations to the building, completed in 1710 (Ministère de la culture), and André Le Nôtre to lay out the garden. Pondre was receveur des finances at Lyon and had become one of the most powerful financiers of the reign of Louis XIV; he was appointed President of the Cour des Comptes in 1713. Guermantes was the scene of memorable fêtes.
In 1719 the Scottish financier John Law purchased Guermantes for 800,000 livres; he only enjoyed possession for a matter of months before the bubble built on paper money burst and he was forced into exile. Paulin Pondre was able to take possession once more; his family were dispossessed at the Revolution.
Guermantes is built of brick with stone facings and quoins, in an H-plan, with projecting pavilions flanking the corps de logis, under tall sloping slate roofs and tall chimney stacks. The house stands in a large park. The front is now approached in the English manner, with a drive sweeping to the side and an unbroken expanse of lawn. On the garden front, the house stands on a terrace with steps leading down to the former parterre, which is now lawn, and the expanse of water in the formally-shaped pièce d'eau, from the far end of which the château is reflected in its entirety..
The original furnishings of Guermantes have been scattered, but rooms retain their seventeenth- and eighteenth-century boiseries. The family Pondre maintained the property until 1929, by which time Marcel Proust had employed "Guermantes" for the family at the top of the French society he was describing. There has never been a duchesse de Guermantes; Proust's "château de Guermantes", unreachably beyond the limits of family walks from Combray then purchased by the Verdurins, was based on the duc de Sully's Château de Villebon, Eure-et-Loir.