What true Francophile wouldn’t?
Chateau-sur-Mer translates to mansion by the sea and that it is. That it is.
The mansion itself was originally built in an Italianate-style, but converted by the owners in the 1870’s to the Second Empire French Style. It is in under a bit of construction, but I took it upon myself to sneak around and snap some pictures anyway.
That delicious blue-green trim just exudes French decor to me, not to mention the Mansard style roof. It is known for its high class Victorian architecture, furnishings and wallpaper.
The mansion was the grandest residence in Newport, for almost forty years. That is until the Vanderbilt’s came to town and constructed The Breakers.
I snuck around back and found another little cottage.
And some beautifully manicured gardens.
As I came to the end of the property, I saw this gate. Trés French non? I walked up slowly and heard men’s voices. I took the shot, but hurried away, as I did not want to get caught.
I did wonder what was on the other side. Guess I will never know.
Through the trees, I saw the neighboring mansion. Same delicious French blue.
These massive graceful trees are scattered about the property. They are European Weeping Beech trees and the pictures don’t do them, nor their size, justice.
You could fit your head in that hole. I think it is only fitting that the birds living on the grounds of these mansions have a bird-house fit for royalty too, don’t you?
This side of the house showcases a lovely covered veranda, complete with a wooden awning painted to coordinate with the trim on the house. I imagine that this is the side of the house where the Fete Champetre, an elaborate country picnic for over two-thousand guests, took place.
The weathered white stone urns, aged with sun-ripened green moss, stand symmetrically in a row, just begging to be filled with flowers cascading down the sides. Ivy, petunias, bacopa perhaps?
A closer look reveals the back of a gold French cane chaise, elegant window dressings, creamy white shutters and a gold curtain tie-back as big as my forearm, in the living room.
A peek through another window shows the small slice of a candelabra with crystal garland and clock resting on a fireplace mantle. A gold mirror reflects a rose pattern wallpaper on the other side of the room. I wonder if this is the way it looked in 1889 for Miss Edith Wetmore’s debutante ball?
An upholstered ivory linen french chaise is centered in the window while an ivory silk balloon valance is pulled up to let in some light, while a second layer of cream draperies pool on the floor below.
And this is the adorable little guest house, located in the front of the property. That little French green garden bench is calling my name. That would be plenty of room for me to live. I wonder if they need a gatekeeper? Or a caretaker?
You leave with the same elegance in which you arrived. Those arches and urns are just so graceful.
Though I always prefer to tour the outside, tours are available inside as well.
If you are just interested in touring Chateau-sur-Mer, one ticket is $11.00. You can tour five mansions in the Preservation Society Group for $31.00.
Click here for more information on tours and hours of operation.
474 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840