La Maison Hérold

Built on the ruins of the castle of Lapras, this stately home commonly known as the “Chateau de Lapras” was bought in the mid 19th century by the French politician Ferdinand Hérold (1828-1882), who established residence in the Ardèche for electoral reasons and gave his name to the property. However, it was his son, André Ferdinand Hérold (1865 – 1940), who gave it its reputation.

A French Symbolist and member of the French literary review Mercure de France, André Ferdinand Hérold invited the most illustrious personalities of the literary and artistic world to the house. It was indeed such figures as the poets Paul Valery and Stuart Merill, writers Pierre Louÿs, Georges Courteline or André Gide, but also famous composers such as Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel (who composed his masterpiece La Valse here during the winter of 1919-1920) and many other intellectuals who together made Maison Hérold a centre of cultural creation and conviviality.

Ferdinand Hérold, politician, 1828-1882

Ferdinand Hérold, Politician, 1828-1882

André-Ferdinand Hérold, Writer, 1865-1940

André-Ferdinand Hérold, Writer, 1865-1940

Following the death of André Ferdinand Hérold, shortly after the French defeat in 1940, the house was sold. Poorly maintained for four decades by successive owners, it fell into a state of disrepair.

The house was finally bought in 1984 by Joselyne and Patrick Moreau who spent more than thirty years restoring it. They opened to the public in 2011, welcoming historians, authors, music lovers and anyone else wishing to share their interest in this remarkable place.