As I mentioned in my previous post, this year for my birthday we decided to tour some of the mansions in Newport, RI. The second house on our stop was the Chateau Sur Mer or Castle on the Sea. I was more excited to visit this house than I was the Breakers. While the Breakers is definitely beautiful and impressive, I found the Chateau more to my tastes.
The Chateau Sur Mer, built in 1852, was actually the very first of the Newport Mansions during the Gilded Age. It was also the largest until the Vanderbilts built the Breakers. The architecture of the house was built in the Victorian stye and most of the furnishings and decor are in the French Second Empire style.
While the house is very dark and constructed of mostly dark woods and marble, as your see in the video, it has a very nice flow to the design that I loved. The ballroom in particular reminded me of a room from Versailles. It was one of the few rooms with a lighter atmosphere and very French inspired decor.
Parts of the house gave me a very Addams Family, haunted mansion vibe, which you can tell from the video below. I actually talked with a psychic friend after my visit, who told me that this house and the Breakers are both very haunted. I can believe that.
Some interesting facts about Chateau Sur Mer:
- The house sat abandoned for many years due to the fact that the two daughters of the original owner never married, so there was no one to pass the house onto when the passed.
- The Preservation Society of Newport County, which was actually started by one of the daughters, purchased the house in the 1960s at auction for a whopping $230,000 however it cost them over a million dollars to repair the roof.
Check out my video below of the Chateau Sur Mer and let me know which house you liked better!
This year for my birthday, I decided to do something that I’ve wanted to do since we moved to New England ten years ago, visit the mansions in Newport, RI. We decided to only select two of the many mansions you can visit through the Preservation Society of Newport County. We chose to visit the Breakers Mansion and Chateau Sur Mer.
First, let me say that Newport is now my favorite New England town ever. It used to be Salem, MA but Newport is just that beautiful, quintessential New England seaside town. The main part of town on the water has some amazing restaurants and cafes as well as fun shops to visit.
We only spent the better part of a day there, and didn’t get to do everything we wanted. We sadly ran out of time and were unable to go over to the Cliff Walk. So we are preparing to do an overnight trip soon to visit more mansions and see more of this charming city.
The first house we toured was the Breakers Mansion. This is a nice self guided tour with an accompanying audio feature that tells you the history and some intriguing facts about the house. The Breakers Mansion was built for the Vanderbilts in 1895. The house is the largest and most opulent house in Newport and was built during the Gilded Age. It contains architectural influences and materials from Italy, Africa and France.
The house contains 70 rooms, enough for every kind of activity you could imagine, such as the Great Hall, the Morning Room, Dining Room, Music Room and Library. The Breakers Mansion housed over 40 servants that helped the Vanderbilts with every aspect of their busy social lives. One definitely gets a very Downton Abbey feel while walking through mansion.
Some of the interesting features that I enjoyed:
- Every bathtub had four faucets – two of them were used to bring in sea water from the nearby ocean in order to allow the Vanderbilts to take salt baths.
- Dolphins are seen throughout the design of the house to represent the nearby sea.
- Mrs. Vanderbilt had 4 closets that held the outfits to be used in her 7 wardrobe changes throughout the day.
- The house contains hidden corridors that allowed the servants to do their jobs unseen and unheard as to not disturb the family.
- Many of the rooms are designed in the Louis XVI style and many of the furnishings were made in and shipped from France.
Check out my video of the Breakers Mansion below. This video is hosted on one of my YouTube channels. I may make a YouTube channel for this blog, La Vie En Rose, at a future date. Enjoy the opulence!