Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ferme de la Haute-Bévoye

In an earlier post about a stroll cirumnavigating the Fort de Queuleu, I wrote about walking past the Ferme de la Haute-Bévoye, which is just outside the village of Grigy. Thanks to blog correspondent Pierre Cazenave, who sent me a trove of information, I can write more definitively about this fortified farm.

There was an estate at "Halte-Bévoi" as early as 1372. The area of the farm eventually became part of the village of Borny, which was merged in Metz in the 19th Century. Haute-Bévoye is the only fortified farm in the city of Metz.

This history comes from "Les Fermes-Châteaux du Pays Messin," by Albert Haefeli, who writes about the succession of rural nobility who called Haute-Bévoye home. In 1712, the farm was acquired by Jean Antoine Chautant, the general contractor for the fortifications of Metz and of Thionville, who thus became Lord of Haute-Bévoye, Vercly and Béville. His family has owned the estate ever since (at least as of Haefeli's publication in 1972). The fortifications were originally a chateau, of which some parts remain. Of the present chateau, a large 18th Century mansion, Haefeli wrote that it is without interest. Of course, to your wonderstruck American observer, the chateau looked plenty interesting.

Although the estate is owned by the descendants of Chautant, there's a farmer who conducts the day-to-day operations. Here's a view of the Ferme de la Haute-Bévoye from the farm's fields.

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