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Fonfrège is the name of an historic family estate in the South of France near Montpellier.
The vast domaine dates back to the 1100’s and came into the Castelnau-Leenhardt family in 1791. The noble family, with descendants from King Henri IV, was one of the most famous of the Protestant haute bourgeoisie. A family of artists, intellectuals, and explorers.
“The last privilege of our class is to be able to be familiar with the humble folk without losing any of the entitlements of our status.”
-- Suzanne de France-Mandoul, 1811
Artists like Frederic Bazille and Max Leenhardt, who’s bold works influenced generations of impressionists and modernists.
Groundbreaking ethnographer and anthropologist Maurice Leenhardt, who dedicated his life to studying the art and culture of the Oceanic people.
“When we learn to observe, we learn half of wisdom.” -- Maurice Leenhardt
Franz Leenhardt, who challenged Darwin’s theories of evolution and sought proof in his study of prehistoric life throughout the Mediterranean.
Author and filmmaker Roger Leenhardt, who coined the term Nouvelle Vague and championed Truffaut, Godard, and Demy.
These firebrands and iconoclasts lived in and around the stunning château known as Fontfroide-le-Haut, a gothic-revival hotel particulier built in 1871 by family patriarch Claude Henri Leenhardt.
Today Fontfroide is the home and hallmark of the Fonfrège brand.