The Castle of Mist
The Castle of Mists is a very old house in Montmartre which name evokes the scent of mystery at the origin of some of the biggest legends. This place will live/endure through three centuries, during which it will know both prestige and decline.
The story started at the end of the eighteenth century. The Mound was then covered with vineyards and windmills. In place of the current castle, there was a vast field in the middle of which stood an old “Mill of Mist”, falling into ruins.
This piece of land was acquired in 1772 by Mr. Legrand-Ducampjean, a lawyer at the Parliament. He took down the crumbling building and took advantage of his newly acquired 7000 m2 to build a «House of the Mist“. It seems that this name comes from the fact that this very isolated area at the north of the hill was often shrouded in early morning fog.
The urbanization of this sector will not begin until 1850. The house will become a castle, and then will be passed from hand to hand, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The poet Gerard de Nerval resided there between 1828 and 1833, at time which he wrote beautiful poems mourning the disappearance of the yesteryear Montmartre vineyard.
Then, a long period will follow during which the premises will be abandoned. Throughout the second half of the nineteenth century, the Castle of Mist and its surroundings will be taken over by various artists and society drop-outs.During this period, the old out-buildings will be razed to make way for several individual houses. These places will host personalities such as the painter Renoir, and much later, Jean Cocteau and Jean-Pierre Aumont.
At the end of the twenties, the project of linking Simon Dereure Str. and L’Abreuvoir Str. will threaten the area. The area will eventually be preserved and declared non aedificandi(“no bulding zone) thanks to the significant action of the owner Victor Perrot, supported by” The Society of Old Montmartre”. Perrot will spend long years rehabilitating it, using engravings of that long gone era. L’allée des Brouillards (the avenue of the Mist), will be created in 1929.
Roland Dorgelès in a book, written in 1936, pays a tribute to these places that he willingly compares to the house of a magician.