Goods of the House of Orléans

Under the Ancien Régime, the goods of the House of Orléans (biens de la maison d'Orléans) comprised two distinct parts : the apanage and the "biens patrimoniaux".

Ancien Regime

The "apanage d'Orléans"

The apanage of Orléans was originally formed by Louis XIII for his brother Gaston. Gaston died without male heirs in 1660 and the apanage reverted to the French crown. Louis XIV soon afterwards, in 1661, conceded it to his brother Philippe. Originally made up of the duchies of Orléans, of Valois and of Chartres and the seigneurie of Montargis, it was expanded bit by bit :

  • In 1672, Louis XIV added the duchy of Nemours, the counties of Dourdan and of Romorantin, the marquisats of Coucy and of Folembray.
  • In 1692, the Palais-Royal was incorporated into the apanage in contempt of a clause in the will of cardinal Richelieu which bequeathed it for the king's use
  • In 1740, Louis XV added the hôtel de Grand-Ferrare in Fontainebleau.
  • In 1751, the county of Soissons.
  • In 1766, La Fère, Marle, Ham, Saint-Gobain, the canal de l'Ourcq, and the hôtel Duplessis-Châtillon in Paris.

The "biens patrimoniaux"

The "biens patrimoniaux" had varied origins:


Also, the revenues from the apanages and the "biens patrimoniaux", as well as money raised in the roles and offices taken by members of the house of Orléans, allowed them to purchase yet other lands and châteaux :

The Goods under the July Monarchy

The act of donation-partage of 7 August 1830

On 7 August 1830, two days before his accession to the throne, Louis-Philippe d'Orléans passed, in the presence of his notary, Jean-Antoine-Philippe Dentend,[1] an act of "donation-partage" of his "biens patrimoniaux" to avoid them being reunited with the crown lands on his accession, according to the custom of ancient law. In this way, only the apanage d'Orléans was apportioned, in 1830, to the crown lands.

In 1826, when he coveted the throne of Greece, Louis-Philippe envisaged making a "donation-partage", a project taken up and completed in 1830. By this act, the duke of Orléans transmitted to his children the "nue-propriété" of his personal property, all the while reserving his usufruct of it.

Acquisitions under the July monarchy


French Republic

After King Louis Philippe I had died in exile in Claremont House, Surrey, in 1850, his property in the French Second Republic was split between his many children and grandchildren. All male members of the House of Orléans were exiled from France by law between 1886 and 1950. When Henri, Count of Paris (1908–1999), returned to France in 1950, he didn't find much property left, except for a few castles which produced no income. Having 11 children and divorcing his wife, he decided, in 1974, to transfer the most important family assets to a family foundation, Fondation Saint-Louis, in order to save them from future inheritance distribution and taxes.[2] The respective head of the House of Orléans is honorary chairman of the foundation. Its assets comprise Château d'Amboise (with a family museum), the Château de Bourbon-l'Archambault and the Château de Dreux (private residence), with the Chapelle royale de Dreux, the necropolis of the Orléans royal family. He sold further property, resulting in legal action by his sons, and still died heavily in debt in 1999.


  1. Dentend was an illegitimate child of a younger brother of Louis-Philippe, Antoine d'Orléans (1775-1807), duc de Montpensier.
  2. Website Fondation Saint-Louis (fr.)
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