Here are the main dates of his life:
…whether in the room that has kept the bed where he was born, the chapel in which he was baptized or even the small “nanny’s house”, located at the foot of the walls, where his all early years of youth.
Since 2015, three hundred years after the writer’s death, a permanent exhibition has been devoted to him and has been displayed in the interiors of the fortress open to the public. Bringing together works of art, first editions and documents from the archives and the reserves of the castle, it invites you to follow the fabulous journey that led him from the family home to the court of Versailles, as close as possible to the Sun King, then to the Cambresian lands where the people of the North will celebrate him as a saint.
The exhibition also wishes to highlight the substantial legacy that Fénelon leaves in many fields: political, philosophical, literary, religious. A legacy which is first and foremost that of a free man who never gave in to the baseness of courtesy and who fought all his life against absolutism and the pride of the powerful.
Fénelon also appears as the anti-Machiavelli because according to him, there is no politics without morality and without constant respect for the Common Good.
You will also be able to discover through the windows punctuating the exhibition the true veneration surrounding Fénelon after his death and emanating from all classes of society. The number of objects – humble or precious – produced in his effigy for more than two hundred years testifies to this.
If there is one book whose success alone sums up the considerable posthumous glory of Fénelon, it is of course his masterpiece, Les Aventures de Télémaque. Indeed, the work was still, two centuries after its first publication in 1699, the most published and translated of all French literature.
Initially designed for the education of princes, it very quickly became one of the main popular instruction books at the same time as one of the bases of classical European culture. The Adventures of Télémaque have marked literature and influenced generations of writers, from Montesquieu to Aragon via Rousseau, Chateaubriand or Stendhal. They have also inspired other artistic fields such as opera with Telemachus by Scarlatti in 1718, painting by interesting the greatest artists like Boucher or David, or even the decorative arts as evidenced by the wide variety of works of art. decorated with scenes from the book.
In 2018, the Ministry of Culture awarded the Château de Fénelon the label “Maison des illustrés” for the setting up of this exhibition, the fruit of several decades of tireless research to constitute an unprecedented fund on the life, work and the posterity of the great man.
The ultimate goal is to create a museum dedicated to the writer in one of the wings of the castle.
The visit gives you access to the exteriors and furnished interiors of the castle as well as to the exhibition on the writer Fénelon. The route is carried out by means of explanatory panels.
We offer translations in English, Spanish, Dutch, German, Italian.