Château de la Côte
THE ABANDONED CASTLE IN FRANCE
‘Château de la Côte’ is one of the outbuildings of ‘Château Menier’ which in reality was called ‘Tournebride’. The French castle was built in 1913 for George Menier, a famous chocolate industrialist. It was designed by architect Charles Léon Stephen Sauvestre.
The Menier estate included two main buildings that are still in use today. Near the old entrance porch are the abandoned keeper’s house, Château de la Côte and the old stables.
During the Second World War, Nazi Germany occupied the castle. They started the only Lebensborn in France, here in the castle. It was inaugurated in February 1944 by Heinrich Himmler. This Lebensborn was a maternity hospital that housed French, Dutch, Belgian, or Norwegian women that were pregnant from SS officers. The goal was to create Aryan children with persons classified as ‘racially pure’ and ‘healthy’. A few months after their birth, their baby was sent to Germany for adoption.
‘Château de la Côte’ is where the members of the Schutzpolizei lived, they were responsible for surveillance and security of the site. The mothers and newborns lived in ‘Château Menier’.
Since 1955 the castle is a rehabilitation center for children. It is managed by the Red Cross, which became the owner of the premises in 1967. I visited the abandoned château in 2017.