At the time of Romanticism, the manor house of the Château des Roches belonged to Bertin l’Ainé (1776-1841), patron of the arts and director of the magazine the Journal des Débats

From 1815 to 1841 Bertin’s literary salon attracted the most eminent figures in the world of politics and arts : Chateaubriand, Berlioz, Ingres, Liszt… Chateaubriand, who was a long-time friend of the Bertin family, would call on them from the Vallée-aux-Loups.

Louis-François Bertin by Ingres

The most renowned guest was indisputably Victor Hugo, who stayed at the Château des Roches whenever he could. Hugo, along with his wife and children, would take a stage coach at the Place des Vosges (then Place Royale) to Sceaux where a connection took them to Bièvres.

Victor Hugo by Léon Noël, 1832

They were at home at the Château. The poet would go out alone to write or to take a walk in the green valley of the Bièvre river, or in the woods of Verrières. During his stays at the manor house, he wrote several poems which were published in Les Feuilles d’automneLes Chants du crépusculeLes Voix intérieures and Les Rayons et les ombres.

Léopoldine, Adèle, Charles and François-Victor. Drawing by Adèle Hugo