The recent story of Louis Albert de Broglie is very much linked with his interaction with the Château de la Bourdaisière that he bought with his brother in 1991.
After a 7 year career in banking that took him from London, to a couple of years in India and long trips to Latin America, it was stepping in La Bourdaisière’s XIX° vegetable garden of this Loire valley (*) Estate that inspired him to change the course of his commitments.
Immediately he was interested in growing ancient vegetables and fruits that led friends to call him ‘Le Prince Jardinier’. In 1995, he launched a collection of elegant garden tools and accessories called after his nickname !. Using natural material, fibres, he redesigned old vintage objects which became the state of the art of a ‘gardening art de vivre collection’ that was sold worldwide from Bergdorf & Goodman in NY to Harrods in London, to Takashimaya in Tokyo.
From clothes, the Prince and his Princess (the extremely beautiful Françoise) also design garden furniture and a whole line of food products, perfumes and candles….
In 1995, the Tomato collection went to 300 varieties and was listed by the CCVS (Conservatoire Français des Collections Végétales Spécialisées), to later become the National Conservatory with today 650 varieties being cultivated and display to the public. As Louis Albert de Broglie likes to stress to visitors, it is the expression of biodiversity that needs to be scrutinized, learnt in order to be protected and transmitted to the future generations.
In 2001, Louis Albert was able to buy Deyrolle, the last Natural Science company, started in 1831 and about to collapse. Known for its amazing collection of stuffed animals, butterflies, shells and minerals, a mini Musem, a Cabinet de Curiosités, the last of its kind in the middle of a city, right in Paris, rue du Bac, Deyrolle was being renovated step by step and housed again thousand and thousand of incredible specimen which people, artists, collectors, children or matured amateurs were visiting as one of the jewels of the capital.
On the 1st of February 2008, a terrible fire destroyed most of Deyrolle, putting in jeopardy this newly renovated historical house. Once again, Louis Albert de Broglie decided to save it, and helped by a massive group of people and companies (Hermes, Gallimard, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Jardiland), 50 artists managed to do 88 pieces of art that, thanks to the auction house Christies, were sold on November 13, 2008 with tremendous success. This contribution will help to rebuild the entomology room and its cabinets that included 240 butterflies and coleopters drawings.
Louis Albert de Broglie also launched a series of posters to teach to all age groups, how to protect the earth under a collection called ‘Deyrolle pour l’Avenir’, based on the principle ‘of an image is worth a thousand words’. This principle of teaching made the reputation of Deyrolle worldwide in between 1860 to 1960, in five languages (French, Spanish, Portugese, Arabic, English), and today Deyrolle was appointed by the French government to set up the way to make people aware both by way of posters and interactive systems. All the messages on biodiversity, alternative energies, sustainable construction, bio food and health issues, water and air preservation are all conducted under a scientific committee recognized by UNESCO, French Ministry of Environment etc…
In November 2008, Louis Albert de Broglie bought back his brothers’ shares in Le Château de la Bourdaisière in order to transform the Estate into a prime example of eco renovation of an historical monument and lead the way to a sustainable management example for both the hotel and garden and the park. The Princess is in charge of the decoration, which will obviously be the transcended mix of Le Prince Jardinier, Deyrolle and their common curiosity.
(*)called ‘le Jardin de la France’