A dream came true with the purchase of the Château des Castaignes in Montmort, on the site known as La Demoiselle. Paul-François Vranken created a new cuvée of Vranken Champagne “La Demoiselle de Champagne”. A brilliant move! Its name is based on the French vernacular for the damselfly, an emblem for Lalique, Gallé and other major figures of the time. It was only natural that this first brut Champagne, in its special bottle, should become a moving tribute to Art Nouveau.
La Demoiselle celebrated its 20th anniversary. An abandoned Villa, at the foot of Domaine Pommery, was biding its time and patiently waiting for the man with a dream and a vision, the man who would bring the sparkle back to her eye, restore her former glory. It was love at first sight. Over a period of more than four years we brought in the greatest craftsmen, roofers, painters, decorators, joiners, master glass workers to serve her…
They all offered her their exceptional expertise,0 time stood still, they remained steadfast to their task. She is truly magnificent, quite exceptional, and the amount of time they all devoted to her was long, very long.
Sometimes, I am sure that they thought we were being unreasonable. Waiting for exactly the right marble for the fireplace, choosing the definitive colour for the ceiling, individually tooling the remaining wooden window uprights, restoring, fragment by fragment, the mosaic on the floor. And on and on and on.
And then one day, the ground floor of the Villa was finally revealed in all her new glory. Her warm colours with stained glass doors and immense bay windows looking out over the Pommery Domaine; that’s it, it’s finished!
We have always seen the Maison de Champagne as a showcase for the finest of talent. It provides a majestic setting for the magnificent collection of 20th century Champagne vintages: the Millésimes d’Or from the Vranken-Pommery Monopole collection, the first of which shares the same date of birth: 1907. And so it was quite natural that we should call on the finest talents of our times to help us accomplish this long and painstaking task.
And that is why, spurred on by Rémy Brazet, our outstanding upholsterer, we took the plunge and invited Les Grands Ateliers de France to mount a unique exhibition in Reims.
Paul-François VRANKEN, President of Champagne Vranken
Les Grands Ateliers de France, Network of Excellence
"Les Grands Ateliers de France is an exclusive association of great names and artisans in the field of the Decorative Arts and Art de Vivre. It was set up in 1993 by a group of artisans at the instigation of Jean Bergeron. The longevity of the association is a testament to the drive, high standards and independence of its members.
They number about fifty, and each is answerable for their shared values: meticulous work, attention to detail, and the passing on of the professional expertise and savoir faire which make their work what it is today.
The Grands Ateliers de France represent some seventy hand crafts and brings together workshops reputed for their endeavours in protecting heritage and also for their creativity and dynamic vision of the future creating the heritage of tomorrow.
The clientele of collectors and art lovers of these artisans appreciates not only their wealth of expertise but their individual personalities.
These artisans and creative artists, invited by Paul-François and Nathalie Vranken, show, through their mastery of their arts and their traditional savoir-faire, that they can step beyond the confines of their heritage and create a magical space where the art of living can enter a new dimension."
Gérard Desquand, President of Les Grands Ateliers de France