Nemours is a stunning 200-acre estate that boasts a 77-room French neoclassical-style chateau, with a large two-story structure, wings on both sides, terraces and verandas, and a brick pergola around the entrance. The mansion is a magnificent example of late 19th century Beaux Arts architecture.
The estate is deeply entrenched in American history and philanthropy, being built in 1910 by the American businessman and philanthropist Alfred I. duPont. duPont, from one of the wealthiest families in America, lived there with his first wife Jessie and then his second wife Alicia duPont Scott. The estate hosted various guests over the years, including presidents Calvin Coolidge and Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as other members of the powerful duPont family.
Architect Horace Trumbauer designed Nemours, completed in 1910. The house incorporates a number of design elements, such as a gracious entry hall, a sweeping marble staircase, ornate fireplaces, and beautiful antiques. Notable features of the interior include vaulted ceilings, elaborate woodwork, intricate plaster and stone details, as well as custom-crafted furniture.
The mansion is also home to a number of historical artifacts, including furniture and artwork from the duPont family. Notable furnishings and antiques inside Nemours Mansion include an 18th-century Louis XV suite, a 16th-century German buffet, a 17th-century English dining table, a 19th-century French marble mantelpiece, and a custom-made Steinway piano. The chateau also has a variety of original fine art throughout, including paintings by John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt and Renoir.
The estate not only holds a wealth of history, but is also surrounded by stunning ‘jardin à la française’ formal gardens, including classical sculptures, fountains, terraces, reflecting pools and a variety of rare plants.
The mansion is surrounded by 200 acres of magnificent gardens, which feature a variety of formal and informal gardens, including an impressive rose garden and a large collection of trees and statuary. Visitors to the gardens can also take a stroll through the walled garden, a romantic setting that is filled with a variety of exotic plants and flowers.
In fact, visitors often plan photo shoots there. We encountered a lovely engaged couple taking engagement photos in one garden. In another, we enjoyed watching a bachelorette party, all gaily dressed in vibrant tropical flower print dresses, take a number of photos.
Visiting the Nemours estate is both a humbling and enriching experience, reminding us of the grandeur of America’s past and the philanthropy of its people. The estate’s beauty and its history make it a must-see destination and a piece of American history that one should not miss.
Know Before You Go
After his death in 1935, Alfred I. duPont’s will donated the Nemours estate to the Nemours Foundation, a non-profit organization which now operates the estate as both a historical landmark and a children’s hospital. The Nemours Foundation offers guided tours of the estate which allows visitors to learn more about the history of the house and the philanthropic spirit of Alfred I. duPont.
In the summer, visitors can also enjoy outdoor concerts, festivals, and other events.
Follow these tips to get the best experience during your visit:
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking.
- Bring your camera to capture the beauty of the gardens and the grounds.
- Bring a hat and sunscreen in case of sunny weather.
- Plan your visit in advance to ensure you don’t miss any of the attractions.
- If you plan to picnic, make sure to check the rules and regulations before doing so.
Getting there: 1600 Rockland Rd, Wilmington, DE. Please note that the entrance is located on the campus of Nemours Children’s Health, follow signs for Nemours Estate.
Hours: Open April 1st – December 30th, Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Website: the mansion
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