Ferme d’Orsonville – History

Ferme d’Orsonville, Looking back in time…

The first known mention of Orsonville goes back to 1255 when Hughes de la Grange sells the estate to the newly founded Abbaye Royale du Lys. From then on, and for nearly 400 years, the nuns of the Lys will do their best to run the farm until 1624 when they decide to rent it to farmers.

At the beginning of the 18th century, a description tells us that the farm, consists of housing for the farmers, large attics, stables, cowsheds, sheepfolds, a dairy, two big barns, pigsties.

In 1882, the Le Blanc de Châtauvillard, owners, decide to build the whole farm anew (the one that you can still see today), a construction site so big that the family goes bankrupt. In 1884, 123 years after her great-grand-father bought the estate, the baronness du Port looses everything, the property being confiscated by the Civil Court of Melun.

The Orsonville domain consists, at the time, of 308 hectares of land, fields and woods, abounding in game hunting. In July 1884, it becomes the property, along with land and various buildings in the village of Villiers-en-Bière of Thérèse and Frédéric Humbert whose « ghost fortune », an imaginary American inheritance, will lead to what is still called today the Greatest Swindle of the Century.

The Humbert scandal shakes the French financial world and thousands of little investors are ruined, among them, the in-laws of the famous painter Henri Matisse. All the Humbert’s properties are confiscated and among them, the Orsonville domain. It is eventually auctioned in August 1902 and bought for 402 000 francs by Jean-François Pellissier, who has built a flourishing business in selling artificially colored feathers for fashion.

From then on, the farm is rented to a long line of farmers until 1978 when Jacques Pellissier, grandson of Jean-François, decides to take on agriculture himself until retirement in 2000. At the time, nobody lives on the farm but it all changes when Christian, Jacques’ son takes over and transforms the west wing of the building, where hay used to be stored into guest rooms ans seminar rooms in 2007

In 2015, a former stable is transformed into a comfortable accomodation for 6 to 8 people, with a large living room, a modern kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a laundry room and a jacuzzi. Handicapped persons are welcome.

The pond, next to the farm has been rehabilitated and it now collects rainwater to be used for sanitary purposes like toilets and washing machines. All the premises are heated with cereals produced on the farm as fuel.

Today, Orsonville grows cereals on 120 hectares surrounded by a hundred hectares of woods and moors, where hunters have a great time during hunting season.