Christopher Forbes & Chateau De Balleroy
Château de Balleroy, acquired in 1970 by Christopher Forbes’s father, Malcolm Forbes of the Forbes publishing empire, has hosted innumerable international business leaders, artists, celebrities and prominent heads of state.
Château de Balleroy, a seventeenth-century ch.teau in Balleroy, Normandy, France, built from 1626 to 1636, is registered as a historical monument by the French government. Designed by architect, Fran.ois Mansart, the castle is an architectural gem. Built in schist and pierre de Caen with brick chimneys, it consists of a central pavilion topped by a roof lantern and two lower wings. Other structures are set around the gardens. One of the pavilions hosts Malcolm Forbes’ Balloon Museum, containing documents on the Montgolfier brothers. The garden is listed as one of the 300 most beautiful gardens in France, 'Jardins Remarquables', by the French Ministry of Culture, and was designed by Henri Duchene, inspired by the designs of Andr. le N.tre, Louis XIV’s gardener. According to many historians, the Ch.teau de Balleroy inspired the construction of the Ch.teau de Versailles. Before the Forbes family’s arrival, the Ch.teau boasted well-known occupants such as Fran.ois-Timol.on (son of Jean III de Choisy), Princess Fran.oise de Blacas, and Albert de Balleroy (19th century animal painter and friend of Eduard Manet). Novelist, critic and essayist Marcel Proust visited the castle, as did painter Paul Helleu. Malcolm Forbes took part in the Liberation, falling in love with the Ch.teau de Balleroy before buying it.
Christopher Forbes, who received the Insignia of Officer in the Legion of Honour on behalf of the President of France in recognition of his devotion to French culture and his daily commitment to French- American cooperation and friendship, is currently Vice Chairman of FORBES Media LLC. Christopher Forbes is a successful businessman who has always been interested in art and collecting. From the beginning, he worked with his father on the lengthy and extensive restoration of the Château. He was with his father when he decided to purchase Balleroy. Being the only member of the family to speak French, and given his passion for French history, it was quite natural that Christopher Forbes should oversee the Château’s gradual restoration and refurbishment. Christopher Forbes is a committed patron of the arts, highly appreciative of French elegance and refinement. The most challenging part of the renovations were adding electricity, plumbing and heating to such a historic structure, as well as updating elements such as internet access. “One wants to enjoy the 17th century environment with the comforts of the 20th and 21st centuries”, admits Forbes, who is very committed to ensuring the future of the castle for generations to come.
Christopher ‘Kip’ Forbes has successfully contributed to developing the family firm which was founded by his grandfather Bertie Charles Forbes in 1917. Today FORBES is internationally recognised for its Rich Lists and, above all, for supplying in-depth economic and financial analysis to the business world. A top honours graduate of Princeton with a Bachelors Degree in Art History, Christopher Forbes later received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from New Hampshire College. He has published several works on the famous eggs of Peter Carl Faberg. (his family had the world’s largest collection). He is active in several cultural associations: Princeton University Art Museum, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the National Jewelry Institute, American Friends of the Château de Compiègne, and, of course, American Friends of the Louvre. Each year, the Château welcomes thousands of visitors to discover the life of four centuries ago. They can climb the world’s first cantilevered staircase, admire a dovecote with 1,600 stone nests, and stroll through the gardens or walk to the former stables, which were transformed into the Balloon Museum by Malcolm Forbes, who was a world-renowned pilot and the first person to cross the United States in a single hot-air balloon.
Christopher Forbes also welcomes artists from around the world, who find inspiration there to create their art. Christopher Forbes has served as the Founding Chairman of the American Friends of the Louvre for more than a dozen years. Thanks to him, the Louvre has received significant funding, allowing it to welcome more visitors, enhance its collections and increase research programs. Forbes is considered one of the best ambassadors for one of France’s most cherished cultural treasures. Additionally, he established the International Council of the Louvre, supporting the Louvre’s international projects. Napoleon III and the Second Empire are another one of Christopher Forbes’s French passions, ever since his father gave him a portrait of Napoleon III for his 16th birthday. He has since become an expert on the life and work of Napoleon III. Christopher Forbes has an impressive collection of material relating to this key period in French history. He enjoys pointing out that Napoleon III, although a little-known political figure, occupied a unique position in history by being both the last French sovereign and the first democratically elected President of the Republic.