Studio stories: France’s Château d’Hérouville, the castle where Bowie, Iggy, Elton John and Pink Floyd hung out

The glory days of high-end recording studios were in the 70s and 80s. While some of them have survived, many have closed, crushed by shrinking record label budgets and the high cost of upkeep and refurbishment.

One casualty was Château d’Hérouville, a castle in the French countryside near Paris where many legendary records were made. takes a look.

Looking at this 18th-century castle, it’s hard to imagine that it once housed one of the most well-known recording studios in all of France. From Pink Floyd to David Bowie, from the Bee Gees to even Iggy Pop, several internationally renowned artists chose the Château d’Hérouville for their recordings in the 1970s.

Today we decided to dig into the history of this unmissable landmark for both music and recording history. Pack your bags—we’re headed to the tiny village of Hérouville-en-Vexin, just 40 kilometers northwest of Paris.

The year is 1740, and what was once the ruins of a 16th-century abode has now been reimagined and rebuilt into a big, imposing mansion. Keep passing through the ages, and the Château d’Hérouville undergoes several identity changes. It was once a resort, a courier relay station, and it even housed the likes of writer George Sand and composer Frédéric Chopin during their love affair.

Now cut forward to the beginning of the 1960s, where the story of the studio begins. The castle’s new owner, film composer Michel Magne, decided to buy the place along with a friend with the dream of transforming it into their personal workspace.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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