Le Grand Duc was originally the house of the Director of the « Compagnie des mines d’Anzin »,first coal mine company created in France (you are here at
the very beginning of the french industrial revolution of the XIXth Century
The founding act was signed in the Castle of Hermitage, in the forest of Bonsecours in Condé sur Escaut (where from probably the name of Avenue de Condé).
Émile Zola visited the Company and placed there the action of his novel Germinal.
So come to an end three centuries of history in the area The family De Croÿ which reigned over French and Belgian Hainaut since the Middle Age, made her fortune again with the coal industry.
It allowed the Duke of Croÿ to embellish this magnificent and underestimated castle (private property today, but that you can discover during one of the numerous hikes proposed by the Regional Natural Reserve Scarpe Escaut)
Fascinated of botany and Art of gardens, Duke de Croÿ invented for his castle, a concept which spread out in all Europe: the forest « garden » , the example of which we find the most known in France is Le Bois de Boulogne in Paris