Located in the Department of Seine-et-Marne (île de France), the Campus for Transition is established in the domain of Forges. With its park and eighteenth century castle, the domain is a pedagogical eco-site under construction.
An area embedded in a local ecosystem
The estate is located in the commune of Forges (77130), one hour southeast of Paris by public transport. A rural commune of 430 inhabitants, Forges is located in the countryside of Montereau-Fault-Yonne, in the heart of the Brie agricultural region and not far from the Fontainebleau forest.
In addition to the Campus for Transition, the 11-hectare Park is home to a learning center dedicated to horse-related professions (UFA). The Campus for Transition comprises the castle, the former college and “commons”, as well as old buildings formally stables that have been transformed into classrooms and communal dorms. The grounds include a lawn and vegetable garden to the south of the castle, meadows used by the UFA, an orchard and a wood to the north of the castle.
An educational eco-Site under construction
Although in relatively good condition considering that it has been unoccupied for several years, the castle and other buildings require important restoration to live up to the ecological values embodied by the Campus for Transition. The site is in full conversion thanks to the mobilization of volunteers and the launch of several major projects, and aims to become an eco-site exemplifying the ecological and social transition.
This large-scale and profound transformation is also an opportunity to study through experience the ecological conversion of a significant historical site. Particular attention is paid to the overall coherence of the site in relation to the Campus for Transition’s vocation and territorial anchoring, using among other permaculture tools with specialist support.
The Campus for Transition joined in 2018 the Oasis project, which supports the creation of places of life and resource for a more ecological and human society.
A place of history
The first attested traces of a seigneurial estate at the site of the present castle of Forges date back to the Middle Ages, with the existence of “forgis“. Then a relatively modest construction, the estate passed from hand to hand and was completely redesigned under Louis XV with the construction of a low courtyard and buildings of the “common”.
It was in the eighteenth century that the castle took its present appearance for the central part, before two lateral wings were added in the ninetieth century.
“the community of the Sisters of the Assumption put the castle and a large part of the park at the disposal of the Transition Campus, to perpetuate its educational vocation.”
Acquired by the Essig family in 1929, it was given in 1949 to the community of the Sisters of the Assumption to make it a place of Education. Until the years 2000, the place was a horticultural high school and a learning center for horse-related professions (UFA), before the activities of the high school ailed and the latter closed. In 2018, the community of the Sisters of the Assumption put the castle and a large part of the park at the disposal of the Campus for Transition, to perpetuate the site’s educational vocation.