The Maisons-Laffitte racecourse

The first races were held at Maisons-Laffitte in 1833 at the initiative of Jacques Laffitte and his nephew Charles and the praises of the site were then sung by Thomas Bryon in the first French Racing Calendar. However, the construction of a large racecourse with a permanent grandstand and a weighing pavilion would wait until 1878, year of the World Expo. Himself the sponsor of these improvements, Joseph Oller organised the international races during all the events. The architecture of these stands still belongs to the first generation of racecourses: simple terraces covered by a wide canopy supported by cast-iron columns decorated only by lambrequins.

Under the leadership of Marcel Boussac, the current racecourse was built between 1970 and 1972, becoming at the time "Europe's most modern", with a capacity for 3,500 standing places and 2,500 seats with three, 3,650 m² halls, six rooms and a panoramic restaurant.

In 1902 a new racecourse built by André Raimbert was inaugurated. From the stands to the most modest pavilions at the centre of the lawn, the architect adopted Norman neo-regionalism throughout. With half-timbered masonry walls in vertical, horizontal combinations, multiple-pitch roofs and picturesque finials, the entire structure offers a fine example of equestrian architecture with a vernacular bent – probably inspired by the stands of the Fouilleuse racecourse in Saint-Cloud. Under the leadership of Marcel Boussac, the current racecourse was built between 1970 and 1972, becoming at the time "Europe's most modern", on par with Newmarket: the architecture firms Are Leriche, Milanovic and Lizero designed a building with a capacity for 3,500 standing places and 2,500 seats with three, 3,650 m² halls, six rooms and a panoramic restaurant.

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