The Château de Beauregard is a Renaissance castle located on the territory of the commune of Cellettes. Most of the château was built around 1545, when it was bought by Jean du Thiers, Lord of Menars, and Secretary of State to Henri II. The commissioned interior included frescoes on the fireplace of the royal chamber, which have survived. In the Great Gallery there is a fireplace in Italian style from this period. However its main feature was commissioned by Paul Ardier, Comptroller of Wars and Treasurer, who bought the château in 1617. He added further interior decorations over the next few decades, including a gallery of portraits.
The castle is renowned for its Gallery of portraits decorated in the 17th century with 327 portraits of famous people. The gallery, the largest in Europe to have survived to our days, is the masterpiece of the castle: built during the first half of the 17th century at the request of Paul Ardier, it is 26 meters long, its pavement is entirely made of 5 500 Delftware tiles and its walls are decorated with 327 portraits of famous people having lived between 1328 (date of the beginning of the reign of Philippe VI of France) and 1643 (death of Louis XIII).
The French kings are depicted accompanied by portraits of their queens, ministers, marshals, diplomats etc. Apart from French personalities, other important historical people of 25 nationalities are represented. Marie Ardier, daughter of Paul Ardier, committed the decoration of the ceiling to the painter Jean Mosnier and its family. The blue color which dominates has been obtained by the use of lapis lazuli, one of the most precious and expensive mineral stones in the 17th century.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.