Château d'Usse

Rigny-Ussé, France

The Château d'Ussé stronghold at the edge of the Chinon forest overlooking the Indre Valley was first fortified in the 11th century by the Norman seigneur of Ussé, Gueldin de Saumur, who surrounded the fort with a palisade on a high terrace. The site passed to the Comte de Blois, who rebuilt in stone.

In the 15th century, the ruined castle of Ussé was purchased by Jean V de Bueil, a captain-general of Charles VII who became seigneur of Ussé in 1431 and began rebuilding it in the 1440s; his son Antoine de Bueil married in 1462 Jeanne de Valois, the natural daughter of Charles VII and Agnès Sorel, who brought as dowry 40000 golden écus. Antoine was heavily in debt and in 1455, sold the château to Jacques d’Espinay, son of a chamberlain to the Duke of Brittany and himself chamberlain to the king; Espinay built the chapel, completed by his son Charles in 1612, in which the Flamboyant Gothic style is mixed with new Renaissance motifs, and began the process of rebuilding the 15th-century château that resulted in the 16th-17th century aspect of the structure to be seen today.

In the seventeenth century Louis I de Valentinay, comptroller of the royal household, demolished the north range of buildings in order to open the interior court to the spectacular view over the parterre terrace, to a design ascribed to André Le Nôtre. Valentinay's son-in-law was the military engineer Vauban, who visited Ussé on numerous occasions. Later Ussé passed to the Rohan. In 1802 Ussé was purchased by the duc de Duras; as early as March 1813, low-key meetings were held at Ussé among a group of Bourbon loyalists, who met to sound out the possibilities of a Bourbon Restoration: such men as Trémouille, duc de Fitzjames, the prince de Polignac, Ferrand, Montmorency and the duc de Rochefoucault attended. Here later François-René de Chateaubriand worked on his Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe as the guest of duchesse Claire de Duras.

In 1885 the comtesse de la Rochejaquelein bequeathed Ussé to her great-nephew, the comte de Blacas. Today the château belongs to his descendent. Famed for its picturesque aspect, Ussé was the subject of a French railroad poster issued by the Chemin de Fer de Paris à Orléans in the 1920s and was one of several that inspired Walt Disney in the creation of many of the Disney Castles.

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Details

Founded: 1440s
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Valois Dynasty and Hundred Year's War (France)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Frederic St-Onge (9 months ago)
Castle definitely worth the detour. It is super photogenic and amazing to look at. I love the part where you visit the castle and follow the story of sleeping beauty. Just make sure to pay attention to the signs or you will not do the story in the right order. The castle itself is nice, but there is not a lot to see in it. The owners still live in it so access is somewhat restricted. Outside the castle, there are a few other places to visit, but they don’t take a long time. Overall, happy I did it and would do again.
Ricky Clark (10 months ago)
This is again another lovely Chateau from the Lourie Valley. Parked just outside, plenty of space most days. We got there at 9.30 so we could park the motorhome under a tree. There was a sign advising against it, but it looked OK and it was a hot day. I suspect I would have not if it was windy. You can walk around most parts with the dog. Not a great deal to see in the actual chateau but loads of other places to look around and still lovely gardens.
Oana Leanca (11 months ago)
A castle from the fairytales. Follow the sleeping beauty story and learn lots of history in this very nice castle, with a beautiful garden and old chapel. Across the castle, near the parking lot, you can take a break with some good food or just a coffee. Put d'Ussé on the list while visiting Loire.
Michelle Mitton (2 years ago)
Not quite as open as Chateau Villandry, but this is also a chateau we really enjoyed. It's in a lovely setting with a moat and bridge leading up to it. There aren't that many rooms for public view but the chapel on the grounds is beautiful. They have a terrific display of costumes set up throughout that makes it nice and they also allow you down to the absolute bottom part down in the foundations that is cool and spooky
Mandy my PHN (2 years ago)
The castle is full of history, and the Sleeping Beauty tower is one of their highlights and it would be interesting for children. Their garden was very pretty even in September, and there were still lots of nice flowers blooming. It is definitely worth the visit. It wasn’t too crowded in September, and there were plenty of nice photo spots. What a lovely castle!
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