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.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1440s
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

The Retirees (44 days ago)
Stunning castle and apparently the source of inspiration for 'sleeping beauty'. Very easy parking immediately outside, and the views of the castle are terrific. We didn't go inside as it was closed season, but thoroughly enjoyed admiring a truly impressive & romantic looking castle.
George C (3 months ago)
One of the most beautiful castles in the Loire Valley and certainly the most romantic. It still belongs to a princely family and, if you are lucky, you may just cross the Prince and Duke of Blacas around the delightful gardens. The castle was one of the major real-life locations which inspired Disney castles and also the author of Sleeping Beauty. Children will absolutely love it as a result !! There is even a Sleeping Beauty trail with recreated scenes from the book in rooms under the roof. Exhibition of period clothes on mannequin in the rooms gives it a Downton Abbey feel and renders the room more interesting. When we visited there were log fires roaring in the huge fireplaces and fresh flowers in almost every room....a dream!
覃羿彬 (4 months ago)
The facade of the chateau is very impressive, the garden is great too, however, I need to deduct one star because of the bizarre human figures arranged in each and every room (even the stairway!) The period clothes of the figures are not in medieval or renaissance style, rather, the 1920s or around, not sure why they want to spoil the otherwise lovely rooms and interior. The sleeping beauty tower is fun, but perhaps you need to be a child to really appreciate the style deployed in recreating the famous fairytale.
markas potter (5 months ago)
An impressive building with well maintained gardens but a rather faded internal exhibition. Interesting but the 14 euro entrance fee led me to expect more.
Ivor BJ (6 months ago)
Absolutely splendid chateau, with a wonderful child friendly tableau of Sleeping Beauty through numerous rooms and areas of the chateau. The grandchildren were enthralled! Highly recommended, for children of any age, from 4 to 90! Well done!!!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral is a large brick-built Lutheran cathedral in Lübeck, Germany and part of the Lübeck UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1173 Henry the Lion founded the cathedral to serve the Diocese of Lübeck, after the transfer in 1160 of the bishop's seat from Oldenburg in Holstein under bishop Gerold. The then Romanesque cathedral was completed around 1230, but between 1266 and 1335 it was converted into a Gothic-style building with side-aisles raised to the same height as the main aisle.

On the night of Palm Sunday (28–29 March) 1942 a Royal Air Force bombing raid destroyed a fifth of the town centre. Several bombs fell in the area around the church, causing the eastern vault of the quire to collapse and destroying the altar which dated from 1696. A fire from the neighbouring cathedral museum spread to the truss of the cathedral, and around noon on Palm Sunday the towers collapsed. An Arp Schnitger organ was lost in the flames. Nevertheless, a relatively large portion of the internal fittings was saved, including the cross and almost all of the medieval polyptychs. In 1946 a further collapse, of the gable of the north transept, destroyed the vestibule almost completely.

Reconstruction of the cathedral took several decades, as greater priority was given to the rebuilding of the Marienkirche. Work was completed only in 1982.

The cathedral is unique in that at 105 m, it is shorter than the tallest church in the city. This is the consequence of a power struggle between the church and the guilds.

The 17 m crucifix is the work of the Lübeck artist Bernt Notke. It was commissioned by the bishop of Lübeck, Albert II. Krummendiek, and erected in 1477. The carvings which decorate the rood screen are also by Notke.

Since the war, the famous altar of Hans Memling has been in the medieval collection of the St. Annen Museum, but notable polyptychs remain in the cathedral.

In the funeral chapels of the southern aisle are Baroque-era memorials by the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus.