Château d'Anet

Anet, France

The Château d'Anet is a château built by Philibert de l'Orme from 1547 to 1552 for Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of Henry II of France. It was a gift from the king and was built on the former château at the center of the domains of Diane's deceased husband, Louis de Brézé, seigneur d'Anet, Marshal of Normandy and Master of the Hunt.

The château is especially noted for its exterior, notably the statues of Diane de Poitiers as Diana, goddess of the hunt, by Jean Goujon and the relief by Benvenuto Cellini over the portal. Anet was the site of one of the first Italianate parterre gardens centered on the building's facade in France; the garden-designer in charge was Jacques Mollet, who trained his son at Anet, Claude Mollet, destined to become royal gardener to three French kings.

The château was built partly upon the foundations and cellar vaults of a feudal castle that had been dismantled by Charles V and was subsequently rebuilt as a Late Gothic manor of brick and stone.

The château was not pillaged during the French Revolution, but Diane de Poitiers' remains were removed to a pauper's ditch in the parish cemetery and the rich contents of the château, which were the property of King Louis XVI's cousin, Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, duc de Penthièvre, were sold at auction as biens nationals. A large part of the château was subsequently demolished, but only after Alexandre Lenoir was able to salvage some architectural elements for his Musée des monuments français ( presently situated in the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris). The elements were reinstalled at Anet after World War II.

The restoration of the château itself, in pitiable condition, was due to comte Adolphe de Caraman, who purchased it in 1840 and undertook a colossal program of restoration. In 1851, the minister of the interior granted Anet the status of a monument historique. Under financial duress, Caraman sold the château in 1860 to Ferdinand Moreau, who continued the restoration, purchasing furnishings and works of art that were thought to be originally from the château. The set of tapestry hangings woven for the château, in Paris, to cartoons by Jean Cousin, forming a History of Diana in compliment to Diane de Poitiers, is now widely scattered; it set a precedent for suites of Diana-themed tapestries that remained popular into the 18th century.

The free-standing chapel of Anet, built in 1549-1552, is designed on a centralized Greek cross floor plan under a diagonally-coffered dome. Its facade has a porch of widely-spaced paired Ionic columns between towers crowned by pyramidal spires.In 1581, Henri III and his mother Catherine de' Medici came to the chapel to attend the baptism of the infant son of Charles, duc d'Aumale. There is also the mortuary chapel, built according to Diane de Poitiers' last wishes to contain her tomb, commissioned from Claude de Foucques by Diane's daughter, the Duchesse d'Aumale.

The property belonged to many of Louis XIV's descendants: Louise-Françoise de Bourbon died here in 1743, she was a daughter of the famous illegitimate son of Louis XIV the Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, duc du Maine. His sons the prince des Dombes and comte d'Eu lived here when away from Versailles. It was later owned by the fabulously wealthy duc de Penthièvre, first cousin of the prince and the comte. The castle was used as a filming location in the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball and 1976 film The Pink Panther Strikes Again.

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Founded: 1547-1552
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

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4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rodrigo Diz (3 years ago)
An incredible historical DNA of France!!!
Evgeny Tilezhinsky (3 years ago)
Nice place. The access to the garden is closed. You get a chance to see the interiors of the palace and the chapel and I found the price of the ticket to be a bit high. If you are I the area anyway it is worth making the trip.
richard wiseman (4 years ago)
We did.nt go in...but the setting and building from the outside was stunning.wish i.d gone in now but was with a party of motorcyclists...ps..the roads nearby are very good.
Geraldine Morris (4 years ago)
Nice chateau featured in bond movie
Debuisne Michele (4 years ago)
Wonderful guided tour of Diane de Poitiers castle
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