Château de Maintenon

Maintenon, France

The Château de Maintenon is best known as being the private residence of the second spouse of Louis XIV, Madame de Maintenon. The construction of the castle began in the 12th and ended roughly in the 18th century. In the early 16th century it was purchased by Louis XII's treasurer Jean Cottereau, who transformed the castle into a country house. In the 17th century it was rebuilt for Madame de Maintenon, who purchased the estate in 1675.

The château's main features are the keep, constructed in the 13th century, and the principal corps de logis, flanked by two round towers. The east and west wings frame a cour d'honneur, beyond which is the moat filled by the waters of the Eure, and, beyond, the parterre and park. The picturesque massing of the varied towers and roofs pleased François-René de Chateaubriand who found its special character was like that of an abbey or an old town, "with its spires and steeples, grouped at hap-hazard".

At the far end of the gardens is the aqueduct known as the canal de Louis XIV, ordered by Louis XIV. Its colossal scale impressed Chateaubriand, who said that it was "a work worthy of the Caesars". It was constructed by the Marquis de Vauban between 1685 and 1690 in order to transport water from the Eure River to the gardens and fountains at the Château de Versailles. In the 18th century there was an orangerie constructed as well as stables.

The interior has been restored and furniture and decoration can be seen in several salons, a library and a billiard room. There is also a portrait gallery showing painting of the House of Noailles, who inherited the property at the death of Madame de Maintenon in 1718.

The main garden was designed by the famous André Le Nôtre who also worked at Versailles, Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Marly. The parterre has two interlacing "L"'s, in honour of Louis XIV. Two allées, given modern names in honour of Le Nôtre and Racine, border the Eure river.

At the far end, cutting through the gardens, is the aqueduct built from 1685 to supply the fountains of the park of the Palace of Versailles. The project meant that water was diverted from the Eure river some 80 km away. The arches of the structure reach a height of 60 feet. Vauban was in charge of the works.

The aqueduct had to have 47 arcades to the first row, 195 arcades to the second and 390 to the third one. The wars of Louis XIV prevented the work's completion.

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Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dominika Piecuch (3 years ago)
Beautiful place, with great garden and acces to aqueduct. You can see that people take care of this place really good.
Fiona Charonnat (3 years ago)
Clever idea to add 4 themes from Fontaine's fables in the gardens to get people visiting. As outdoor, easy to safe distance. Gardens are not big but visit was inexpensive and it was something different to do. It is a pity that the curfew means that the illuminations cannot be seen.
Yuriy Tyukhnin (3 years ago)
Nice castle to visit in Eure-et-Loir. Be sure to go to the aqueduc.
Morgan Walesh (4 years ago)
What a beautiful castle! The 45 minutes I sent wandering around the home of the sun king's mistress/secret wife were magic. This places needs some updating here and there (like all castles in French) but these vintage touches make it seem more authentic. I didn't feel like I was in a museum; I felt like I was in someone's home. There isn't much available as far as explaining what you see in the rooms which would have been nice, so do research before you come if this interests you. My only regrets were not coming on a nicer day, I would have loved to see the gardens more. We didn't have time to see the city itself, but you could really make an entire day or a full afternoon of visiting Maintenon since the castle is nestled right in the city. If you are looking for other castles in the area, I highly recommend Anet.
Al Quraishi Buthaina (4 years ago)
It was most interesting day to visit such a beautiful chateau in France not so far from Paris I can’t describe the place photos will prove it don’t miss it please visit this village such a small one but the Chateau is very lovely.
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