Acquigny sits at the confluence of two rivers: the Eure, formerly navigable to Chartres, and the Iton. The two rivers were dammed and redirected during the twelfth century by the monks of Conches-en-Ouche to power mills in the region. These newly created branches also fed into the castle's moats protecting the Saint-mals monastery and the medieval village located directly behind the current castle.
During the Hundred Year's War, following the imprisonment of Charles II of Navarre in 1356, Acquigny played a notable role. Due its strategic importance it was an important stronghold for both English and French armies. The original castle was situated in the exact location as the current castle and was surrounded by high walls and wide ditches which flowed in the river Eure.
The present castle was built in 1557 by Anne de Laval, widow of Louis Silly, cousin of the king and first lady of honor Catherine de Medici. She wanted the architects Philibert Delorme and Jacques Androuet Hoop to design a castle inspired by the eternal love she bore for her husband. The castle's crest is made from their four initials intertwined. This influence produced a complex and a unique structure of rare elegance. On the center turret there is a superimposed scallop shell in tribute to the Way of St. James. This facade of honor is coated with many other decorative elements that celebrate the exceptional love she held for her family.
The castle was purchased in 1656 by Claude Roux Cambremont. In 1745, Peter Robert Roux Esneval, known as the President of Acquigny and the great grand son of Claude Roux Cambremont, expanded the castle. Peter Robert Roux Esneval employed architect Charles Thibault to rebuild the chapel of Saint-mals as well as stables and sheds. It was at this time that the orangery was built along with the church and the Little Castle that was designed to be attached to a hermitage.
The President of Acquigny was a deeply religious man. After rebuilding the church, he chose to live the remainder of his life as a hermit, while strictly adhering to his religious beliefs and the Grande Trappe. From the pavilion end, he could attend services celebrated in the church. The architecture of this construction is simple, and harmonious. The play of colors - Blue slate and pink brick pink set on white stone - and symmetry play an essential role in the beauty and balance of this monument.
The vast park created during the 17th century follows a circular route. The forest is filled with large chestnut trees over two hundred years old and drawing comparison stopping at a vegetable garden, the orangery and there are around the vegetable, the general route of the water body perpendicular, but the rows of trees and flower beds are symmetrical disappeared. However, beautiful limes or large chestnuts who have freed themselves from their geometric shape beautify the wood. Two major elements, the garden and orangery, regained some of their former glory.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.