Essential Architecture-  Loire Valley Châteaux

Château d'Ussé


Jacques d’Espinay


Loire Valley, north-western France.




French Renaissance  the Flamboyant Gothic style is mixed with new Renaissance motifs


Stone (the castle Charles Perrault had in mind when writing "Sleeping Beauty")


  The Middle Courtyard
  Sculptures along front of chapel
  The town of Usse from the Chateau
The Château d'Ussé is located in the commune of Rigny-Ussé in the Indre-et-Loire département, in France. An 11th century stronghold first fortified by the Norman lord of Ussé, Gueldin de Saumur who surrounded the fort with a palissade on a high terrace at the edge of the Chinon forest overlooking the Indre Valley. The site passed to the Comte de Blois, who rebuilt in stone.

In the fifteenth 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 1456 and began rebuilding it in the 1460s; 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 1485, 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 1538, in which the Flamboyant Gothic style is mixed with new Renaissance motifs, and began the process of rebuilding the fifteenth-century château that resulted in the sixteenth-seventeenth century aspect of the structure to be seen today.

In the seventeeenth 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. The tradition maintained at Ussé is that this was the castle Charles Perrault had in mind when writing "Sleeping Beauty". Later Ussé passed to the Rohan. In 1807 Ussé was purchased by the duc de Duras; here François-René de Chateaubriand worked on his Mémoires d' Outre-Tombe as the Duchess's guest.

In 1885 the comtesse de la Rochejacquelin bequeathed Ussé to her great-nephew, the comte de Blacas. Today the château belongs to his descendent.


Château d'Ussé website
Château d'Ussé