Chateau d’Anet, and Diane de Poitiers

I go back in memory time to write about an unique castle in the Eure et Loir dept 28 in Centre Val de Loire region , this is the Château d’Anet. It was ordered built in 1543 by king Henri II for Diane de Poitiers.

I had written a post on it back in early blog history of 2011; one of the gems recover from my vault, and extensive library on the history of France.

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/14/yvelines-beauties-and-the-eureloir-nearby/

The castle of Anet has lots of damage over the years and only exist today from the original a square in U or horseshoe in the left wing that was renovated in the 17C. After the French revolution, the new owner in 1804 had blown up the central body and the right wing of the castle; must have been a revolutionary…

Many of the wonderful objects here were transferred to Fontainebleau and the fine arts museum of Chartres. The engraving by Rigaud showing 14 busts decorating the exterior walls facing the garden were sent to the Library of Chartres and the archeological society of the Eure et Loir etc. By 1723, the princess de Condé inherit Anet but 171 manuscripts were sold to the library many belonging to Diane de Poitiers preserved after her death. Many more hand changing afterward to long to mention.

During WWI one of the owners since 1884 made it into an auxiliary hospital of the Red Cross; and the last owners have it since 1998.

The dept 28 tourist office has more on it in French here: http://www.tourisme28.com/visites/chateaux/234562-anet-chateau-danet

The tourist office for Anet is here in French: http://www.office-tourisme-anet.com/

The official site for the castle is here in French: http://www.chateaudanet.com/

The information on visiting is as such. From April 1st to October 31st every day except Saturday from 14-18h; November 1st to 30th and February 1st to March 31 only weekends from 14-17h. the castle is closed in January and reopen Saturday February 3rd 2018. Guided visit is obligatory. admission 9.20€ per adult . You can contact in English, French ,and Italian at email  anet@chateaudanet.com or tel +33 (0)2 37 41 90 07.

You can come by car from Paris leaving Porte Maillot and taking the A13 direction Rouen, go out at exit/sortie 12 towards Mantes Sud and follow the D928 all the way to Anet. By public transport is long but doable, get from Paris Gare Saint Lazare to Mantes-la-Jolie Mantes station by train and then bus 88 schedule now in pdf file here: https://www.vianavigo.com/fileadmin/fhp/LIGNE_88_Dreux_Mantes_Poissy.pdf

Now ,who was Diane de Poitiers? well she was born in 1499 in the castle of her grandfather Chateau de Saint Vallier that gave her the title of Countess of Valentinois and the shield of Poitiers. She was an able jockey and at an early age joined the court of Anne de Beaujeu and Louis XII. Maid of honor of the queen Anne and later of the future queen Claude (wife of François I) she assisted of his crowning in 1515. She married same year to Louis de Brézé, (40 yrs older) who was a grandson of King Charles VII of France. Louis de Brézé was Lord of Anet, Count of  Maulevrier, Seneschal of  Normandy and Master of the Hunt,  and she reach a nobility rank second only to a princess ,and choose to lived in Anet. Upon king François I death, the children are given for care to Diane in 1524.  Brief in 1531 her husband Louis de Blézé dies and she became known as the lady in black, wearing that color for a long period.

Called upon to the court again in 1533 to help Catherine de Medici into her new life in France and the French customs. She eventually becomes the lover of king Henri II by 1536-1537 thereabouts at the Chateau d’Ecouen, the favorite home of Anne de Montmorency. During their long relationship and ‘against-all-odds’ love, Henri and Diane created a love symbol that would be engraved all over Paris  even on Henri’s cannons. Their symbol contained two interwoven D’s with a line through the middle, forming an H. Even today, the symbol can be seen on the ceiling of the Louvre Museum, Fountainbleau, Chenonceaux, and the Paris Military Museum. Henry designed his own armor with the symbol  as a sign to France that his true love was not his wife, but Diane.

For her love and affection to the king and the help for Catherine de Medici to give him a child, she was given the castle of Chenonceau in the Loire valley.  differences began to appear between the mistress Diane and the queen Catherine of Henri II. Catherine did not invite Diane to Henri’s funeral, and she immediately banished her from Chenonceau. Diane moved to her castle in Anet, where she lived in comfortable obscurity for the rest of her life

Diane, took over Chaumont sur Loire castle after Catherine had decorated ugly and change everything inside and donates it to her daughter Françoise. Diane comes back again to Anet already at 64 yrs old and still looking good. Finally, two years later in 1566 she died at Anet. She gave away her fortunes to the daughters and the convents in the area, and upon her funeral the poor dressed in white and sang pray God for Diane de Poitiers. She is buried in the Chapel at Anet, during the French revolution the revolutionaries open her tomb and cut her hair to make hair strands in 1795.

“She had been kind to her husband to whom she had been faithful, kind to her daughters whom she had made rich. She had loved a King who had adored and respected her and made her happy. She was an example of great energy with a heritage of beauty exalted in France and became one of its glories.” and further Leonardo da Vinci wise formula may have been her guide: That thou hast acquired in thy youth stays the damage of old age, and if thou dost understand that wisdom is the food of the eld so do that thine old age may not lack sustenance’.

Diana de Poitiers, moon mistress, was quite simply a woman for all time.  This sculpture once surmounted the monumental La Fontaine de Diane (The Fountain of Diana). It dates to the mid 16C, where it was originally placed in the courtyard of the château d’Anet built by Philibert de L’Orme for Diane de Poitiers, Henry II’s mistress. In the 18C,  the fountain was moved to the nymphaeum before being confiscated during the Revolution when it was transferred to the Musée des Monuments Français in 1798. In 1799-1800, it was restored , and placed in the museum’s Elysée Garden. It was then claimed by the duchess of Orléans, owner of the Château of Anet at the time of the Revolution and finally allocated to the Louvre at Paris by ministerial decree in 1819.  The sculpture depicts a semi-reclining Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, accompanied by her two dogs, Phrocyion and Cyrius, clearly depicted as a greyhound and a water spaniel. She has one arm around the neck of the majestic stag.

Anet Anet

A fascinating story and women, today she could be a role model but she was ahead of her time indeed. Who you enjoy the story; there are some pictures I took on the link above and couple repeat here including her tomb. Enjoy your week, and happy travels stories. Cheers!

 

 

Tags: ,

2 Comments to “Chateau d’Anet, and Diane de Poitiers”

  1. What a fascinating story! And thanks for the History lesson. I always enjoy reading about the Châteaux du Loire; I have seen a few and knowing the trials and tribulations of the people who lived in them make them all the more interesting. Diana must have been quite a woman, but the course of true love never runs smoothly, as they say. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: