The Château de Valençay !!!

And here I am moving right alone in the wonderful sublime Valley of the Kings, the Loire. And I arrive at Valençay castle, the home of Tayllerand! This is new territory in my blog, so will tell you more about it. I do not recall been here as Tayllerand was close to Napoléon.

Valencay castle front dec21

The town of Valençay is located in the dept Indre 37 of the Centre Val de Loire region. Let me use this post to tell you about the castle and then another for the rest misc. Hope you enjoy it as I. As usual superbe loire valley castle.

The château de Valençay was the property of the prince de Talleyrand. Documents attest to the presence of the lordship or domain of Valençay from the 13C, but all that remains from this time is the salle basse (lower medieval hall), located below the current cour d’Honneur (main courtyard). Property of Eudes de Bourgogne at the time and then passed on to his descendants, the fiefdom was acquired in 1451 by Robert II d’Estampes who extended the property.  Louis d’Estampes, grandson of Robert II, made a rich match in marrying Marie Hurault, daughter of the French Minister of Finances of Louis XII, which triggered the construction around 1520. First by building the large tower, then half of the facade and two bays of the gallery. The gallery, near the cour d’Honneur, was built in the next decade.  In 1540, Jacques, son of Louis and Marie d’Estampes, who also married into wealth, began to finish building the large tower, adding an imperial roof which was not yet very common.The marriage between his son Jean and Sara d’Applaincourt, heiress of the fiefdom of Picardie, relaunched construction with the building of a remarkable keep. This square tower flanked by cylindrical turrets on both sides of the entrance and the courtyard had a porte-cochère and a pedestrian door. The construction of a wing symmetrical to the main buildings, between the round tower and the keep was initiated but remained unfinished. The Marquis de Valencay Dominique, that the d’Estampes family reached its peak. Dominique made a prestigious alliance in marrying Marie-Louise de Montmorency and had a particularly favorable position in the king’s court. Thanks to him, the buildings surrounding the cour d’Honneur were completed: end of construction of the west wing, coupled with a gallery, construction of a symmetrical wing to the east, a stone arcade wall to the south closing the courtyard.  Following premature deaths in the d’Estampes family and conflicts related to heritage and the estate, the château was sold several times.   

Valencay castle boutique entrance dec21

Beautiful collections of furniture sculptures, paintings and precious objects give the Château of Valençay a still inhabited look, Its prominent room ,condensed briefly by yours truly from the official castle site are :

Grand salon this room is completely inspired by the Empire style from the mahogany and gilded bronze décor to the hanging Bohemian crystal chandeliers. It is found in the armchairs, chairs and sofas whose tapestries, all different and embroidered by the ladies of the court of Spain, reproduce leaves collected in the park. 

Valencay castle grand salon right dec21

Blue salon ,the Louis xv style table was transformed into a card table by the Spanish princes. A big player himself, Talleyrand surely enjoyed it. All around: Louis XV and Louis XVI style chairs and small pieces of furniture. A beautiful early 18C bureau Mazarin, with red tortoiseshell and leather inlay.

Valencay castle salon bleu dec21

King of Spain’s Bedroom The largest bedchamber in the château including a beautiful set of Empire-style furniture, this room was occupied by the Prince of Asturias from 1808 to 1814. As a prisoner of Napoleon, the future King Ferdinand VII stayed in a gilded cage thanks to the attention and concern of Talleyrand.A Louis XVI-style bed was specifically made for Ferdinand and small pieces of furniture for gloves, stockings and handkerchiefs all add a touch of sophistication to this room along with the recently added cheval mirror. The walls are covered in a fine panoramic grisaille wallpaper, representing episodes of the life of Cupid and Psyche.

Valencay castle chambre roi d Espagne left dec21

Duchess de Dino’s Bedroom The Duchess of Dino, Talleyrand’s beloved niece turned companion of Talleyrand, gazes upon her former world in a formal dress from her portrait painted by Chabord. This room contains a very fine set of mahogany furniture, including a beautiful Empire Restoration-style sleigh bed made from Cuban mahogany. A stunning 19C copper bathtub and rare Regency bidet-chair are located in the bathroom next to the bedchamber.

Valencay castle chambre duchesse de Dino dec21

Dining room The dining room displays a magnificent mahogany table seating up to 36 guests, refreshment console tables made of marble, a cutting table and an elegant decor.

Valencay castle dining room side dec21

Hall of Treasures Since 2018, the staged museum room has showcased the personal and historical items belonging to Talleyrand.

Valencay castle chambre tresor uniforms tayllerand dec21

Family portraits gallery Today, the gallery is adorned with 19C neoclassic statues and busts, Empire-style chairs and six portraits of Talleyrand’s parents and ancestors.

Valencay castle gallery cour d honneur dec21

Music room Versailles-style wooden floors, carved woodwork and original painted walls are all inspired by Louis XVI.

Valencay castle salon de musique Tayllerand dec21

Grand Gallery It serves all of the upstairs apartments and ends in a small room, formerly used as a chapel, which holds today a copy of Houdon’s “Diana the Huntress”. This corridor is filled with many Empire and Restoration-style chests of drawers and console tables.

Valencay castle grande galerie dec21

Princess de Bénévent’s Bedroom Talleyrand’s wife was given the title of Princess of Benevento when Talleyrand received the duchy of Benevento, an estate owned by the Vatican attached to the kingdom of Naples, from Napoleon in 1806. Furniture in her room dates back to the 18C.

Valencay castle chambre princesse benevent dec21

Prince de Talleyrand’s Bedroom Some of the beautiful Empire-style furniture comes from the Hôtel Saint Florentin in Paris, where Talleyrand died in 1838. The mahogany bed with an Egyptian-style headboard, Egyptian Revival chest of drawers with marble top and claw feet, small pedestal table with two marble surfaces, three rounded claw legs with hawk heads and gilded bronze motifs.

Valencay castle chambre prince de Tayllerand dec21

Guest Room This room was named after the Empire-style bed that belonged to this famous female scholar, Miss de Staël. Here you will find a small striking pedestal table engraved with hieroglyphics with its three legs embellished with lion heads and paws.

Study This room holds various pieces of office furniture that belonged to Talleyrand. The mahogany veneer table and leather armchair with bellow pockets were used during Talleyrand’s last diplomatic mission, in London from 1830 to 1834, for King Louis-Philippe.

Valencay castle cabinet de travail dec21

Cabinet de toilette With its Toile de Jouy wall coverings, it separated the two bedrooms and was previously an antechamber.

The kitchens Equipped with ovens and copper utensils were comfortably set up in the 17-18C basements

Valencay castle kitchen serving dec21

Renaissance Room This room, located on the first floor of the keep, still bears witness to the style and taste of upper class people at the time of the Renaissance. an impressive fireplace presents a superb basket of flowers in the centre of its hood surrounded by the weapons, monograms and portraits of Louis d’Estampes and his wife, Marie.

Guard Room In the basement of the west wing, a long sloping corridor takes you to a room located underneath the Cour d’Honneur (Grand Courtyard). It is the last remaining part of a fortified castle built in the 13C. Divided into three bays by thick arches.

From 1816 until his death, Talleyrand stayed at Valençay castle for a few months every year, surrounded by his family and the many leading figures of the times whom he counted as friends. In 1819, he launched construction on a building in the communal area, designed to be a private theater for his own entertainment and that of his entourage. was completed in 1820 . The theater’s defining feature is the magnificent conservation of most of its original sets. After fading from memory in the early 20C, the theater was rediscovered in the 1980s and then officially reopened to the public in 2013.

Renewed each season, the flower beds are designed to give the château a colorful setting worthy of its architectural splendor. Filled with 25 different tree species, the forest is carefully maintained and plays an educational role with signs that provide information on their different origins, uses and biology. Visitors can explore it on foot or by electric golf cart on a 4 km path. You have the Garden “à la française”, The Duchess’ Garden, and Ornamental Gardens. The Deer Park dates back to Talleyrand’s day, with its delightful deer, large and small, sporting their red coats with white splashes in the summer, brown in the winter. The “Forêt des Princes” , visitors can explore a magnificent 4 km historical and natural path on foot or using an electric golf cart. Seven remarkable features are worth pointing out along this walk, along with a stunning view of the château. This has an additional charge of 14€.

Valencay castle coutyard fountain et tower dec21

Valencay castle garden lower level dec21

The official Château de Valençay

The Valençay tourist office on the castle

There you go folks, another magnificent castle in my belle France! The list is endless, and the beauty beyond questioning. This is indeed the valley of the kings, and I am just touching the surface. The Château de Valençay and Tayllerand is a nice history piece to learn with more space and time than this post allows me. Hope you enjoy it and visit.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “The Château de Valençay !!!”

  1. Beautiful visit ! I was there in 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

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