Around a superb furnished castle, floret of the Renaissance in France, permanent historical spectacles revive to you the record and the vibrating life of the Empire. Splendid formal gardens, plays for the children, enigmas, animals, « grand Labyrinthe », come to pass in family, one day unforgettable at Valençay castle !
Valençay is berrichon by its geographical situation. But the castle is attached to the Loire Valley by the time of its construction and its vast dimensions which give him the same appearance as Chambord.
Built at the end of a plate, Valençay faces the river Nahon. the entry astonishes by its dissymmetry and the surprising presence of an enormous tower and a house. The wing offers a more homogeneous style but this unit is only apparent and dissimulates several recoveries.
The castle is built at XVIth and XVIIth centuries by the family of Estampes. The castle of XIIth century which existed on this site, was destroyed and in its place the construction, very slow began, which starts in the years 1520. Louis of Estampes, governor and baillif of Blois, undertake the gross round tower at the end of the wing of entry. It dies in 1530, leaving the unfinished tower.
Castle of Valençay, a castle of financial
Work of Valençay begins again about 1540 thanks to Jacques of Estampes, lord of the manor of the feudal residence which existed at this place. This lord, having married the girl grassement equipped with a financier, wanted to have a residence worthy of his new fortune.
Jacques of Estampes makes cover the tower of a dome to imperial. Starting from the tower, it raises half of the wing in return and begins the wing of entry. At the XVIth century end. Jean of Estampes builds surprising it house of entry in the shape of keep, confined of four turrets and crowned of a covered way, like the tower. He connects it by a body of gallery on a floor to the first spans built by Jacques. Jean of Estampes builds also the building and the tower on the left of the central house.
At the XVIIth century, Dominique of Estampes finishes the wing in return in the same style as the first half high to XVIth century. One knows by an old sight that the castle then had the form of a quadrilateral closed by a second wing in return and, at the bottom of the court, by arcades.
Finance remains often mixed with the history of Valençay: among its successive owners pass from the general farmers. Thus Valençay is sold in 1747 and is acquired little afterwards by the general farmer Legendre de Villemorien. This one made cut down a part of the buildings, preserving only the wing of entry and the first wing in return of which it transforms the roof and at the end of which it raises a tower.
The famous John Law of which dazing it adventure was a first and masterly example of inflation was himself also one of the owners of the castle.
In 1803, Talleyrand, this astonishing character who begins his career under Louis XVI as bishop of Autun and it finishes, in 1838, after having held highest employment under all governments which followed one another, receives from Napoleon the order to buy a « beautiful ground » to place guests of mark, the princes of Spain. Its choice is made on Valençay. The result is appalling: a castle of 100 parts sumptuously furnished, 150 ha of park, and 19 000 ha of grounds and wood. Talleyrand gives to the castle princely receptions.
Valençay presents astonishing architectural choices, like the extraordinary house of entry in the shape of keep very archaïsant for the XVIth century end. This house of entry is an enormous construction treated in keep, but in keep of pleasure, with many windows, inoffensive turrets and false machicolation. The acute roof is openwork high attic windows and surmounted monumental chimneys. This architecture is found in the Renaissance castles of the Loire Valley. Thus the party of Chambord shows through in volumes of the keep and the gross tower, in the regular squaring of the frontages, the rich person decoration of the decorative machicolation. The successive recoveries add to the mixture of the kinds and create delicious anachronisms stylistics. One will notice in particular the first notes of the classical style :pilasters superimposed on the doric capitals (ground floor), ionic (1st stage) and Corinthians (2nd stage). The traditional one is shown even more in the roofs of the grosses towers of angle. The domes are the rule at the XVI 2nd century on the edges of the Loire.
The western wing, as we saw higher, was added to the 17th century and was altered at the next century. Its roof is in Mansart: « attics » and oeils-of-ox alternate there
It is this part of the castle which one visits. One sees there: at the ground floor the gallery and two living rooms which contain many artistic objects and a sumptuous furniture Empire, Louis XVI and Regency, a room decorated with beautiful woodworks Louis XVI, the hall whose walls are decorated engravings concerning prince de Talleyrand and of the contemporary characters.
On the 1st floor, a room is which Ferdinand VII occupied, king of Spain, internee in Valençay from 1808 to 1814 on the order of Napoleon. Anteroom, the visitor at a beautiful sight on the gallery.
The museum, installed in the dependences of the castle, shelters historical memories of prince de Talleyrand the room of the Prince was reconstituted.
In the beautiful park which surrounds the castle, one will see some animals in freedom: spangled, of the deer and birds (cranes, peacocks, swans, flamingos, parrots, etc).