Guide to the castles of the Loire in English, Interesting places, unusual castles, private tours from Paris with a guide by car, photos and reviews.
View of Oiron Castle at the beginning of the 20th century on old photo postcards
This is how the castle really looked like, described by Charles Perrault in Puss in Boots.
Now most of the old building has been preserved and is available for tours. However, getting to the castle by public transport is difficult. Previously, a horse-drawn carriage was used as a “taxi”. Judging by the reviews of tourists from Oiron Castle, it is very interesting when conducting excursions for schoolchildren. Family holidays with children. The children loved the castle. French tourists also visit Huaron with children or in small groups of adults.
On this page we will post all reviews and photo albums with such an interesting and unusual place in the Loire Valley.
Oiron Castle (in French Chateau d’Oiron) refers to the famous “Castles of the Loire”. It is located in the picturesque valley of Moncontour, in the commune of Oiron in the department of Deux-Sèvres (Western France), Poitou region, and is owned by the state. It received the status of a historical monument twice: on October 2, 1923 and on July 17, 1943.
The history of the castle and its owners begins in the 15th century (during the Hundred Years’ War of 1337-1453), when the French king Charles VII in 1449 granted the possession and forest of Oiron to his chamberlain Guillaume Gouffier (died 1495), who was appointed governor ( or governor) Tyureni. He built a very beautiful castle, and his descendants only updated and improved Oiron.
It is interesting that for some time after her removal from the court in 1691, F.A. lived in Oiron Castle. Marquise de Montespan (October 5, 1641 – May 27, 1707), famous mistress (from 1667 to 1683) of King Louis XIV (September 5, 1638 – September 1, 1715). The Gouffier family of courtiers dates back to the 11th century, and from the 14th century owned the Bonnivet estate in Poitou. The eldest son of Guillaume, Artyu Gouffier de Boissy (died in 1519) – a learned bookworm, philosopher and alchemist, from 1503 was the tutor of Francis of Angouleme, who ascended the throne in 1515 under the name of Francis I. The king was very pleased with his tutor – he became governor of the province of Dauphine, Grand Master of France, peer of France, comte d’Etampes and de Caravaz. He was also appointed the chief steward of the royal court and sent to conclude a peace treaty following the results of the “War of the League of Cambrai” (an integral part of the Italian Wars, which lasted from 1508 to 1516). The king transformed the possessions of Roanne and Boissy that belonged to him into the duchy of Roanne, and he himself received the title of Duke de Roanne (although this title was not quite official, because the necessary documents were not registered in parliament) and in his old age he began to be called “the king’s cousin “. Artyu’s son Claude, Duke de Roanne, Marquis de Caravas, Count de Molevrier, Marquis de Boissy earned the court rank of great equerry (since 1546) (or squire-?). During the Italian Wars, he was twice captured by the imperials (that is, supporters of the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire) – in 1525 in the battle of Pavia and in 1536 in the battle against Ferrante Gonzago. After 2 years, he was redeemed from the latter for a gigantic sum of 6 thousand gold thalers at that time. Claude Gouffier, with the help of François Clouet, one of the artists who worked for him, assembled a collection of art and natural science objects. Under him, the Church of St. Mauritius was built, which was adjacent to the castle. He continues the construction of the castle, brings it to a magnificent view, which has managed to survive to this day, creates a large gallery with huge frescoes in the style of the Fontainebleau school. After several reconstructions, the castle included the main building and two long perpendicular wings, one of which was a rebuilt monastery. Claude’s mother Helene d’Angers managed to give the castle of Huaron a magnificent external and internal appearance. The galleries of the castle housed French Renaissance art. Claude, from his uncle Adrien Gouffier (died 1525), Cardinal de Boissy, Bishop of Coutances and Albi, received two small works by Raphael Santi, which, according to some reports, he himself presented to the powerful cardinal and papal legate “as a reward for his assistance his interests in relations with the king of France “- the so-called. “Small Holy Family” and “Ceres”.
The castle had 3 and 4 floors, there were a large number of rooms and passages. It is beautifully furnished, its tapestries embroidered with gold are so luxurious that all this, together with chests stuffed with gold, made it possible to receive in the castle in 1551 King Henri II of Valois (March 31, 1519 – July 10, 1559) with his retinue. In 1554, Claude was elevated to the dignity of a count, and in 1564 from Charles IX (June 27, 1550 – May 30, 1574) he received the title of Marquis and was married twice: to Jacqueline de la Tremouille and Francoise of Brittany (born Comtes de Penthièvre).
Apparently, it was Claude who served as the prototype of the “Marquis of Carabas” in the magnificent fairy tale by Charles Perrault (January 12, 1628 – May 16, 1703) “Puss in Boots” – until 1695).
Mention should also be made of Artyu’s younger brother, Guillaume, who was brought up with the future King Francis and became his best friend. Subsequently, he was the admiral of France, the owner of the Bonnive castle (which has not survived to this day) and Creveker, the mentor of the Dauphin and his wife, the French ambassador and commander-in-chief of the Italian army in 1523. However, he soon died …
Claude’s grandson – Louis (from the marriage of Gilbert Gouffier with the daughter of Marshal de Brissac) was born in 1575. He became the 3rd Duke de Roanne, but with the coming to power of the Bourbon dynasty, the Gouffier family fell into disfavor. Due to the fact that the Richelieu family had long been oppressed in Poitou by their closest neighbors, the Dukes de Roanne, Louis developed a very hostile relationship with Cardinal Richelieu. As a result, Louis’ property was confiscated in 1631, and he was put to symbolic execution … He was married to the daughter of the Duke d’Elbeuf from the Guise family. His son Arthu (1627 – 1698) under Cardinal Mazarin became governor of Poitou, but he spent most of his life away from Paris. His sister Charlotte fell in love with the famous mathematician, mechanic, physicist, writer and philosopher Blaise Pascal (June 19, 1623 – August 19, 1662). Here is what Juliette Benzoni wrote in Volume II of her book Love and Castles:
“In the summer of 1652, the trinity of characters, day after day, takes long walks in the shade of a huge park and along the banks of the Diva. Sometimes they visit the magnificent church near the castle, once created by Claude. In some way, the church of St. Denis belongs to the Goufier family: here are the graves of their ancestors. This trinity consists of the Duke de Roanese, his sister and their friend Blaise Pascal.
They have known each other for 4 years: from the time when Blaise’s father, Etienne, who was president of the Court of Relief in Clermont-Ferai, then quartermaster in Rouen, comes to Paris on the Rue Cloiret-Saint-Méry. Nearby rises Boisy’s mansion, where the Marquise lives under the same surname, an intelligent and rather simple woman who is raising her two children, Arthur and Charlotte. Blaise Pascal also has a charming sister, Jacqueline, and soon friendships develop between the four young people. They first meet in the church of Saint-Medard, and a friendship develops between the boys: Arthur, like Blaise, is passionately interested in scientific research, especially in physics, and young Pascal becomes his friend’s teacher. In response, the young Boisy introduce Blaise to social life: he is present at the reception of Mazarin in Poitiers, with Louis XIV and Anna of Austria, and is also present at Molière’s performance of Barbouillet’s Jealousy. Well, since he is in Poitiers, he also visits Ouaron, where he spends several days. It was this summer of 1652 that he confesses his love to Charlotte. And this love is so similar to him, imperious and adamant, that conquers the girl. Her brother does not interfere with this… Unfortunately, Blaise’s father dies at the same time and his sister Jacqueline goes to a monastery. And so ended the short romance of Artyu Gouffier and Jacqueline Pascal … Later, Artyu began rebuilding the castle of Huaron, but disappointed in social life, he sold it, along with the title of Duke de Roanne, to his wife’s brother Francois d, Aubusson, Comte de La Feuillade, Marshal of France. Artyu had a son – Louis d, Aubusson de La Feuillade, who became the last Duke de Roanne. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) – he was already a Marshal of France, son-in-law of the Minister of War (1699-1707) Michel Chamillard (January 2, 1652 – April 14, 1721).
In the history of France and not only, several more representatives of the Gouffier-Bonnive family left their mark.
So, in 1771, the last of the Gouffier family married his daughter Adelaide Marie Louise d, Eyi de Gouffier (1752 – 1816) to the young diplomat Count Marie-Gabriel – Florent – Auguste de Choiseul – Beaupre (1752 – 1817) . In 1783 he was elected a member of the French Academy (however, in 1803 he was expelled, and in 1816 he was re-elected again). In 1784 he was appointed ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, where he collected and described the artifacts of Ancient Greece. Later he changed his surname to Choiseul-Gouffier and in 1791 left for the Russian Empire (!).
Here they began to call him Gavriil Avgustovich :-), but he fell out of favor with Empress Catherine II. After the accession to the throne of Paul I, at the beginning of 1797, Choiseul-Gouffier was appointed chief director of the Imperial Libraries with the rank of titular adviser (that is, an official of the 9th class, which corresponded to the rank of lieutenant of the guard). In June of the same year, he became president of the Imperial Academy of Arts. However, in 1800, Paul I removed him from service, and after Napoleon came to power in France, with the help of Alexander I in March 1802, Choiseulle-Gouffier returned to his homeland.
In Russia, he still had estates on the territory of Lithuania and the family was included in the 5th part of the genealogical book of the Kovno province. His son Antony Ludwig Octavius (1773-November 4, 1840) was married by his first marriage to Countess Victoria Stanislavovna Pototskaya (1780-1826), and by his second marriage to Sophia Tizenhausen (1790-May 28, 1878). She was a lady-in-waiting of the Imperial Court, the godfather of their son Alexander (1821 – 1896) was Emperor Alexander I himself; in 1812 in Vilna she met with Napoleon, later she was acquainted with Alexander Dumas (father). Sophia de Choiseul-Gouffier wrote very interesting “Historical Memoirs about Emperor Alexander and his Court”, which were published 4 times in the 19th century, and twice in the 20th.
The son of Octavian de Choiseulle-Gouffier from his first marriage, Colonel of the Life Guards of the Hussar Regiment Eduard Oktavievich (April 8, 1802 – 1827, from 1822 he was married to Princess Varvara Grigorievna Golitsyna (1802 – 1873). Daughter of Octavian Matilda Oktavovna (1806 – 1867), in the marriage of Kudasheva, was the grandmother of the largest Russian religious philosopher N.A. Berdyaev.
Castle museum collection.
The castle has a large collection of the various artifacts – paintings, antique furniture, household items, etc. The most famous are:
– museum cabinet Dando-Berry
– northern wing gallery
– a hall of “crocodile” burials
the practical tourist information.
Opening hours of the castle and the cost of entrance tickets.
The castle is open all days (including weekends). From October 1 to May 31, open from 10.30 to 17.30. From June 1 to September 30 from 10.30 to 18.30 (access ends one hour before closing). Closed January 1, May 1, November 1 and 11 and December 25
Entrance tickets (adult): price 7.50 euros, (group from 20 adults 6 euros.
Private Tours to the castle from Paris
The castle is located south of the city of Saumur and is not included in the group tour programs. Its visit is possible only according to the program of individual tours by car or minibus. Very well “fits” into the program of visiting the Saumur area – castles and such a museum. For those who want to arrange a fabulous walk around the places of Marquis-Karabas and Puss in Boots for themselves, their girlfriend or their children, we offer different options for the route and cost depending on the type and capacity of the car.