Thursday, April 03, 2008

More Views Of Valençay

Why the heck not? It's a pretty place! Today I'll focus on the domed towers of the "new" wing.

Now that's what I call a West Wing!

The new, or west, wing of the château was built in the 17th century and renovated in the 18th century. That said, the old wing was only built in the 16th century, replacing the original 12th century castle that stood on the site. One of the early owners of the place was the Scottish financier John Law.

It was Talleyrand, at Napoleon Bonaparte's direction, who bought the place in 1803 to entertain foreign dignitaries on behalf of the emperor.

The Two Towers.

In between the two domed towers, the roof of the building is in the Mansart style, with alternating mansard dormers and round dormers, called "oeils-de-boeuf" or bulls' eyes. This is the wing that comprises most of the interior visit, with its grand dining room, bedrooms, parlors, and, in the basement, the kitchens and wine cellar.

A dome, seen from the ground below.

The tour is self-guided with audiophones, so you can take your time and linger where you like. Ken and I have been through a few times in the past five years. The last time I don't think we rented the audiophone, and just wandered quickly through.

Talleyrand's bedroom was in this tower.

On the second floor of the domed tower shown above are a couple bedrooms, the larger of which is Talleyrand's own. The rooms in the wing itself were for other residents of the château, including the not-too-shabby bedroom where the king of Spain was imprisoned.


  1. I'm so pleased that you added more pictures of Valençay. I think what fascinates me about the Old World châteaux and cathédrales is the history linked to them. Gardens and old stones can speak. Time seems suspended... It's hard to imagine the Battle of Long Sault (1642) at La Place d'Armes in Montréal! It's so bustling with modern activities.

  2. Nothing pleases me more than French Renaissance architecture. Medieval architecture is nice but its purpose does not deserve to jeter un coup d'oeil. Valençay does offer certain features that many châteaux do not. The domes and the columns leading up to the domes for example. Very chic. Vous avez vachement de la chance d'y habiter la-bas. J'suis jalouise!

  3. claudia, the old buildings are really something, aren't they?

    rachael, I like medieval architecture, too. I studied architecture in college, so I may be a bit biased. ;)

  4. Thanks for more on Valençay!


  5. You have a way of making me want to leave my confines in Paris (albeit I travel a lot out of the country) and go visit the wonderful sites around the country. Indeed, a wonderful west wing. All in all, shouldn't we all strive to be Renaissance people?

  6. You make me want to visit Valençay! My next trip to Pays de Loire...


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