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 Chateau d'Usse in the Loire Valley

exterior view of Chateaun d'Usse in the Loire Valley.France

Like many of the other Valley chateaux, Usse was built on the foundations of a small fortress but has had a very tranquil history. Perhaps its location at the edge of the forest of Chinon has something to do with this.The castle of Usse was built for the Buiel family in the second half of the 15th century. The family had distinguished itself in the 'Hundred Years War' and was seeking a home befitting there new rank in society. The family did not stay long however for Antoine De Buiel, the husband of Louis VI daughter, sold the castle in 1485 to Charles who set about making many improvements and is known for having the famous chapel built on the grounds. They served as chamberlains to many of the royalty and kings of their time. This castle has changed hands many times over the years. 1885 the Count de Blacas bought the chateau and his descendants still live and make a home there today. The Marquis de Blacas who is the grandson of the man who began the Egyptian Department at the Louvre, currently resides there.

 diningroom of Chateau d'Usse in the Loire Valley.France

Usse is well furnished with the various pieces of furniture, bought from the best cabinet-makers of the XVIII century and many  fine tapestries making it still one of the best furnished in the area. During your visit you will find some spooky mannequins in period costume strategically placed around the chateau in a failed attempt to bring it to life.

.salon of Chateau d'Usse in the Loire Valley.France

tapestries at Chateau d'Usse in the Loire Valley.France   spiral staircase at Chateau d'Usse in the Loire Valley.France

 

Due to its fairytale appearance, it is believed that Perrault wrote his famous story, “Sleeping Beauty” based on Usse . Of the structure Perrault wrote, "Chateau de la Belle au bois dormant". This is one of eleven fairytales he wrote in a collection called, 'Les de ma mere l’ Oye.' The Chateau’s battlement tower is surrounded with glassed-in rooms showing wax figures in scenes from the "The sleeping beauty". It might seem a bit 'tacky' to the purists but the younger kids will like it!

sleepimg beauty at  Chateau d'Usse in the Loire Valley.France

Its also said that the castle influenced the design of Disney's famous Cinderella's Castle in Disney World - it all helps bring in the tourists!

chapel at Chateau d'Usse in the Loire Valley.France

The chapel, dedicated to St.Anne d' Usse, which is tucked away in the gardens, contains items from the 15th & 17th centuries and has been given the same architectural attention to detail as the chateau.

architectural detail at the chapel at Chateau d'Usse in the Loire Valley.France

both inside and out.

inside the chapel at Chateau d'Usse in the Loire Valley.France   stained glass window in the chapel at Chateau d'Usse in the Loire Valley.France

The terraced gardens of chateau d'Usse were designed by 'Le Notre' of Versailles fame and are very pleasant and easy to walk round.

the formal gardens at Chateau d'Usse in the Loire Valley.France

You'll probably be drawn to this chateau like many others before you by its picturesque setting and colourful stories which attach themselves to it but you might just come away a bit disappointed. Its out of the way setting,the fact that it is in fact only partly open to the public, (as little as 25%) and its relatively pricey entrance fee make it lower down on the 'must see' list of the Loire Valley chateau but then again there's Sleeping Beauty !

 

Rates:

Adults € 14.00

Children 8 to 16  € 4.00

 

Opening hours:

10 am to 6 pm (last admission at 5 pm) Feb. March and October
10 am to 7 pm (last admission at 6 pm) Appril to September
 

 

 

External links:

 

www.chateaudusse.fr/         Official website

 

 

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"Author: Jim Craig"

 

 

 

 

 

Loire Valley chateaux