Château de Sully-sur-Loire

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The Château de Sully's ancient towers and donjon are on the right

The Château de Sully-sur-Loire is a castle, converted to a palatial seigneurial residence, situated in the commune of Sully-sur-Loire, Loiret, France.

History[edit]

Sully rises directly from its moat

The château is the seat of the duc de Sully, Henri IV's minister Maximilien de Béthune (1560–1641), and the ducs de Sully. It is a château-fort, a true castle, built to control one of the few sites where the Loire can be forded; the site has perhaps been fortified since Gallo-Roman times, certainly since the beginning of the eleventh century.[1] In 1218, Philip Augustus constructed a cylindrical keep to the south of the present enclosure, of which buried foundations remain. Guy de la Trémoille, inheriting the fortress, undertook the construction of the "Donjon", flanked by four towers, beginning in 1395. To one side was added the Petit Château in the sixteenth century to provide more agreeable accommodation; Sully remodelled it. Sully bought the domaine in 1602, enlarged the park and the fortress; he strengthened the embankments of the Loire to protect the town from occasional flooding.

The Château de Sully-sur-Loire remained in the possession of the family until 1962 when it became a property of the Département du Loiret, and has since benefited from numerous restorations. It hosts a classical music festival each June. The château contains numerous tapestries (including a set of six seventeenth-century hangings, the Tenture de Psyché), paintings of Sully's ancestors and heirs, and seventeenth-century furnishings. Here is also the tomb of Sully and that of his second wife.

Floor plan of the castle

Henri IV never visited, but Mazarin and Anne of Austria took refuge here in March 1652 during the rigors of the Fronde, France's civil war. Turenne stayed here the same year, before his defeat of the Grand Condé at the battle of Bléneau. Later, in 1716 and again in 1719 the château sheltered Voltaire, when he had been exiled from Paris for affronting the Régent, Philippe, duc d'Orléans.

Château de Sully-sur-Loire is listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ It was mentioned in a document of 1102.

Sources[edit]

  • Mesqui, Jean (1997). Chateaux-forts et fortifications en France. Paris: Flammarion. p. 493 pp. ISBN 2-08-012271-1. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°46′04″N 2°22′31″E / 47.7677°N 2.3752°E / 47.7677; 2.3752