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Regional Estate of Chaumont-sur-Loire - English

Viewpoint over the wild Loire

Between Blois and Amboise, the castle of Chaumont-sur-Loire amazes as much by its inside as by its gardens

A bit of history...

From the Xth century, the Count of Blois, Eudes Ist, build a fortress to protect Blois from the attacks of Count d' Anjou. By way of thanks for his support, he offers Chaumont to the Norman knight Gelduin the Young. His son and successor Geoffroy, childless, chooses his niece as heiress, Denise de Fougères. She marries in 1054 Sulpice Ist of Amboise : Chaumont becomes the property of the family of Amboise for about five centuries.

But, in 1465, Louis XI destroys buildings and extensions to punish Pierre d' Amboise for having rebelled against the royal power. A few years later, in 1469, the king forgives to Pierre d'Amboise, restores lands and gives funds for the reconstruction of Chaumont.
From 1468 till 1510, the north wing (today disappeared), the west wing and a beginning of the south wing are built by his son, Charles Ist, in a Gothic style. The south wing, the châtelet of entrance, the east wing, the chapel and the main staircase of honor on court are finished by his grandson, Charles II, in a more Renaissance style.

In 1560, Catherine de Medici, widow of king Henri II and regent of the kingdom of France, buys the castle of Chaumont and forces Diane de Poitiers, the former favorite of the king, to give her the castle of Chenonceau in exchange. The latter makes there some works and puts on it her emblems above the machicolations of the covered way. Between the end of the XVIth and the middle of the XVIIIth century, the owners of the castle of Chaumont are many to follow one another. 

The inside of the castle of Chaumont-sur-Loire

It is bought in 1750 by Jacques Donatien Le Ray, the future bursar of the Invalides of Louis XVI. He makes destroy the north wing to open the main courtyard towards the Loire and bases near the castle (location of the current stables) a factory of pottery and glass which attracts numerous artists, managed by the sculptor and engraver Jean-Baptiste Nini. Jacques Donatien Le Ray succeeds in protecting the castle from the French Revolution. He received Benjamin Franklin in his castle in 1776. His son, called Ray the American, sells it in 1823, to the baron of Etchegoyen.

In the XIXth century, the castle belongs successively to the count of Aramon, then to viscount Joseph Walsh. They make important restorations there. In 1875, Marie-Charlotte Constance Say, daughter and heiress of the fantastically wealthy refiner of cane sugar Constant Say, buys the domain of Chaumont. She gets married a few months later to prince Henri-Amédée of Broglie.

The couple will go on enlarging and embellishing the domain by means of the architect Paul-Ernest Sanson: restoration of the outsides, the modernization of inside (electricity, central heating, tap water) and construction of the stables. In 1884, the landscape architect Henri Duchêne realizes the park of approval surrounding the castle. But, in 1938, the princess, ruined, sells the domain to the State for 1 800 000 francs-gold.

Since 2007, the Regional Estate of Chaumont-sur-Loire belongs to the Centre region and became since October 2008 a cultural exchange center: establishment recognized by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, for its missions of protection of the heritage and the artistic and cultural development.

International garden festival

The second garden, say " Goualoup ", welcomes since 1992 the International Garden Festival.

As the seasons go by, this annual demonstration (from April to October) has become the major meeting of the new creators of contemporary gardens: architects-landscape painters, scenographers or gardeners. Every year has its theme, declined with originality and imagination by the artists.

The Park and the International Garden Festival of Chaumont-sur-Loire received in 2011 the label " Remarkable Gardens " and the label " Remarkable Trees " because of the exceptional cedars decorating the park of the Domain.

The park of the castle of Chaumont

In the XVIth century, the castle of Chaumont did not possess a garden. It is only in the XIXth century, that Count of Aramon planted several sorts of trees, among which of the cedars. But, it is really prince Henri-Amédée of Broglie, also in the XIXth century, who is going to make the English-style park fit out by means of the landscape painter Henri Duchêne.

The prince of Broglie makes the cemetery move, destroy two hamlets and the church to reconstruct them in edge of the Loire. In 1917, year of his death, the domain of Chaumont counts about 2 500 hectares of wooden, farms and lands. The park of approval, represents only 21 hectares of this set. 

Curiosities : 

  • The cemetery of dogs and monkeys, favorites of the princess of Broglie, in this pleasure garden situated between the castle and the farm
  • The stables built in 1877, in the location of the former factory of Le Ray

The Centre of Arts and Nature

Since 2008, The Regional Estate of Chaumont-sur-Loire is a center of artistic creation and landscaped invention. Every year, exhibitions of plastic arts and photographs, concerts and cinema projections make of this site an alive artistic place "dedicated to the relation to the nature and the culture".

Regional Estate of Chaumont