A smaller and simpler château
The Château de Sully-sur-Loire in Loiret is one of the many châteaux that populate the country of France. It was originally meant to be a simple castle, but was later on transformed into a feudal lord’s residence.
The château is not as famous or majestic as the other grand or royal châteaux of France. It does, however, represent what smaller and simpler châteaux look like. Its construction is relatively small and simple compared to the other grander châteaux. It held some strategic importance during its heyday as its position was one of the few places in the Loire that could be forded.
Below is a brief overview on the owners and construction of this humble château.
The history of Château de Sully-sur-Loire
According to historians, the château’s location was fortified as early as the Gallo-Roman era. Its first recorded mention was in a document dating as far back as 1102. Other records show that it was Philip Augustus who built a cylindrical keep just south of the château’s present enclosure. Archeological findings reveal that the foundation for the keep are still buried in the area.
The fortress was eventually inherited by Guy de la Trémoille. He was responsible for the continued construction of the keep, flanking it with four towers by 1395. The château would not have any major constructions or alterations until about 200 years later when it was handed to the Duke de Sully.
The château became the seat of Maximilien de Béthune, the minister of Henri IV and the Duke de Sully, as well as his successors to the title. He bought the castle in 1602. The castle was meant to hold the location due to its strategic value. The spot was one of the few locations that were shallow enough for crossing.
It was during Duke Béthune’s ownership of the property that the Petit Château was added. He constructed it with the thought of providing his guests with more amenable accommodations. In addition, Duke Béthune enlarged both the fortress as well as the park. He decided to reinforce thedefenses of Loire to shield the town from the frequent floods that occurred in the area.
The château had its fair share of famous visitors; sadly, King Henri IV of France was never one of them. Instead, some of its early famous visitors were Anne of Austria and Mazarin. They took refuge in the château during the Fronde, a series of civil wars that occurred between 1648 and 1653. Turenne also sought refuge in the château in the same year of his triumph at the Battle of Bléneau over the Grand Condé.
Voltaire is perhaps the château’s most noteworthy visitor who sought refuge in the château when he was exiled from Paris for offending the regent of the time.
The château today
Today, the château is a recipient of multiple restorations. It is the venue for a music festival every June. The French Ministry of Culture has included Château de Sully-sur-Loire as a monument historique.