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
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.
Usse is well furnished with the
various pieces of furniture, bought from the best cabinet-makers of
the XVIII century making it still one of the best furnished in the area.
You can visit the
costume exposition, which changes every season, placed in various rooms of the chateau
With its combination of beauty
and the fortress like appearance, it is believed that
Perrault wrote his famous story,
“Sleeping Beauty” based
on Usse . Of the structure
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!
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, which is hidden away in the gardens,
contains stalls from the 17th century, a ceramic Virgin Mary by Luca
Della Robbia (15th century), a series of
Aubusson tapestries (17th century) and a
Tuscan triptych from the 15th century.
The terraced gardens of chateau d'Usse were
designed by Le Notre of
Versailles fame, are
very pleasant and easy to walk round.
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 !
Adults € 14.00
Children 8 to 16 € 4.00
From 2/17 to 3/31: 10 am to 6 pm (last admission at 5 pm)
From 4/1 to 8/31: 10 am to 7 pm (last admission at 6 pm)
From 9/1 to 11/4: 10 am to 6 pm (last admission one hour before closing.