Château de Loches
Château de Loches is a 'real' castle, built to withstand sieges and do battle. Actually this castle consists
of two castles: at a later date a castle-palace has been built, down the road. We'll see about that one later.
| This castle was constructed in the 9th century.
Built some 500 metres (1,600 ft) above the Indre River, the huge castle, famous mostly for its massive square keep, dominates the town of Loches.
The castle was captured by King Philip II of France in 1204.
The castle explained. Note the wooden contraptions built around the keep and the roofs on the castle towers.
The holes in the wall have had wooden supported wooden structures back in the days.
The castle was occupied by Henry II of England and his son, Richard the Lionheart during the 12th century, it withstood the assaults by the French king Philip II in their wars for control of France until it was finally captured by Philip in 1204.
So we are on track again for the trail of The Plantagenets
The wooden floors have succumbed to time, rot and re-use, but below
graphic illustrates how a floor here must have looked in the 11th century.
There were less fortunate to stay here, prisoners. They spent some of their time in captivity decorating these walls.
View over the original entrance into Loches Castle.
The castle would become a favorite residence of Charles VII of France, who gave it to his mistress, Agnès Sorel,
as her residence. It would be converted for use as a State prison by his son, King Louis XI who had
lived there as a child but preferred the royal castle in Amboise.
View from the castle onto the town of Loches.
After a short walk we come to the palace-castle of Loches:
There was an exposition on the meeting here of royalty, when Francis I allowed Charles Quint (a.k.a. Charles V
or in German: Karl V, The Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, King of Italy; b.24Feb1500 – d.21Sep1558)
to pass through
this area on his way home, to Spain (1539), no doubt offering suitable lodgings here.
Obviously a much nicer place to live than the medieval castle.
The 'new castle' was built under the reigns of Charles VIII and Louis XII in the Royal City of Loches,
extending the structure built during the late 14th century.
It contained no fortified feature, however, kept the traditional gothic style and remained uninfluenced
by Italian design that was popular at the time.
The fortress-like château soon became a well-known hunting lodge.
Decorations at the entrance, making the link to this palace as a 'hunting lodge'.
We come to a room with displays of armoury and weapons.
The wealthy could afford to have their helmets decorated.
Medieval travelling was not equipped for speed, obviously. By the nose we recognize Francis I and
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, looks on from an odd angle, next to Francis I.
A rather striking painting, I thought.
The title of this painting is 'la Vierge à l'enfant', made by Jehan Fouquet.
It was probably painted some time between 1453 - 1455 and it shows Agnes Sorèl, portrayed
as the Vrigin Maria.
A room made for remembering the meet between these two 'royals'; when I checked
the website of this castle www.chateau-loches.fr I could find no English version, alas. Bloody useless.
I suppose the white one is Charles V, for it has the facial feature, the chin recognizable. A remarkable figure.
Francis I (b.12Sep1494 – 31Mar1547) was the first King of France from the Angoulême branch of House of
Valois, from 1515 until his death.
The succession of Charles of Austria to the Burgundian Netherlands,
throne of Spain, and his subsequent
election as Holy Roman Emperor, led to the encirclement of
France by the Habsburg monarchy. Best to keep relations with Charles V on the best of terms!
We see Diane de Poitiers here again; see information on her in the Chenonceau text.
Small room with striking presentation.
I noted the 'tails of the ermine' decorations, they indicate a link to
Anne of Brittany (1477-1514).
Upon googling I found "Whether making her formal entrance beside Charles VIII or with Louis XII
at the time when the oratory was built, Anne of Brittany often stayed at the Royal Castle of Loches."
Also: "A loggia overlooking the gardens leads to Anne of Brittany’s oratory. This small chapel with ribbed vaults
was built around 1500. The walls, hearth, alter and baldachin placed on top of the door are lavishly decorated
with Breton ermines and the cord of Saint Francis of Assisi, the symbol of the queen. This extravagant
gothic-style masterpiece was recently renovated. Anne of Brittany also had a study in Loches."
Other famous historic women linked to Loches are
Agnès Sorel and Joan of Arc.
Again a fine view over the town of Loches. Note the collapsed and overgrown building.
The situation explained by graphic: the palace-castle on the left and the medieval keep on the right.