02 April 2012

Cheverny's sordid past

If you've visited or read much about the château de Cheverny, you might know this already. The present-day château at Cheverny exists because a woman stepped out on her husband.


The château was built on the site of an older, medieval château-fort that had been demolished. The owner was Count Henri Hurault, who was the gouverneur of Blois during the reign of the great French king Henri IV (« Paris vaut bien une messe » and "a chicken in every pot" were his mottoes).


Hurault married a young wife (whose name was Françoise Chabot [he he]) and shut her up in his château at Cheverny to make sure she would stay faithful to him. It was all in vain, it turned out, because the Count came home from Blois one day to find her in the arms of a lover. He stabbed the lover, mortally wounding him, after the poor man had jumped out a window and broken his leg while trying to escape. Hurault then forced his wife to commit suicide by drinking poison.

Hurault was banished from Blois exiled to Cheverny by the king for his crimes, and he later remarried. To wipe away the memory of his treacherous first wife once and for all, he had the old château-fort torn down. He entrusted to his new spouse the task of overseeing the construction of a "modern" edifice on the old site. An architect (Boyer) and painter (Mosnier) from Blois were instrumental in designing and decorating the château as we see it today.

Unfortunately, both Henri Hurault and his second wife, Marguerite Gaillard de la Morinière, departed this world before the château could be completely finished. It was left to their dear daughter Elisabeth to get the job finished.

That's the story that has passed into legend. The photos here show some of the decoration inside the château.

7 comments:

  1. So the “poisson d’avril” is no more.

    Another motto of that great French king when at war was: “Ralliez-vous à mon panache blanc.” [Follow my white plume].

    Sordid story, indeed. The Chabot [he, he] was a powerful house in Poitou.

    Beautiful pictures.

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  2. Whooooooooaaaa Nelly! :))) I had heard of that story about Françoise de Chabot, but thought that it was associated with some château in Poitou! (and, I think that I had heard that it was some Monsieur de Chabot who had killed his wife under these circumstances). Now, I MUST visit Cheverny! :)) Merci, Ken! So glad to know that my ancestress (heh heh) had some spunk and went after what she wanted, amorously, since she was no doubt forced into marriage with slimy Count Henri Hurault :))

    Judy (Chabot!)

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  3. Nothing boring about this Chabot [he he] woman!

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  4. Hi,
    I wonder would you know of any gardens/chateaux worth visiting in the Auxerre/Avallon area?Thanking you

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  5. I know from visiting that Auxerre is a pretty town with the river and a couple of big churches above it. I also understand that Avallon is an interesting place, but I don't know it. Don't miss Vézelay for the hilltop village and church, Chablis for the fine white wine, Epoisses for the cheese, Pontigny for its abbley, and picturesque Semur-en-Auxois.

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  6. Avallon has a nice Romanesque church. It's not a cathedral, but little matter... if you like Romanesque, it's got a great façade: Eglise Saint-Lazare, Avallon

    As Ken mentioned, Vézelay is near to Avallon.

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  7. You share such nice and useful information about chateau de cheverny. Also Its beautiful and very historical image with us.

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