We had lunch at Maintenon, north of Chartres, and we also wanted to see the château there. As it stands today, it was built in the first half of the 1500s, during the reigns of French kings Louis XII, François Ier, and Henri II, with later additions.
As usual, an older château-fort had stood on the same site as early as the 7th century. Renaissance architects and builders turned it into a château de plaisance — a stately residence. It's most famous resident took title to the place in the mid-1700s. She was Françoise d'Aubigné, widow of a noted poet of the time, and she came to be known as Madame de Maintenon.
Construction of the aqueduct in the background was never completed.
She was married in secret to the Sun King, Louis XIV in 1683, when the queen, Marie-Thérèse d'Autriche, died. Madame de Maintenon had been born in prison — her father was imprisoned as a debtor — nearly 50 years earlier, the granddaughter of another famous poet of the late Renaissance.
Madame de Maintenon was a devout Catholic, and they say she was instrumental in persuading Louis XIV to revoke the Edict of Nantes, which allowed Protestants to practice their religion. She died in 1719, outliving Louis XIV by four years.