08 February 2016

Le Château du Moulin (1)

The Château du Moulin was built over a period of 25 years starting in the year 1480. It's located near Romorantin, the biggest town in the Sologne region of the Loire Valley, and about 20 miles or 30 km east of Saint-Aignan. The Cadogan Loire guidebook calls it "one of the most romantically moated of all Loire châteaux, among the finest."


Philippe du Moulin was a loyal servant of Charles VIII, who was one of the first French kings to mount a military campaign in Italy. Du Moulin rescued him when ignominious defeat faced the French forces in a battle in 1495. Charles VIII was born in Amboise in 1470, became king at the age of 13, and died in 1498. Du Moulin lived until 1506. That period marked the end of what is now called the Middle Ages, and the beginning of the French Renaissance that was inspired by contact with Italy.


The Château du Moulin was built as a fortress, surrounded by a moat, high walls, and defensive towers. Those forbidding fortifications were torn down in later centuries to let in some daylight and turn the place into a more comfortable residence. As far as I know, it is still privately owned today and occupied for at least part of the year. When we visited for the first time in the year 2000, we caught a glimpse of the owner, a woman who was living in the main tower.


There are quite a few brick châteaux in the flat and forested Sologne region, where there used to be a lot of marshland and there wasn't much building stone readily available. While more Renaissance and less Gothic in style, the Louis XII wing of the Château de Blois is a notable example from about the same period. The author of the Cadogan guide calls Le Moulin "a dreamy place, hidden in the countryside...." The visitor's impression is that it's deep in the woods, really.

12 comments:

  1. It's been on my list because they have the national strawberry garden. We might actually be there at the right time this year! Your photos certainly make it look worth a visit, strawberries or not.

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  2. It strikes me that we've seen a view of this, just off to the side of a winding country road-- a scene that you've shown before? These views are wonderful!

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    1. I have blogged about Le Moulin before, years ago. I'm re-processing a lot of the photos for this series of posts.

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  3. wow the roses are gorgeous & the chateau looks like a fairy tale castle

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  4. Unusual to see brick but it looks quite spectacular. Have a good week Diane

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  5. Everything in every photo just makes me ache to be there. The colors are so wonderful.
    I am packing to move house. I still have time to decide to live in France .. in a hut in the woods .. lol ...

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  6. fantastic place with flowers

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  7. Beautiful, especially with the gardens, almost in English style. I wonder if the owner is single? If so, I'd like to toss my hat into the ring.

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    1. What does Danny think of that?

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  8. I think after he saw the chateau in person, he'd come around. We'd be a trio in blissfull harmony...just being silly of course.

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