Middle Age : A fortress
Today’s architecture calls for Renaissance, even though la Bourdaisière is all the more ancient, dating back to the XIV° century. Early 1400, the first French Felt Marchal, Jean Le Meingre de Boucicaut, erected a medieval fortress overlooking the Cher and the Loire rivers in order to defend it from English invasions.
May we just point out that the Field Marshal who battled against the Ottoman was also known as a great womanizer with an illustrative motto “Ce que vous voudrez ” (whatever you want !), which can be considered as a great introduction to the history of this Estate.
Today’s reminiscence of this time are the dry moats, north and east of the château and a tower with a staircase going from the terrace to the fosses as well as a helicoidal well in front of the lift inside the castle, unseen unless you are not a welcome visitor !
The Estate was sold in 1482 to the Tours Mayor, Louis de la Maziere and from then changed owners to a few prominent families of the period.
Heiress to the castle, Marie Gaudin’s wedding in the Château de la Bourdaisière to Philibert Babou, a wealthy public notary from Bourges, was glamorous and led to years of prosperity for the Estate. Marie Gaudin was known as the “most beautiful lady of the time”, became the mistress of the King François Ier, the latter having moved his royal court to Amboise, 10 km from the Castle : resulting in favours.
The King gave Philibert Babou numerous charges and honours that brought a huge fortune and around 1518-1522, the old defensive medieval fortress became a Renaissance Castle, with large windows, receptions rooms and 3 drawer bridges to the terrace-with important outbuildings attached to the chateau.
After Marie Gaudin’s death, that the Château went to her son Jean II Babou, who became le Grand Maître d’Artillerie of the Kingdom (equivalent to the Defence Minister) who married Françoise Robertet and during the difficult time of the religious war, had the rampart fortified with an additional large tower.
In 1589, Jean II handed over La Bourdaisière to his son Georges Ier Babou, Comte de Sagonne. In 1595, he had the actual farm build as a Manor, made the Cellar in the cliff looking like a troglodyte chapel that can be seen when walking up the château on the left after the chapel.
In May 1535, Gabrielle d’Estrées is thought to have been born in the Château. Daughter of Antoine d’Estrées and Françoise Babou de la Bourdaisière, she was the great grand daugther of Marie Gaudin the latter along with her six sisters being called the seven capital sins : A generation of extremely fascinating characters, but beautiful ladies that charmed our kings and brought elegance to the château!
It is on May 27th that Gabrielle d’Estrées, along with Henri IV came to stay at La Bourdaisière returning from the signing of l’Edit de Nantes, recognizing the cult of the hugenot. They were on their way to Chenonceau the future home of Gabrielle and Henri’s illegitimate son le Duc César Vendôme.
All the château are related, by way of families or other means, la Bourdaisière where Diane de Poitiers cultivated silk from trees.
In the first half of the 17th century the new owner the Marquis Nicolas Gouffier de Crévecoeur, transformed the outbuilding adjacent to the château into a remarkable architectural L shaped construction, today considered as a perfect example of the Tuscan order of archistecture. Around 1650 he also erected a castle wing on the terrace facing the moat looking south, that is totally dismantled now, but can be seen on an early drawing in the library today. These glorious improvements that included 2 square shape pavilions on both side of the wing, lead the owner to bankruptcy, and in 1674, he had to dispose of the Estate.
After that, le Château de la Bourdaisière changed ownership often, but became the centre of local social highlife, especially with La Princesse de la Tour d’Auvergne
In November 1768, the Duc de Luynes inherited the Estate, offset the same with land of la Baronnie de Cinq Mars La Pile that was the property of the Duc de Choiseul, the famous Finance Minister of Louis the XV.
When Choiseul was asked by the King to leave Paris and moved to the Château de Chanteloup next to Amboise, he decided, with the advice of his architect Le Camus to dismantle la Bourdaisière and use the construction material and leaving only the ruins of the late beautiful house of the Babou and the Marquis de Crévecoeur.
Late XVIII° century La Bourdaisière became the property of la Duchesse d’Orleans, Adelaide de Bourbon Penthièvre, spouse of ‘Philippe Egalité’. The Estate was seized by the revolutionaries, became a ‘Biens Nationaux’ in 1794. It was then bought by a wine merchant from Britany, Armand Dubernad who rebuild a new château that was more in the style of a noble house, with a front portico ‘à l’Antique’. An oil painting shows very well how the house was positioned with a view facing the Cher river.
In 1802, the Estate was sold to the Baron Joseph Angelier and underwent a vast renovation programme, turning the ‘Directoire’ façade into a néo Renaissance building. He filled the moats, removed the 3 drawer bridge as well as the old donjon dating from the medieval time. He also transformed the former gardener’s house into a néogothic chapel in Tudor ‘s style and had a vegetable garden designed. Today the XVI°century’s terraces are still covering the old medieval construction with two mysterious levels of cellars and rooms…
It was his son, Gustave Angelier who redecorated the castle, added the library and erected an Henri the IVth staircase in red bricks in front of the medieval wall reaching the terrace from the south that is hiding something !
The third Baron Angelier who inherited the Estate in 1890, built the North-West tower and transformed the inside of the outbuildings into luxurious stables as he was a horse fan.
In 1923 a rich american married to Monsieur de Mérainville, redecorated the inside of he house and received the Duke of Winsor in 1937. Bought by and Englishman in 1938, it was occupied by the Germans before being turned into a military school and given back to its owners.
Classified as Historical Monuments in 1947, it was later given to the town hall and transformed into a retirement home until it was bought in 1991 by the brothers Prince Philippe Maurice and Prince Louis Albert de Broglie who decided to open the house to the public and transformed it into a hotel and gardens, undergoing major renovation and transformations .
Since November 2008, Prince Louis Albert became the sole owner of the Estate, resulting in a global renovation eco-project.