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The Château d'Ussé is located in the commune of Rigny-Ussé in the Indre-et-Loire departement, in France. An 11th century stronghold for the Comte de Blois, the first castle was built on a high terrace at the edge of the Chinon forest overlooking the Indre Valley.

History

The structure was almost completely rebuilt by Jean Bueil, a compatriot of Joan of Arc, during the middle part of the 15th century. His son, Antoine Bueil, married the daughter of King Charles VII of France and continued with his father's building efforts. In 1485 Charles d'Espinay bought the castle and continued the rebuilding, walled the courtyard and arranged for his son to build the collegiate church in 1520.

Built in the white tuffeau (tufa) stone of the Loire Valley, each of the exotic castle's wings is filled with turreted towers, capping crenellated and machicolated battlements.

The d'Espinay family sold the castle in 1557 and for the next 110 years, it was little used and allowed to decline. Restored by the Bernin family it was sold twice before the French Revolution after which it sat empty until 1808 when the Duc (Duke) de Duras purchased the estate. Wealthy, and in the employ of King Louis XVIII, the Comtesse Auguste (née Duras) had the castle fully restored. Descendants of the Duc de Duras remain the current owners of the Château d'Ussé.

Miscellaneous

Author Charles Perrault (1628‑1703) used the Château d'Ussé as the castle in his famous fairytale, Sleeping Beauty. Inside the castle, visitors today can see a waxwork tableau from the fairytale.

Further, the castle serves as the inspiration for the designs of Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom.[1] (http://period8mayer.tripod.com/Usse.html)[2] (http://www.dlp-guidebook.de/Lands/Fantasyland/Attractions/ChateauDeLaBelle.htm) Curiously, another castle, Neuschwanstein, served as the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland.

Parts of the castle are open to public tours and the rooms contain a remarkable collection of period furniture. The guard room has a collection of weapons, and a gallery with walls covered by a huge tapestry showing realistic scenes.

See also

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