Between Sologne and Beauce, on the shores of the “royal” river, the castle of Meung-sur-Loire stands tall. Due to the coexistence of its medieval and classical façades, it has been nicknamed “the château with two faces”. A cradle for the Capetians, up until the French Revolution it functioned as the prestigious residence of the bishops of Orléans; in point of fact, it is one of the rare castles constructed by and for bishops.  It was during the 13th century that Bishop Manassès de Seignelay supervised the building of a true palace, a residence deemed worthy of his name and his rank.  Over the ensuing centuries it was enlarged, particularly during the Hundred Years’ War; the bishops not only expanded the castle, but also had it equipped with a new tower.

At the outset of the 18th century, the monument was transformed; that is how the “two-faced” château came into being.   In 1706, Bishop Fleuriau d’Armenonville was granted 20,000 pounds from King Louis XIV for restoration of a castle characterized at the time as worn out and dilapidated.

And now? While on the town side, the building has maintained the rigor of its medieval architecture, the garden side facade been so thoroughly overhauled as to present the appearance of a classical château. The façades are unified, featuring wide windows and predominantly red walls, rendering Meung-sur-Loire one of the few painted castles in France.

Since 2010, the Château de Meung-sur-Loire has been the property of Elise and Xavier Lelevé. Major restoration work has been initiated, as have studies designed to help readers better understand the history and structure of the castle. A tour route including more than 2000 objects takes the visitor from the granary to the basement, thereby enabling him or her to discover daily life over the centuries in a seigneurial residence.

You will be invited to set foot on an 18th-century bathroom, a smoking area, an herbal store and a magnificent neoclassical chapel; in doing so, you will be following in the footsteps of Louis XI, François I, Joan of Arc … and the poet François Villon, who sojourned in the castle jail.  The tour route is studded with original and surprising attractions: an “odorama” pathway, “quiz boxes” playfully showcasing various objects, an underground video show …



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