Located in the heart of Sologne, only a few kilometers from the celebrated estate of François I, the château de Villesavin is a peculiar place once known as “the Chambord worksite shack”.   It was built in the 16th century by Jean Le Breton, who was not only the financial secretary and military Comptroller General under François I, but also a supervisor in Chambord. On the lands of Villesavin accorded to him by the monarch, he built the château of Villesavin, a pied-à-terre placing him in a perfect position to monitor progress on the royal worksite. The French and Florentine craftsmen of Chambord significantly enhanced the refinement of Villesavin’s decor, especially as regards the dormer windows and wall paintings in the chapel.

In some ways modeled after Italian Renaissance villas, the château of Villesavin is one of the first Renaissance castles in the Loire valley to consist of square pavilions in a “U” plan. Up until the 19th century, several successive proprietors were responsible for minor architectural modifications.  Acquired in 1937 by the de Sparre family, the château endured a prolonged period of abandonment; only in 1954 did the parents of today’s proprietors resume renovation work. At present, Count Lars de Sparre and his wife Véronique are carrying on with the restoration and opening to tourism of a distinctly familial château.

There are many surprises in store for the visitor to the château de Villesavin. Now accessible for guided tours, the interior contains refined furnishings further embellished by a collection of tin objects. The castle also hosts several museums, including a wedding museum presenting an exceptionally rich collection of 1500 objects retracing 150 years of history. A visit offers a reconstitution of the key moments of nuptial proceeding, from preparation of the bride’s trousseau to the bridal chamber. The visitor will be amazed by the richness of period wedding dresses (1850 to 1950) in the wedding globe room, where no less than 350 historically revelatory and esthetically exquisite models are exhibited. And finally, in the ancient castle stables, many visitors will enjoy the museum of horse-drawn carriages and children’s cars.

While children are participating in a ghost hunt in the castle park, teenagers will be busy with a game testing their observation skills. Villesavin is also the site of a mini-farm with goats, sheep, cows, rabbits, hens … and the well-known Baudets du Poitou (local jackasses).



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