Birthplace of one of most renowned Renaissance poets, Pierre de Ronsard, the Manoir de la Possonnière is a charming 15th-century residence built in tufa stone typical of the Loire valley region.  Visitors passing through this agreeable Touraine estate will be won over by the elegant architecture and the becalming gardens. The interior will impel visitors to follow in the footsteps of Pierre de Ronsard’s family and to get better acquainted with the personality of a writer who is not sufficiently widely known.

Forest wardens during the Middle Ages, the poet’s ancestors possessed a troglodytic fief, property that expanded as the family moved up the social ladder. Cupbearer of King Louis XI, his grandfather built the main lodgings during the 1480s. The one-time troglodytic rooms, which remain visible to this day, were transformed first into commons, and then into kitchen/bakery and wine cellar. Today, they add an unusual dimension to an intimate Loire valley monument.

Adorning the southern facade of the 15th-century manor, the refined sculptures recall the style of the first Renaissance. In point of fact, they were added during the 16th century, in the times of Pierre de Ronsard’s father, Loys, knight and then maître d’hôtel at the bid and behest of the two most important sons of François I. The intriguing Latin and French inscriptions on some of the facades date from the same period.

The interior is of pronounced interest; for example, it contains a monumental fireplace, sculpted in such a way as to highlight the personality traits of the poet’s father, Loys de Ronsard. And the paintings on the walls of the large room, which most likely date back to the 16th century, present the crests of the most eminent members of an illustrious family.

Restored and transformed in the mid-19th century, the Manoir de la Possonnière has nonetheless retained its Renaissance charm. Since 2003, it has been surrounded by refined gardens featuring ornate vegetable gardens and massifs of ancient and modern roses. However, embellishment of the exteriors has yet to be completed, and a project involving new gardens for 2020 is currently under consideration. The green areas will complement the Gâtine woods overlooking the southern court, a site adored by the poet that now functions as a pedagogical pathway; panels provide information on the flora and the fauna … and extracts from poems. A not-to-be-missed monument in the Vendôme area, the  Possonnière monument is a site blending poetry, culture, history and botany in a decidedly enchanting setting.



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