Visit Chateau de Chaumont in the Loire Valley

Photo of Chateau de Chaumont

Chateau de Chaumont visitor guide and history

The present Chateau de Chaumont is built on two former strongholds, and the total reconstruction of the old fortress occurred around 1466, by command of Bishop Pierre d'Amboise (1408-1473).

The Castle, at Chaumont-sur-Loire, clearly follows a medieval plan, with its corner towers and drawbridge. It has thick walls that were topped by cannons. The top of the staircase in the courtyard was never completed.

The appearance of the castle, originally of the Gothic style, was later transformed into a Gothic-Renaissance style, with deep ditches, a fortified door with a drawbridge and a parapet walk. The castle is covered with black slate towers, chimneys, gables and buttresses adorned with a vast array of drums and statues, with a double spiral staircase.

High on a ridge overlooking the natural valley, the tower is a unique testimony of the Castle of the Counts of Champagne, with a height of about 20 metres and with walls around two meters thick. The original castle was built in the tenth century by Counts of Champagne, in a strategic position on a hill overlooking the river and the Loire valley, to defend the feuds of Amboise against Fulk the Black (972-1040).

In 1465 Louis XI (1423-1483) burned Chaumont Castle to punish Pierre d'Amboise for having rebelled by joining the ‘League of the public good’. Pierre d'Amboise and his successors rebuilt the castle from 1468 to 1510. Queen Catherine de 'Medici (1519-1589) bought Chaumont in 1550 and on the death of Henry II (1519-1559) she gave the castle to Diane de Poitiers (1499-1566).

At the end of the sixteenth century, the castle belonged to Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne (1611-1675), and then passed to the banker Scipione Sardini (XVI century). During the reign of Louis XIV (1638-1715) the place passed to Paul de Beauvilliers, Duke of Saint-Aignan (1648-1714). Chaumont was then bought in the mid-half of the eighteenth century, by Jacques Donatien Le Ray (1726-1803).

In the nineteenth century, the castle passed to Count d'Aramon, and Viscount Joseph Walsh, and finally to Prince Henri-Amedee de Broglie (1849-1917). In the second half of the nineteenth century Marie Charlotte Constance Say purchased the castle of Chaumont, which was in time enlarged and restored (stables and the park). Today it is managed by the Regional Centre.

Inside the castle is very large and spacious, with some rooms equipped with magnificent tapestries, and finely crafted floors. Among the beautifully furnished rooms are those of Catherine de Medici, where there are some mysterious cabalistic symbols on the fireplace.  The Council Room is also exceptional with a collection of seventeenth century majolica. More austere, but no less enjoyable, is surely the halls of the Guards, with a rustic fireplace, rustic furniture and some armours.

The room of Diane de Poitiers is less sumptuous than that of Catherine de Medici, although the furnishings, tapestries and the fireplace are a very elegant and refined. Among the private apartments of great sophistication is the dining room of the De Broglie, the extraordinary Library and Great Hall, very tastefully and opulently decorated.

The private chapel, with its polychrome windows, may conclude the visit inside the castle.

The most enjoyable part of the castle by tourists is surely the outside, where each year the ‘International Festival of Chaumont’ takes place with the realization of the best contemporary gardens design, as selected in an international competition. Those selected represent a remarkable panorama of international landscapes, unusual, fascinating and entertaining for visitors.

Map of Chateau de Chaumont & places nearby

Castle Town village

Selected places to visit in or near Chateau de Chaumont, Loire Valley