French Castles : Chateau Guillaume the Castle of Eleanor of Aquitaine the Woman Who Ruled France and England.
Château Guillaume, The Castle Of The Queen Of England And France
French Castles : Chateau Guillaume
Chateau Guillaume is a Fortress-Castle nested in a little picturesque village with the same name. Around 320 km South of Paris. It belongs to the town of Lignac in the Indre Department.
The village of Chateau Guillaume is worth a visit in itself as it is like going back in time. From its stone houses with exterior stairs to its picturesque little church, Chateau Guillaume is charming and unforgettable.
The Castle was founded by Guillaume X (William X) Count of Poitou and Duc d’Aquitaine. It is here that Eleanor of Aquitaine future Queen of France and later Queen of England is said to be born and spent her first years. This is the reason why sometimes in memory of Eleanor Duchess of Aquitaine (1122-1204) Chateau Guillaume is also called the Castle of Eleanor of Aquitaine one of the most powerful women in Europe during the High Middle Ages. A Duchess who became Queen Consort of France (1137–1152) and of England (1154–1189).
Journées Européennes du Patrimoine and Chateau Guillaume
Last May we had the opportunity to visit Chateau Guillaume during a special day called Journee du Patrimoine. The Journees du Patrimoine are held twice a year, in May and in September. It lasts two days during which castles, museums, churches and gardens are open to the public free of charge. The program aims to be an incentive to visit and discover the area. Last May there were 73 sites open to the public in the region, plus 13 concerts offered free of charge in historical buildings.
It is always difficult to decide what places to see during these two days. There are too many places of interest in the region and we always want to see as much as possible while taking advantage of visiting those sites open to the public only during these special days. So, last May we decided to visit Chateau Guillaume, Chateau de Mazieres, and the Commanderie de L'Ordre de Malte. From these three sites, the most impressive was Chateau Guillaume.
Where is Chateau Guillaume?
Chateau Guillaume is nested in a little picturesque village with the same name. Around 320 km South of Paris. It belongs to the town of Lignac in the Indre Department.
To access the site, you must drive as there is no public transport available.
The nearest train station is in Argenton Sur Creuse, about 35km away from Chateau Guillaume
Where Is Chateau Guillaume
Chateau Guillaume, The Village and the Castle
Château Guillaume offers an imposing majestic view amidst the green scenery of the valley. You will get there through a sinuous country road to be surprised with the sudden view of the imposing walls and architecture of one of the most beautiful castles in the area.
When To Visit Chateau Guillaume
Like me, you could visit free of charge during one of the Journees de Patrimoine. Otherwise, the chateau is open for a small fee from June to September from 2 pm to 6 pm.
For more information and group visits you can call 0033 254 25 62 81
A good time to visit would be during the local festivities the last Sunday of July. During the Saint Christophe festivities, you can enjoy a little brocante (antique outdoor market), a small parade and a fair.
Another good time to visit is during the “Fête de château Guillaume” the first Sunday of October.
Near Christmas time, there is a Christmas market where you can find local produce.
Chateau Guillaume Opening Times:
Chateau Guillaume is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday only from the 1st of June to the 30th of September. You can visit only in the afternoons from 14:30 to 18:00.
Price list :
Adults Guided visit 7,00 €
Adults Gardens only 3,00 €
Children (7 to 12 years old) Guided visit 4,00 €
Chateau Guillaume: The Castle Of Eleanor Of Aquitaine, One Of The Most Powerful Women In Europe During The High Middle Ages.
Walking Around Chateau Guillaume, a children's delight!
Walking Around Chateau Guillaume
There is a lovely wild path of around de 1,7 km that surrounds the castle and allows you to discover part of the playground of Eleanor of Aquitaine the women who became Queen of France and later Queen of England.
The path is marked and easy to follow. There are even picnic tables for those who wish to take a break. During your walk you will need to spot (not always easy) the 4 sign posts each showing you the direction to follow and telling you a bit of history as if it had been written by Eleanor of Aquitaine herself.
Signposted Walk Around Guillaume's Castle
Castle of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Perhaps in memory of Eleanor Duchess of Aquitaine (1122-1204) Chateau Guillaume is also called the Castle of Eleanor of Aquitaine who, at her time was one of the most powerful women in Europe during the High Middle Ages and became Queen Consort of France (1137–1152) and of England (1154–1189).
Chateau Guillaume and Distances in kilometers to other French Towns and Cities
Eleanor The Woman who Ruled England and France
Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, Countess of Poitou:
1137-1152, Queen of France by marriage to Louis VII
1154-1189, Queen of England by marriage to Henry II
Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen of France, Queen of England
This gripping biography is the definitive account of the most important queen of the Middle Ages. The author draws on a wealth of primary sources, including a collection of Eleanor's own documents not previously accessible to scholars, and portrays an extraordinary woman who sought control of her own destiny. A queen of unparalleled appeal, Eleanor of Aquitaine retains her power to fascinate even 800 years after her death.
Eleanor of Aquitaine : The Incredible Life of the Woman Who Became Queen Of France and Queen of England
It is argued that Eleanor of Aquitaine was born in Chateau Guillaume at around 1122. At the death of her brother in 1130, she inherited the duchy of Aquitaine. At the death of her father in 1137, at only 15 years old, she became what today we could call one of the richest, most powerful, and, therefore, one of the most eligible brides in Europe as she controlled more land than the King of France himself.
That same year she married King Louis VI “The Fat” –aged 16- who only a few days after the marriage, after the death of her father, became King Louis VII of France. A few months later, in December 1137 Eleanor was crowned Queen of France.
A woman of action, Eleanor participated in the Second Crusade. She insisted on taking part in the Crusades as the feudal leader of the soldiers from her duchy. At around the same time she was already looking to annul her marriage to King Louis VII but the Pope rejected her request and asked the couple to try to revive their marriage, which they did, and a second daughter was born out of that reconciliation. However, a second daughter was not going to save Eleanor’s marriage. She was supposed to provide a son to the Kingdom. So, after 15 years of marriage Louis VII agreed to an annulment based on consanguinity at 4th and 5th degree.
This is how aged 30 Eleanor found herself free with her lands restored to her, making her aging one of the most eligible brides in Europe. Not wanting to waste any time, as soon as her marriage to the King of France was annulled, she became engaged with Henry, Duke of Normandy. It must be noted that Henry was also her cousin of third degree and that he was nine years younger than her. They married eight weeks after Eleanor’s marriage annulment.
Two years later, in 1154, Henry Duke of Normandy was proclaimed heir to the English throne after waging successful campaigns and gaining support from many English lords. On December 19, 1154, Henry and Eleanor were crowned king and queen of England by the archbishop of Canterbury.
As a Queen of England, Eleanor managed to give birth to 8 children 3 of whom became in time Kings of England. In 1189 when her son Richard I, known as Richard The Lionheart, ascended to the throne and later went to the Third Crusade, once more, Eleanor took the power, this time as Queen Regent. She was then 67 years old, a very old woman for her age but nonetheless a strong Queen.
On May 12, 1994 both Richard the Lionheart and Eleanor left England for Normandy. Neither would ever set foot in England again.
Eleanor lived a long life; in fact she managed to outlive most of her children. She was Queen of England and France and ruled as regent several times with perhaps better success than her male counterparts.
The Lion In Winter (1968) - Trailer
More about Eleanor d’Aquitaine the woman who reigned over France and England.
If you are captivated by this woman, but do not fancy going trough history books you can watch The Lion in the Winter (1968). A film about the tempestuous relationship between Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn) and Henry (Peter O’Toole).
A more modern version dates from 2003, a remake for TV of The Lion in Winter starring Glenn Close and Patrick Stewart.
The Divine Feminine - Eleanor of Aquitaine
Chateau Guillaume is a dream for architecture and history lovers. But it is also a good place for a family day out. We visited with our children who loved the enchanted gardens. They ran and looked for fairies and dwarfs, although all they found was a frog. But who knows, maybe it wasn’t really a frog, but an enchanted Prince!
Did You Enjoy This Visit To Chateau Guillaume?
© 2014 Wendy Iturrizaga
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