The owners of the house, from the Middle Ages to the XXIst century
From medieval dungeon to Italian Renaissance chateau
Built on the banks of the Loir, the château du Lude was well suited to defend the Anjou Kingdom from the early 10th century.
This fortress played a strategic role during the Middle Ages, particularly during the Hundred Years war. In 1427, on his way to join Joan of Arc at Orleans, the famous Gilles de Rais (Bluebeard) besieged the fortress which had been occupied by the English for many years.
King Louis XI’s chamberlain, Jehan de Daillon, acquired the château in 1457. Under the reign of François I, his descendants employed various Italian artists and architects to convert the grim fortress into a comfortable and elegant residence. The Daillon family was very close to the French kings, and many of them, like Henri IV and Louis XIII, stayed at le Lude.
Fresh ideas from China
During the 18th century, le Lude was sold to Joseph Duvelaer, member of the French East Indian Company. After a long career in China, he settled in his new estate with his Chinese wife, who was from Canton.
His niece and heiress, Marchionness de la Vieuville, modernised the château and defended the castle during the French Revolution with the help of the villagers.
Her descendants, the Talhouët-Roy family, have been on the French political scene ever since, with the current owner being a member of the regional government.
A house between tradition and creation.
In the second half of the 20th century, a son et lumière (sound and light show) was created at le Lude, the first one to use over 350 actors, all from the town. This magnificent show, which lasted four decades, received the most distinguished touristic and cultural awards.
In the hands of the same family for the past 260 years, Le Lude now belongs to Count and Countess Louis-Jean de Nicolaÿ. They are trying to preserve the memory of the past, and are also looking at the future; they have created new gardens and events, such as the Garden Festival and the Gourmet days to share the beauty and charm of their exceptional home with the public.