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It all begins with the story of a couple: Louise de Clermont, Countess of Tonnerre, and Antoine de Crussol, Duke of Uzès.

Louise de Clermont was a 52-year-old woman when she married Antoine de Crussol (28 years old) in 1556. He was a war leader, peer of France and knight of honor of the French crown. He was named Duke of Uzes in 1565. Louise was a woman of character, intelligent and whose beauty was praised. His character traits earned him the sympathy and friendship of the greatest, such as François I or Catherine de Medici, but also the wrath of some.

Indeed, among the trials and accusations that punctuated his life, one case was at the origin of the construction of Château de Maulnes: The young couple Louise-Antoine went to Tonnerre just after their marriage. Only the city of which Louise is the countess suffered a gigantic fire which ravaged it the day before their arrival. The inhabitants of Tonnerre, and in particular the bourgeoisie, accused Louise of having ordered the fire and refused her access to the town.

Annoyed, Antoine de Crussol therefore wishes to impose his power and his social position in front of everyone. In addition to replacing the “slingers” with trusted people in key positions in the city, he will build a castle worthy of welcoming the couple and their entourage and which will make an impression.

 Gravures

History

dessin de Louise
dessin antoine
Vue cavalière 1 Maulnes Androuet du Cerc

Erected between 1566 and 1573 only, and a still little-known architectural masterpiece of the French Renaissance, the Château de Maulnes is unique in its kind. Pentagonal shape, labyrinthine circulation, omnipresence of symbols, it embodies the genius and passions of this fascinating era in our history.

The architect of Maulnes remains unknown, but it is indisputable that Louise and Antoine imagined and sketched the main lines. The desire and search for aesthetics and harmony, linked to technical prowess, makes this castle an architectural challenge.

However, the Maulnes project was never able to reach its final form. Indeed, Antoine de Crussol died “following his fatigue” in 1573 on his return from the siege of La Rochelle. The work will then be stopped in its tracks, and Louise de Clermont will not return, or very little, to Maulnes until her death, 23 years later, preferring to go a few kilometers away, to her brother in Ancy le Franc.

The castle was transformed into a glassworks in the 18th century, then passed between several owners who abandoned it in favor of the land and its exploitation. It was only in 1997 that the Department of Yonne bought Maulnes in ruins and began major restoration projects in order to restore its splendor and make it available to as many people as possible.

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