Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The village of Avaray .Loire Valley France.

The  Church at Avaray.

AVARAY  is a small  medieval village in the Loire-e-Cher area of France.It is located on the Loire River about 8 miles  from Beaugency and about 30 miles from Orleans.The Chateau D'Avaray was built in the 12th century and in 1667 it was bought by the Béziade family who was from the Bearnaise area of France. The Duke was the bailiff of Orleans and his family after him also filled  that position .King Louis XVIII created the the estate a duchy  under the title of D'Avaray in 1799 in favor of the Duke of D'Avaray who he called his liberator,
The town housed most of the workers who were employed by  the Duke . In 1793-around the French Revolution - the town had 709 inhabitants that grew to 967 in 1851  .It  declined to about 703 inhabitants consisting of about 294 houses in 2009.Today it is a charming little town and it feels if time stood still. 

The Avaray Church Square. Eglise Notre Dame de l"Assomption.

In 1137 King Louis VII chartered a church on this spot in Avaray  .The church was built  on the site of a eleventh century chapel - built on a pagan site The door on the north side of the church is from the eleven century.
 .The church was destroyed by the English troops in the 14th century.It was most probably only restored after  the liberation of Orleans by Joan of Arc in 1429.In 1553 the bell tower was built by masons of Avaray. There is also a corner stone dated 1604.
The Chateau D'Avaray was originally a fortress with four towers built in 1150 . Jehan Mineray bought the fortress around 1476 .He kept the four original towers but reconstructed a new building. .Later the Montgomery family owned the castle and in 1621 the  estate was bought by Jacques de  Beziade who's family built the current chateau in  1737..The chateau was sold as apartments in the 1950's ,
Eleven members of the Beziade family is buried in a vault under the church.

The Town Hall.
There was a tunnel that connected the Chateau to the Town Hall.


There are  several "lavoires" in the town .
The women of the town did their washing there.

Wall around the chateau.

Corner tower in the wall surrounding the chateau. 

View of the chateau over the wall .

Entrance to the Chateau D'Avaray from the town. 

The Avaray grave yard with some graves dated 1705

When I returned to Avaray in 2018 I found a new grave in the cemetery.
 That of Louis Frémaux the famous French conductor .

Chateau D'Avaray.Loire Valley France.

 I became very interested in the d'Avaray family when my friends ; Pieter and Susan  bought the grand apartment in the Chateau d'Avaray in the Loire Valley of France.

Pieter and Susan.


Chateau D'Avaray with the Loire River in the background.

Chateau D'Avaray.

Après-midi humide et léger brouillard sur la prairie. 
Wet afternoon and light fog on the meadow. 
#Avaray #valdeloire

History of the Chateau D'Avaray.

To the feudal castle's 13th century foundations and towers, the west and north wings were added. The moat was built around 1620. In  1730, three dormant bridges that crossed the moat and drawbridge  was removed. The south facade, the central front building with its balcony and the triangular pediment that dominates the chateau was also added in 1730. In 1736,  the eastern wing was built.
The Chateau D'Avaray is located on the right  bank of the Loire. It is a magnificent building of the Louis XIII style, flanked at the corners by massive 13th century towers and surrounded by a large moat. The water  can be crossed  by  three stone bridges.The spillway of this moat operates a mill before driving the water  to the Loire.
 The park was designed by Le Nôtre , who also  designed the gardens of Versailles. 

The old 13th century  feudal castle  belonged Jehan de Mineray who bought it in 1476 Later  to the Montgomery family bought the estate. One of them, Gabriel, captain of the Scottish Guard, had the misfortune of  killing  the French King Henry II in a tournament. The tombstone of his son Francois's wife, Péronnelle de Champagne is preserved at the chateau.

It was rebuilt by the family of Bésiade,who came to France  with Henry IV of Navarre and Béarn, who was the first Protestant King of France.The Besiade family's  direct descendants kept the chateau until 1942. It was then sold to the Belgium Baron Stalins. In the 1950's it was sold as 19 separate apartments .


The founder of the Montgomery family was born in Normandy France .
He was Hugh Mundegumbrie who went with his kinsman William the Conqueror  to England  in 1066 and partook in the battle of Hastings.

Gabriel de Lorges comte de Montgomery 1530 1574 by Feron Eloi Firmin.jpg

  Gabriel. Comte de Montgomery Seigneur de Lorges (5 May 1530 – 26 June 1574), 
This French nobleman, was a captain of the Scots Guard of King Henri II of France. He is remembered for mortally injuring King Henry II,  July 1559  in a jousting  accident and subsequently converting  to Protestantism ,the faith that the Scots Guard sought to suppress.He became a leader of the Huguenots, When he returned to France he was beheaded by Queen Catherine de Medici.

Gabriel de Lorge Count of Montgomery -ready for the jousting match,

 Comte Montgomery's spear wounding King Henry II.

"King Henri II was fourty years old and had been King for twelve years.He gave his daughter in marriage to the King of Spain and he organized a great festivety in honor of the long- awaited peace that the marriage brought .The king was sportsman himself -and part took in the tournamont .
His opponent Gabriel -Duke of Montgomery- of Scottish origin and captain of the Scotts Guard the eiite bodyguard of the King .The twenty nine year old Montgomery struck the King and his lance penetrated the visor of the helmet piercing the Kings Eye .After ten days of agony King Henry II died "

King Henry II of France..


Andre Le Nôtre (12 March 1613 – 15 September 1700), was a French landscape architect  and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France . Most notably, he was the landscape architect  who designed the park of the Palace of Versailles ,and his work represents the height of the French formal garden style.

A statue of  the Duchess de Berry on the mantle .

Marie Caroline de Bourbon-Sicile . Duchess of Berry (1798-1870)

Caroline was born at the Caserta Palace in Naples. She was the eldest child of Prince Ferdinand, the future King Francis I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Archduchess Maria Clementina of Austria  
She stayed at  the Chateua D'Avaray when she visited her son Henri -Count of Chambord. at his chateua nearby  He was her fourth child .1820-1883 .He was dubbed the "miracle child" as his birth continued the direcrt Bourbon line of King Louis XIV. As he was going to be the heir to the throne his mother- the Duchess of Berry- became an important figure in the politics of the Bourbon Restoration.


The  Avaray family's town house in Paris was the Hotel d'Avaray at  85, rue de Grenelle.
The mansion was designed for the Duke Claude Theophile in 1723 by the architect Jean Baptist Leroux. In 1920 the Avaray family sold the town house to the Netherlands Government and it is now  the Royal Netherlands Embassy to France.

Hotel d'Avaray at  85, rue de Grenelle.

Hotel d'Avaray (Paris) - Résidence de l'Ambassadeur des Pays-Bas en France.JPG