A little history of Le Rocher castle
We can visit the castle’s outdoors! Fine, because the Renaissance façades are really gorgeous... and, with a little bit of luck, maybe we’ll see the castle’s ghost, the Green lady, Eléonore de Bouillé!
The first mention of the château du Rocher dates back to 1304, with Jean Le Maire, lord du Rocher: at that time, we found two castles here on the parish, the castle du Rocher and Sainte-Suzanne’s one.
Then the land du Rocher fell to the Bouillé, by marriage: Jean de Bouillé re-raised the castle at the end of the 15th century.
The primitive buildings, very austere, were transformed into two nice main buildings, made of grey granite.
Overlooking the courtyard, a fine polygonal tower housed the staircase. But the current Renaissance castle was raised by François de Bouillé, who inherited the place in 1512.
This chap (he was Great Falconer of France) was king François I’s comrade in arms during war of Italy, he saw Renaissance buildings, there! When he came back in France, he decided to add Italian elements in his castle, from 1535.
He added the gallery linking up the chapel and the staircase tower. And he created a real masterpiece: the façade decoration with flowers, trophies, fine volutes and Jean’s coat of arms.
The tradition says Norman artists made this decor, maybe those who worked on the Escoville city house’s building site (Caen, Normandy)...
Bouillé family kept the castle until 1665: Eléonore sold it to duke de Roquelaure. This one gave it to his daughter, duchess de Foix-Candale, who sold it to her brother, marshal of Roquelaure.
But it was Benoît Eynard who transformed the castle in the 18th century: ouch, destructions, not transformations!
The new owner demolished old medieval fortress vestiges, fill the ditches, removed the painted panelling, chimneys... He extended the castle with a detached house and started to relay out the park. But he died in 1771...