Coussay! Cardinal Richelieu’s estate! In the 17th century, he was exiled here, "living as a poor monk”. At that time, he wasn’t a cardinal, but simple bishop of Luçon. His parents, lords of Plessis, owned Coussay in 1543.
A man called Denis Briçonnet raised the former castle in 1519. Denis was abbot in Cormey abbey, and he just came back from Italy in 1519: there he saw Renaissance buildings and decided to transform his old estate into an Italian palace!
Surrounded by moats, the castle was made of a long main building flanked by 4 round towers on corners. One of those tower looks like a keep: on the second floor was the chapel where Richelieu had the Mass.
So, that was here that our young bishop, Armand du Plessis, spent most of his time, between 1608 and 1621, in order to find peace. He was exiled here for 4 years... Exiled? Yes, Armand was in favour with queen Mary of Medici.
But Armand fell from grace at the same time as the queen: his exile began on Coussay land. Patience, patience... The young Armand, who said "when I decide something, I go straight to the point and overcome everything with my red cloth” will be reward when he reconcile with the queen and his son, Louis XIII.
In 1622, he became cardinal, finally! When he died in 1642, Coussay fell to several owners and was sold during the Revolution. Nowadays, we can visit the park!