Gaspard de Saulx-Tavannes: the guy who built to drown his sorrows

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Le Pailly castle Castle Tragic destiny Gaspard de Saulx Wars of Religion

An inconsolable marshal

A marshal? Oh, a proud and handsome marshal, eh... Oops, sorry, let’s stick to the subject… So, who was this marshal? Gaspard de Saulx-Tavannes. Because, even if the first mention of Le Pailly dates back to the 13th century, it was Gaspard who raised the current Renaissance castle in 1563.

Well, ″raised″… thanks to the architect Nicolas Ribonnier! Gaspard’ parents owned Pailly’s estate in 1530. The tradition says that our marshal raised the Pailly to drown his sorrows. To forget his elder son’s death at war… he also threw himself with all his might into hunting, taking care of his horses and his other kids.

Gaspard the tough guy!

But who was this Saulx-Tavannes? King François I's page boy during the battle of Pavia in Italy, the young chap stood out by his great courage in battles of Cerisoles, Boulogne, Arlon... During a tournament in Paris in 1549, the tradition says Tavannes broke 60 spears without being hurt, and this for 8 days! Tough, isn’t it?

During war of Religion, Tavannes started to fight against Protestants (he hated them), creating the Holy Spirit brotherhood in order to serve the Catholic faith: they said that he launched the Saint-Bartholomew's Day Massacre... Yes! Chronicler Brantôme said that day, he yelled in the streets of Paris: ″Bleed dry, bleed dry! Doctors say the bleeding is good in this month of August.″ Well, we don’t know exactly if he really said that… eh, mister Brantôme? Finally, the consecration! King gave Tavannes the marshal's baton in 1570.

Gaspard and the Renaissance

Well, to go on with our story... Tavannes was raised in king François I's court: he saw the beginning of Renaissance style in France! So he decorated his castle with Renaissance elements... but also kept medieval defensive functions, as machicolations and fortifications... in case of wars! So, in Le Pailly castle, they kept the keep and 4 angle towers from the old fortress.


And also!