Nevers ducal palace, legendary stories in the stone

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The Clèves' swan - ©GO69 / CC-BY-SA The Clèves' swan - ©GO69 / CC-BY-SA
Nevers ducal palace Castle Legend

Between 1464 et 1475, tada: Jean II de Clamecy raised a brand new castle next to the old medieval one: whoa, it’s a gorgeous Renaissance building! At the corners, look: 2 high towers and 2 octagonal ones, but also the main staircase tower. Then? The jewel fell to the family de Clèves!

Legends in the stone

Look at this staircase tower, with its low-relief remade in the middle of the 19th century. We can see:
• first, Clèves’s blazon, with the legend of saint Hubert: Diane de La Marck, Jacques de Clèves’ wife, was one of his descendant.
• then, the legend of the Swan Knight, the legendary ancestor of the family de Clèves. This legend even inspired Wagner his opera Lohengrin!

Hubert’s white stag

7th century. Hubert (king of France Clovis' descendant) was fond of hunting. So much, that he let his faith aside! He only wanted to ride for hours in the wood, tracking animals… One day, he came across a big white stag. Whoa! Hubert was amazed. He needed it!

So he chased it, in vain. The creature seemed tireless, while he was completely exhausted… Suddenly, the stag stopped, with a blinding light around its body, and a cross between the antlers. One voice murmured to Hubert it was time to stop hunting… he had to pray! Hubert became a monk, the future bishop of Liege and patron saint of hunters.

Swan Knight

In the castle of Cologne, lords and princes often gathered to make tournaments. One day, the joust nearly began. But people saw an unknown knight arrived on the river Rhine on a small boat harnessed to a swan… Hélias (his name) won all the tournaments. The king, impressed, gave him his daughter’s hand.

They married and lived their life happily… until one day the swan came back with the boat, to pick up the knight… who disappeared without a trace… The legend says that the couple had kids: descendants of the de Clèves’ family.


And also!