Sully-sur-Loire: attempted murder on Joan of Arc, Voltaire's exile

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Sully-sur-Loire castle Castle Castle of the Loire Valley Accident Joan of Arc Voltaire Maximilien de Béthune

Let’s build!

1218. At that time, king of France Philip Augustus raised a keep on a site known since the Gallo-Roman time. A keep fell to lords of Sully, then: Guy de la Trémoille and his wife Marie de Sully. Between 1395 and 1400, those two ones re-raised the castle, based on plans drew by Raymond du Temple, a great medieval architect.

Hey, what did this keep look like? Well, imagine a big rectangular house, flanks by 4 round towers, each tower composed of 3 floors. The building was surrounded by moats and ramparts, and protected by a draw-bridge. Well, a big defensive fortress, you know?

We razed everything!

So, when king Henri IV’s famous minister Sully owned the castle in 1602, he decided to re-raise everything! Whoa, it was too heavy, too ugly, too… medieval. Shoo, he razed everything! Between 1602 and 1609, he transformed the castle: he razed Augustus’ tower and raised the ″Little castle″, a group of residential buildings. A park was even landscaped.

Sully in the water

The lord of Sully knew well the area and the river Loire. And yet, he almost drowned himself, in the autumn 1608! The river was furious, during a storm, and he was quietly working in his study. People told him about the water’s rising, in vain: he remained imperturbable.

He nearly drowned himself, but some bargees saved him, at great risk to their own life… After Sully’ death, the castle remained in the Béthune-Sully family, for 3 centuries. Damaged during the French Revolution, almost destroyed by a fire in 1918 and bombing during World War II, the Loiret département bought it in 1962.

Golden exiles...

Joan screamed blue murder!

1430. Joan of Arc was hosted by Georges de La Trémoille, king of France Charles VII’s main councilor: Sully belonged to him, at that time. La Trémoille liked to plot and betray. Even Joan of Arc. Some witnesses said that during her sojourn in Sully, she escaped from an attempted murder: La Trémoille wanted to kill her, by throwing her from the top of the covered way! And after one month of ″seclusion″, Joan ran away from the castle… galloping towards her destiny.

Voltaire exiled in Sully

Then, François-Marie Arouet turned up... Voltaire! Exiled in 1716 at the age of 20, by the regent, Philippe d’Orléans. Because he laughed at the Court! The 5th duke of Sully, Maximilien-Henri, hosted him. Voltaire could write as he wanted, and having fun, here. He even fell in love with Suzanne de Livry: a lady to whom he gave the first roles in his plays!

He wrote during his exile: ″Sully, 1716. I wrote this from those shores, where lived the most pleasant men in France, those voluptuous wise men, hunting, laughing, rhyming on the happy banks of river Loire, who spend their autumn and their spring philosophizing and drinking.″ Voltaire’ll come back in Sully, in 1619, but this time hosted of his free will...


And also!