Jean-Baptiste d’Ornano in Aubenas
1611. Marie of Modena married Jean-Baptiste d’Ornano, and the couple immediately transformed the castle.
From that time date back the lovely varnished tiles on the roof and the terrace overlooking the Vivarais valley.
Jean-Baptiste d’Ornano? He was born in a Corsican family, descending from famous Sampiero Corso, who tried to release his island from Genovese in the 16th century.
One member of his family would be Napoleon I’s famous Empire marshal, Philippe d’Ornano!
We find Jean-Baptiste everywhere: he was marshal of France, Corsicans’ colonel, king's lieutenant in Normandy… and also Monsieur’s governor, king Louis XIII’s brother, Gaston d’Orléans.
Whoa, Gaston was such an arsehole. He always tried to pick a quarrel with Louis. He spent his life to plot against him.
Ornano was part of the conspiracy. So Louis XIII sent him in jail in La Bastille in 1624. First time. Then he forgave him and appointed him marshal of France. To think that Ornano became rich thanks to Louis XIII…
But when Gaston had enough to plot against the king, he abandoned all his pals: eek, arrested and executed as traitors.
What about Ornano? He was locked in Vincennes castle where he mysteriously died in 1626… Poisoning, said gossips!
Don’t miss his grave: Marie de Modena ordered it 10 years after his husband’s death. Genovese artists made this gorgeous marble mausoleum, flanks by the couple’s statues.
First put in Saint-Laurent church in Aubenas, damaged during the French Revolution, we can see it now next to the castle’s main staircase.