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Little histories about Sassenage castle

The castle | Milky / CC-BY-SA
Castle Love story Legend Zizim Louis XI Marguerite de Sassenage Sassenage castle

Mélusine, a damn good ancestor!

In the beginning, we find lords of Sassenage, a very old family from Dauphiné, whose first mention dates back to the 10th c.

Did you know the legend tells Raymondin de Bérenger’s wife, the ancestor of the fief’s lords, was the famous fairy Mélusine?

Besides, not far from here, we still visit caves of Mélusine, which used to fill by themselves every year on the Epiphany! It was there the fairy used to come.

The Turkish prince and the Sassenage lady

Do you remember Zizim, Ottoman sultan's son, Méhémet II, we met in Bourganeuf (Creuse)?

This exile prince in the middle of the 15th c. was also there, in the area, when they sent him in the castle of Rochechinard (Drôme). Maybe did he stop in the castle of Sassenage? We don’t know exactly…

Anyway, that was here in Sassenage he fell in love with lady Philippine.

Zizim said to her father, baron of Sassenage, he would change religion if he gave him his daughter’s hand.

The father refused. Anyway, Philippine already loved one man, Laurent de Beaumont… His father finally married her with another man, that she didn’t love…

Well, that’s it, everybody was deceived!

Louis' crush

Hey, among the Sassenage’s family, we had someone famous: Marguerite, king Louis XI’s mistress!

They had a 2 years love affair. And that story happened: Louis’ astrologer told him one day that a beloved woman would die.

“Ye gods, not Marguerite, please!” moaned Louis, who had a crush on her.

Louis said to the astrologer: “Stop predicting people’s death, and tell me instead when YOU’ll die!”

The astrologer answered: “Oh, easy: I’ll die 3 days before you…”

Oh my gosh… Deadly silence. Louis was so panic-stricken by the idea of death!

Instead of wringing his astrologer’s neck, he let him live his life as he pleased…

In short, the two lovers had 2 legitimized daughters: one of them, Marie of Valois, married count of Saint-Vallier, Aymar de Poitiers… descendant of famous Diane de Poitiers (king Henri II’s mistress)

Brand new!

In the 17th c., Charles-Louis-Alphonse de Sassenage, marquis of Pont-Royans, decided to raise a brand new castle.

Architect Laurent Sommaire was put in charge of the building site between 1662 and 1669: the white stony castle is a small main building flanks by two detached houses.

They fit out the apartments with panellings, painting ceilings, precious furniture made by the best cabinetmakers from Grenoble…

The landscaped garden was laid out in 1770.

Sassenage was spared during the French Revolution, and the Bérenger laid out a brand new park between 1853 and 1856, then they gave the estate to the Fondation de France.

Well, that was a close call!

In 1786, a young smuggler rot in jail in Grenoble. Nothing, nobody would save his head… the gallows waited for him!

But his girlfriend decided to ask for help to the marquise de Sassenage… why this particular lady?

Because the Sassenage family had the power to reprieve prisoners, a reward because they loyally served kings of France!

Our marquise was touched by the young lady… she wanted to help her!

So she rushed in Grenoble to stop the execution!

But, tired of that crazy story, she died few days weeks after that, at the age of 84…

Stony lions and unbridled passions

Do you see the two lions flanking the staircase, on the façade?

A legend (seen in Revue du Dauphiné, part 1, by Jules Ollivier) says in the past, a woman from Sassenage fell in love with them…

She madly fell in love with a soldier in garrison in Grenoble, a man who completely dropped her, afterwards. You boor!

The lady sank into madness and started to wander in the castle’s gardens, near the stony lion she especially loved.

At night, she came rubbing herself up against the statues, and finally bit them! So our poor lions were completely eroded, at the end… and they still are!

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!