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Luynes castle: Charles d'Albert, prince of birds... and a little saint

The courtyard | Manfred Heyde / CC-BY-SA
Castle of the Loire Valley Castle Miracle Charles d'Albert de Luynes Jeanne-Marie de Maillé Luynes castle

When Luynes was Maillé

Originally, Luynes was a barony known as Maillé, until the 17th century. Since the 11th century, we had here an impregnable castle. After an excommunication launched by archbishop of Tours against lord Hardouin I de Maillé, Foulques Réchin, count of Anjou and Touraine jumped at the chance and seized the castle to destroy it, in 1096! The lord of Maillé re-raised it in 1106. Once the peace was back in the area, Hardouin IV de Maillé raised the nice dwelling house in the inner courtyard, in the 15th century.

Prince of birds

Their hobbies? Birds!

And a famous one turned up: who? Charles d'Albert, lord of Luynes! He was allowed to change Maillé’s name into Luynes, in 1619… the current name! Hey, but who was this Albert? He was born in a famous Italian family settled in Provence. He became Louis XIII’s favourite. Hey, did he bewitch him! How? With birds! Louis’ hobby! That was good, Albert learned hawking, and cranes’ training, also. So, he could make amazing demonstration of his talent to the king, completely flabbergasted!

The falconer waged war

Becoming Great Falconer of France (a job especially created for him), Albert suggested to Louis to murder Concini, queen Marie of Medici’s favourite! Once the thing was done, he get back Concini’s fortune and titles: he was first gentleman and governor of Picardy. Then he became a constable, and he started to hunt protestants. These one took up arms. But Albert was more accustom to birds and other gentle pleasures, so, the war hurt him, ouch! He realized that when he failed a siege in front of the city of Montauban… Albert became unpopular, almost in the way. Louis wanted to disgrace him… his favourite finally died by himself in 1621!

Nice inspiration!

In 1659, the 2nd duke of Luynes asked architect Pierre Le Muet to draw him the plan of a brand new Classical building overlooking the courtyard. Between 1878 and 1880, the Luynes family restored the 15th century’s dwelling house and added balustrade and skylights. Do you notice something? Those one were directly inspired by Louis XII wing, in the castle of Blois!

Luynes’ little saint

A saint in the castle? Jeanne-Marie de Maillé. Born in 1331, she was a descendant of the families Maillé and Montbazon, two famous lineages in Touraine. She was daughter of the lord of Maillé… and the little girl became an orphan. In 1343, as a young teenager, she married Robert de Sillé, in the small chapel of the castle of Maillé… She lost her husband and she fell ill. Very ill. The young little widow withdrew in Maillé. In her chapel, she found a little comfort, praying saint Yves… She prayed, she prayed. And one night, Yves appeared to her. He guided her to saint Martin’s grave in Tours. There, she multiplied miracles and cured leprous. So she became a hermit, a saint withdrew from our world… who predicted, says the legend, Joan of Arc’s victory in the siege of Orléans.

About the the author

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