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Vizille castle: Lesdiguières and his love Marie Vignon

Lesdiguières | ÖNB / Public domain
Castle Love story François de Bonne de Lesdiguières Vizille castle

Always on the go!

1593. Did you see this rider coming, in the dust? Hs name was François de Bonne, duke of Lesdiguières, who owned the land of Vizille. He was king Henri IV’s lieutenant in Dauphiné and Savoy: a brave warrior, always on the go! And always loyal to his king, protestant like him: François changed religion!

The building site began in 1611, and architects Pierre Le Cuisse and Guillaume Le Moyne were in charge of it. Everything was completed in 1620.

What about the inner decoration? Oh, artists as Flemish Jean de Loenen, sculptor Jacob Richier and painter Antoine Schanart designed the magnificent decoration.

Hey, François wanted his castle perfect and magnificent... for the love of his lady: Marie Vignon.

Marie Vignon, the duke’s mistress

I, Marie, a duchess?

By a fine day of December 1590, François met a young and pretty lady. He was entering in Grenoble city, leading a big Protestant army: he was handsome, he was pretty impressive, on his big horse.

And among the crowd who welcomed him, a blue-eyed miss stared at him: Marie Vignon. She crossed the crowd, braved the horse and gave flowers to Lesdiguières. Love at first sight…

He was 60, and Marie was so young… And yet she already had 3 kids and a husband! Her husband, a silk merchant, knew about her love affair with François, and beat her each time she came back at home…

François was married too: but he didn’t care, since they loved each other!

François’ wife finally died of sickness: the two lovers could marry in July 1617… But, Marie? What about her husband? Oh… the boor was killed by François’ henchman!

People even accused Marie of this henchman's enchantment, thanks to a little talisman she always wore around her neck. A talisman a monk called Nobilibus gave her: this one was burnt in Grenoble because he said the Mass but wasn’t ordain priest…

Don’t touch trouts!

But now, enough with this… because Marie was duchess of Vizille, now! Here’s the time of wonderful parties, huge feasts, dances and fireworks. Marie had fun with her loving duke, enjoying the fresh air, the nice park and the pond…

You know what? Marie loved to feed the trouts, in this pond. She even had her favourite one!

But one day, a man came, took this favourite fishy and… ate it!

The poor man was caught in the act and they hung him right away. Lesdiguières sculpted after that a man’s head with a fish in the water tank, in memory of this story!

Dusk for a lady

Dusk on Vizille. Enough with parties! François, who was at war away from his love, fell ill. We were in 1626, he died at the age of 84…

Marie had to left Vizille, harried by her son-in-law, the marshal of Créqui: the boor wanted her money! He succeeded in putting her in jail (for lese-majesty crime), fortunately Marie was set free by Louis XIII…

She died 30 years later, far, far away from Vizille.

About the the author

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