The Château d’Ussé is located in the commune of Rigny-Ussé in the Indre-et-Loire département, at the edge of the Chinon forest overlooking the Indre Valley, in France.
The current version of the castle was constructed in the 15th century on the site of an earlier fortress, which was built in the 11th century, but developed over time to become a jewel of Renaissance architecture, and eventually a splendid residential home.
The castle has changed hands several times. A certain number of defensive capabilities were included in the newer castle, but these were removed during extensive 17th-century renovations.
Louis I de Valentinay, comptroller of the royal household, modernized and embellished the residence. He demolished the north range of buildings in order to open the interior court to the spectacular view over the parterre terrace, a design ascribed to the famous landscape architect of Versailles, André Le Nôtre.
From that date on the castle has been ‘decorative’ only. The surrounding gardens are in the formal French style and meticulously maintained, and include a lovely 17th-century orangery.
Château d’Ussé has received many famous guests, including Charles Perrault, the French author who invented modern fairy tales.
As legend has it, this was the castle that inspired Perrault to write the famous fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty” and there is also an exhibit of costumes in the castle relating to that story.
Château d’Ussé was also one of several that inspired Walt Disney in the creation of many of the Disney Castles.