The Château de Lavardin is a ruined castle in the village of Lavardin, classified among the”most beautiful villages of France”, in the Loir-et-Cher département of France.
Built from the beginning of the 11-th century by the first lords of Lavardin, the castle was sold to the count of Vendôme around 1130 during its second century of existence.
The first castle, that of Solomon de Lavardin, constructed at the beginning of the 11-th century, appears to have consisted a wooden keep on a mote, protecting a manor house on the summit of the promontory. Between the end of the 12-th century and the 13-th century, it was reinforced by three strong towers.
After Vendôme haf united with the Bourbon through a double marriage in the 14th century, Jean VII, a member of this new Bourbon-Vendôme family, undertook the restoration of the chateau and its defenses.
He rearranged the interior of the keep and added an elegant stairway, which connected the different levels of the chateau.
The territory remained ferociously Catholic, despite the conversion to Protestantism of Jeanne d’Albret, the mother of Henri of Navarre and duchess of Vendome.
When the young King of Navarre, and Duke of Vendome became a King of France under the name of Henry IV in 1598, his subjects refused to recognize him as King.
He was frustrated to be defied and marched on the Loir Valley at the head of his army. There, one by one, he besieged and dismantled the fortresses of Vendome, Lavardin, and Montoire.
The castle still has its donjon (keep) and remains of some defensive walls including the entrance through an imposing gateway with towers on each side.