Happy International women’s day! Did you know that at our historic Chateau, each of our 19 luxurious suites is named after one of France’s most inspiring women – all of whom have made a significant impact on French culture in their own unique way?
French women throughout history have been known for their grace, beauty, and intelligence, captivating the world with their charm and wit. From mistresses of kings to feminist writers, each of these women has challenged societal norms and paved the way for future generations. It is our pleasure to take you on a journey through history as we celebrate the remarkable women whose portraits are proudly displayed at our Chateau.
Catherine de Vendome – The Protector of the Poor
Catherine de Vendome was a French noblewoman who was known for her generosity and compassion towards the less fortunate. She used her wealth to help the poor and was known as their protector. Catherine founded several charitable organizations, including hospitals and shelters for the homeless. She dedicated her life to helping those in need and is remembered as a true champion of the people.
Louise de la Valliere – The Secret Love
Louise de la Valliere was a lady-in-waiting to King Louis XIV’s wife. However, she was also the king’s mistress for many years, although their relationship was kept secret. Despite the scandal, Louise was known for her kindness and grace. She used her influence with the king to help others, including prisoners and the poor. Louise’s life may have been complicated, but she made a positive impact on the lives of many.
Coco Chanel – The Fashion Icon
Our honeymoon sweet is named after Coco Chanel, one of the most influential fashion designers of all time. She revolutionized women’s fashion by introducing comfortable, simple, elegant, and practical designs. Chanel was also known for her strong personality and determination. Despite facing many challenges as a woman in a male-dominated industry, she never gave up on her dreams. Chanel’s legacy continues to inspire fashion designers and women around the world today.
Jeanne Antoinette de Pompadour – The Patron of the Arts
Jeanne Antoinette de Pompadour was the official mistress of King Louis XV. However, she was much more than just a pretty face. Pompadour was a patron of the arts, supporting painters, sculptors, and musicians. She used her influence to promote French culture and encouraged the king to do the same. Pompadour’s legacy lives on through her contributions to the arts and her dedication to preserving French culture.
Marie Antoinette d’Autriche – The Queen of Style
Marie Antoinette is one of the most famous queens in history, known for her love of fashion and extravagant lifestyle. However, she was also a woman who faced many challenges and hardships, including the French Revolution, which ultimately led to her execution. Despite the controversies surrounding her, Marie Antoinette’s impact on fashion and style can still be seen today.
Francoise Athenais de Montespan – The Powerful Mistress
A hugely interesting character, Francoise Athenais de Montespan was another of King Louis XIV’s mistresses. However, unlike Louise de la Valliere, Montespan was known for her ambition and desire for power. She used her influence with the king to further her own interests and was involved in several political scandals. Despite her flaws, Montespan was a woman who refused to be confined by the limitations of her gender and used her intelligence and wit to get ahead.
Regent de la France – The Queen Mother
Regent de la France was the mother of King Louis XIII and served as regent of France during her son’s minority. She was known for her intelligence and political savvy, successfully navigating the complex political landscape of the time. Regent de la France was also a patron of the arts and encouraged the development of French literature and culture.
George Sand – The Writer and Feminist
George Sand was a French writer and feminist who challenged traditional gender roles and expectations. She wrote novels that explored themes of love, sexuality, and social justice, and advocated for women’s rights. Sand was also known for her unconventional lifestyle and refusal to conform to societal norms. Her legacy as a writer and feminist continues to inspire women today. You’ll also find an unusual portrait of her made entirely of lego in our reception area!
Adèle de Champagne – The Patron of the Arts
Adèle de Champagne was a French noblewoman and patron of the arts during the 12th century. She was a generous supporter of poets, musicians, and other artists, and was known for her love of literature and music. Adèle’s contributions to the arts helped to establish the cultural landscape of medieval France.
Olympe de Gouges – The Revolutionary
Olympe de Gouges was a French playwright and feminist who advocated for women’s rights during the French Revolution. She wrote several plays and pamphlets calling for gender equality, including the famous “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen.” De Gouges was an outspoken critic of the monarchy and was ultimately executed for her political beliefs. Her legacy as a revolutionary and advocate for women’s rights continues to inspire women today.
Isabella of Angoulême – The Queen Consort
Isabella of Angoulême was a French queen consort during the early 13th century. She was known for her beauty and charm, but also for her political acumen and influence. Isabella was a patron of the arts and supported the development of French literature and culture. Her intelligence and diplomatic skills helped to shape the political landscape of medieval France.
Anne d’Autriche – The Queen Regent
Anne d’Autriche was a French queen regent during the 17th century. She served as regent for her son, King Louis XIV, and was known for her intelligence and political savvy. Anne successfully navigated the complex political landscape of the time, and her influence helped to shape the policies of the French monarchy.
Sophie de Ségur – The Children’s Author
Sophie de Ségur was a French children’s author during the 19th century. She wrote several beloved books, including “Les Malheurs de Sophie” (Sophie’s Misfortunes), which has been translated into numerous languages. Ségur’s stories were known for their charming characters and moral lessons, and continue to be enjoyed by children today.
Marie de Ventadour – The Nanny
Marie de Ventadour was a French noblewoman who served as the nanny to King Louis XV during his childhood. She was known for her kindness and devotion to the young king, and was a trusted advisor to his mother, Queen Marie. Ventadour’s influence helped to shape the education and upbringing of one of France’s most famous kings.
Catherine de Médicis – The Queen Mother
Catherine de Médicis was a French queen consort and queen mother during the 16th century. She was known for her intelligence and political savvy, and was a powerful figure during a tumultuous period in French history. Catherine was also a patron of the arts and supported the development of French literature and culture.
Simone de Beauvoir – The Philosopher and Writer
Simone de Beauvoir was a French philosopher and writer who played a pivotal role in the development of modern feminist theory. Her famous book, “The Second Sex,” challenged traditional gender roles and called for women’s equality. She was also an influential figure in the existentialist movement, which explored the nature of existence and the human condition. Beauvoir’s ideas continue to inspire women around the world today.
Blanche de Castille – The Queen Mother and Regent
Blanche de Castille was a French queen consort, queen mother, and regent during the 13th century. She was known for her intelligence, political acumen, and devotion to her children. Blanche played a key role in securing the throne for her son, King Louis IX, and was an influential figure in the development of French law and culture.
Charlotte de Bourbon – The Noblewoman and Rebel
Charlotte de Bourbon was a French noblewoman who played a key role in the French Wars of Religion during the 16th century. She was a leader of the Huguenot forces, which were fighting for religious freedom and against the Catholic monarchy. Charlotte was known for her bravery and determination, and her legacy as a rebel and fighter for justice continues to inspire women today.
Alienor d’Aquitaine – The Queen Consort and Powerful Figure
Alienor d’Aquitaine was a French queen consort during the 12th century who was known for her beauty, intelligence, and political savvy. She was married to two kings – King Louis VII of France and King Henry II of England – and played a key role in the political and cultural landscape of both countries. Eleanor was also a patron of the arts and supported the development of French literature and culture.
We hope you enjoyed reading about the extraordinary woman who inspired our room names. Their legacies serve as a testament to the resilience, courage, and determination of women throughout history, and we are proud to honour them in this way.
Next time you visit the Chateau, we hope you’ll have fun recognising the portraits on our walls and remember the women behind them as their legacies continue to inspire!