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Tip 8 for the summer is the Château d’Oiron, 44 km from our place.


The Castle of Oiron. By Papay (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


The Château d’Oiron has its origins in the 15th century war with the English for control of France: In 1449 Charles VII of France gifted the domain and great forest of Oiron to Guillaume Gouffier (†1495), who became governor of Touraine and built the castle.

In 1551, king Henry II of France and his entire court were guests of Claude Gouffier who had been granted the title Marquis de Caravaz. Claude Gouffier served as the model for Charles Perrault’s “Marquis de Carabas” in the story, Puss in Boots.

Around 1650 major renovations were carried out, and the castle then ended up with a main building and two long projecting wings, one of which is a Renaissance structure built over a cloister.

In the mid-1700s the château went into severe decline and it was ransacked by Revolutionaries in 1793. After that it lay abandoned until the government of France took possession just before World War II, eventually converting it to a museum.


Le chat botté (Puss in Boots), illustration by Gustave Doré, 1867 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Castle’s Contemporary Art Collection – “Curios & Mirabilia”

The castle today houses a collection of contemporary art, Curios & Mirabilia, freely modelled on the theme of a cabinet of curiosities, with reference to the fabulous art collection Claude Gouffier (1510-1570) had acquired, seigneur of the castle and grand equerry to King Henry II.


Claude Gouffier. Painting by François Clouet, 1568. – Web Gallery of Art:  [Public Domain], Wikimedia Commons

The selected artists are invited to reinterpret the castle’s exceptional building and decorations (it contains galleries of mural paintings from the Renaissance in the style of the Fontainebleau school, as well as painted and sculpted woodworks from the 17th century).

The Château’s collection of contemporary art is quite impressive, covering the following artists (click on the link to see more information about them and their works at the Oiron):

Wim Delvoye, Ilya Kabakov, Sol Lewitt, Marina Abramovic, Claude Rutault, Thomas Grünfeld, Fabrice Hybert, Braco Dimitriievic, Raoul Marek, Daniel Spoerri, Félice Varini, Thomas Shannon, On Kawara, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Guillaume Bijl, Georg Ettl, Gavin Bryars, Lothar Baumgarten, Christian Boltanski, Linarés, and Charles Ross.

As, of course, all the artworks on display in the castle are copyright of the individual artists, we cannot publish them here. However, beneath is a painting from one of  the castle’s cabinets (first half of the 17th century). You may also follow the Château d’Oiron on Instagram.


A painting of Mercur in the castle’s “Cabinet des muses”, period Louis XIII. By Danielclauzier (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Summer exhibitions

This summer’s exhibition is Dutch artist Stan WannetNEXT TIME YOU SEE ME IT WON’T BE ME” (June 26 – October 2, 2016).