American friends of Chateau de Villegongis
Chateau de Villegongis (FR) A Project of C | KBFUS Funds
When Jacques de Brizay inherited Villegongis in 1531, he was one of the main actors at François Ier court.
His wife d'Avoye de Chabannes, widow of Jacques de La Trémoille, great-grand child of Jeanne de Valois
(extra-legal child of King Louis XI) and Charles I de Bourbon. He reconstructed the castle on medieval
foundations. When he died in 1542, the central building, two towers and lateral galleries were built. At the
the dead of Charlotte de Brizay, his unique daughter, Geoffroy de Neuchèze, a nephew, inherites. After this
the castle passes in the hands of the Barbançois, and after the Montesquieu family.
Since the XVIII century there where several restorations especially on the dormer windows. The plans of
the village in 1771 show a courtyard surrounded by two aisles and a moat. This plan evoques, Villandry,
almost built at the same period. This aisles and a superstructure of the staircase were sloped by Leon-
Francois de Barbancois.
During the revolution there were no degradations. In 1880 Alexis de Barbançois ordered a very important
renovation project at the architect Dauvergne. The façades, particularly these of the staircase were
modified. The XIX century renovations are so remarkable that it is almost impossible to make the difference
with the original construction.
The general plan of the castle forms a square surrounded by moats. The main building is flanked by two big
towers. As for Azay-le-Rideau, Villegongis is a perfect example of these mansions built by crown officers
and inspired by the royal construction sites. Build by Pierre Trinqueau the resemblance with Chambord is
crystal clear. There is an even greater sculptural detail (roof windows, chimneys, and facade).
The towers testify of the art of the architects: they start as a cone and end on the top as an ax. Their
monumental chimneys represent the patrons of the constructers: Saint Jacques and Sainte Avoye.
Inside an admirable straight sculptured staircase is one of the first built during the Renaissance.
Villegongis can be placed in the line of the Loire valley castles as Bury, Azay and Chambord.