The Castle



This castle, built in the 11th century by the Counts of Albon, was a fortress located outside the ramparts. Its strategic position on the upper part of the city, at the confluence of the Galaure and Rhône rivers, made it possible to control the flow of traffic in the valley.

It became the property of the Poitiers lineage in 1270, when Aymar IV of Poitiers married Hippolyte of Burgundy, herself having received it as a dowry from her brother Othon IV.

Diana was born there on December 30th 1499. She was of higher gentry. On her father’s side, Jean de Poitiers, she was first cousin with Catherine de Médicis, who would become Queen of France. On her mother’s side, Jeanne de Batarnay, her grandfather Ymbert was a man who had been able to make himself appreciated by the four kings he had served by his merits. All were brave fighters.

After the death of her mother, the daughter of Louis XI, Anne de Beaujeu, was responsible for perfecting her education and instruction. Very quickly she became lady-in-waiting to Anne de Beaujeu, then lady-in-waiting to Queen Claude, lady-in-waiting to Louise of Savoy, she was much later lady-in-waiting to Anne of Austria, sister of Charles V and second wife of François the 1st.

She married Louis de Brézé, Grand Seneschal of Normandy, more than forty years older than her on March 29th 1515. She gave him two daughters: Françoise and Louise. Widowed by 1531, she became in 1536 the mistress of the future Henri II, youngest son of François the 1st, heir apparent of his elder brother following his death.

She lived by his side for over twenty years, her beauty and her intelligence obliterating Catherine de Médicis. The chroniclers of the time thought of her as more than queen.

She returned to her much beloved castle on several occasions and became a true benefactor for her native city.

She specified in her will that she wanted the same funeral that was planned for Anet to be replicated in the church of Saint-Vallier, which was done.
She died on April 27th 1566, aged 66 years, 3 months and 27 days in her Anet castle (current department of Eure et Loir) that was gifted to her by her husband and which she carefully and magnificently restored.

The castle was sold in 1584 by her grandson Charles de Lorraine, son of her daughter Louise, and the Duke of Guise, Claude II of Lorraine, to Jean de la Croix, lord of Chevrières. The descendants of this lord are still owners of this castle that saw guests such as Richard Coeur de Lion, Louis IX, known as Saint-Louis, Henri III and many others throughout its millenary history.

Classified as heritage on January 21st 1944.

To learn more:

Guided tours of the city are available all year round for groups of ten people minimum.

Bookings to be placed with the Tourist Information Centre 04 75 23 45 33,
or with the Association: “Saint-Vallier Histoire & Patrimoine”: 04 75 23 20 97

Duration: 2h30min