Or as it is known – The Chateau de Grignan is built on a hilltop with the small village built around it. At present the number of people living here is just over 1,500.
The village dates back to the 11th century with the walls being added in the 12th century. There are 12 towers built around it but many are now in disrepair or completely destroyed. It has been rebuilt several times – as a fortress then into a luxurious residence – became ruins in 1793 – then reconstructed in the 20th century by Madame Fontaine. It now belongs to the Drôme Départment and is used as a major tourist attraction.
Originally however excavations have discovered that this rocky area has actually been occupied since the Iron Age and the Bronze Age as well as Roman occupation in the 5th and 6th centuries AD.
In 1239 the Grignan family lost the ownership to the Adhémar de Monteil family rising in the French court from Barons to Dukes and then to Counts in the court of Henry II, King of France. Eventually it was owned by Francois de Castellane-Omana-Adhemar de Monteil de Grignan, who was also known as the Duke of Turmoli, Count of Grignan, Count of Campobasso, and the Baron of Entrecasteau and as a Knight in the service of King Louis XIV. As well, he was Governor-General of Provence, and because of some Dutch heritage as well also Governor-General of Orange.
Apart from all these jobs that he had to do his social life was also very crowded. His first two wives died very quickly after each other (too much work to do or a too busy social life). He married for the third time – a certain Francoise- Marguerite de Sévigné. Her mother was very powerful and wrote many, many letters about her son-in-law and daughter. Historically these letters are kept in the castle and perpetuate the memory of the family and the castle.
From the Chateau’s terrace a panoramic view extends as far as the Vivarais Mountains in the Ardeche. Madame de Sévigné is buried in the Eglise de St Saveur (church) directly below the terrace and her statue is in the town square.
Post and Photos credited to Muriel, the eldest sister.