Château d’Ussé information
The main claim to fame of elaborate Château d’Ussé is as the inspiration for Charles Perrault’s classic fairy tale, La Belle au Bois Dormant (known to English-speakers as Sleeping Beauty ).
Ussé’s creamy white towers and slate roofs jut out from the edge of the forest of Chinon, offering sweeping views across the flat Loire countryside and the flood-prone River Indre. Its most notable features are the wonderful formal gardens designed by Le Nôtre, architect of Versailles.
The castle mainly dates from the 15th and 16th centuries, built on top of a much earlier 11th-century fortress. You may be satisfied just looking at the château from outside, since refurbished rooms are starting to show their age. They include a series of dodgy wax models recounting the tale of Sleeping Beauty.
A popular local rumour claims Ussé was one of Walt Disney’s inspirations when he dreamed up his magic kingdom (check out the Disney logo and you might agree).
Ussé is on the edge of the small riverside village of Rigny-Ussé, about 14km north of Chinon. There is no public transport.