About La Rochefoucauld Castle
The Château de La Rochefoucauld is an 11th century castle in La Rochefoucauld-en-Angoumois, southwestern France.
La Rochefoucauld Castle history
The site was first used around 980 by Fucaldus, younger brother of the Viscount of Limoges. Fucaldus set up a fortified camp on the rock and called it Fucaldus in rupe, or Foucald’s Rock. The castle of La Rochefoucauld gives a remarkable illustration of the interweaving of politics and architecture through the life of the family who owned the castle without interruption since Fucaldus laid the first fortification.
Early in the 11th century, the son of Fucaldus built a square keep, still identifiable at the heart of the present site. Two entrance towers were built from 1350. To celebrate the end of the Hundred Years’ War in 1453 and to demonstrate his political power as the Lord of the region, Jean de La Rochefoucauld built three additional towers to the structure and raised the level of the main tower of the castle, thus, enabling him to oversee his domain at greater heights.
Galleries and a grand staircase, the latter attributed to designs by Leonardo da Vinci, were added in 1520. Much of the medieval building was demolished in 1615 when the courtyard was opened out and improvements were made to honour a visit by Louis XIII of France. There was some rebuilding in 1760 following a fire.
La Rochefoucauld Castle today
The village of La Rochefoucauld takes its name from the castle, which is partially open to the public. It is also still inhabited by the Duke and Duchess. It lies very close to the line which delineated occupied France and Vichy France during World War Two.
Getting to La Rochefoucauld Castle
The Chateau de la Rochefoucauld is in the Charente department, about 30 kilometres north-east of Angoulême and in the historic commune of La Rochefoucauld (now part of La Rochefoucauld-en-Angoumois). Most visitors choose to drive to the site.