The impressive Chateau de Sully sur Loire sits at the confluence of the Loire and the River Sange. The castle was built on a group of three small islands: the main keep sits on the northern island; the Inner Courtyard is on the southern island, and the Outer Courtyard takes up the eastern island.
Château de Sully may not share the fame of the iconic Chenonceau, or Amboise, but it’s equally beautiful. Just when you think you’ve seen the most stunning castle in Loire Valley, here comes another one to take your breath away!
A Brief History of the Chateau de Sully sur Loire
The first traces of the château date back to the 1100s. At the time this was just defense post for the “royal” river. The actual Château de Sully was built much later, in 1567, for the Maréchal Gaspard de Saulx who was an important figure at the court of King Henri II of France.
In 1602, Maximilien de Béthune, a famous French minster and counselor of King Henry IV, acquired the castle and began an extensive work of restoration.
He strengthened the exterior walls to protect the town from occasional flooding, built an artillery tower equipped with walls and cannons and created the gardens.
Over the course of history, the château has suffered many trials and tribulations: the French Revolution in 1789, a devastating fire in 1918, and the bombardments of World War II.
For four centuries, this imposing fortress remained the property of the Duke of Sully family and their descendants.
In 1962 the Département du Loiret acquired the Château de Sully-sur-Loire and declared it a Historic Monument. They made substantial repairs to the castle, bringing it to its old glory and splendor.
During its history, the castle has welcomed the visits of many celebrities. Although Henri IV never came here, King Louis XIV, Voltaire, Joan of Arc, Mazarin and Anne of Austria, all paid visits to the château.
Visiting the Château de Sully Sur Loire
The castle layout that you see today is different from the original construction. From the 18th century onwards, the Château of Sully-sur-Loire underwent numerous demolition and re-construction projects which gradually changed its appearance.
Château de Sully sur Loire is an impressive medieval fortress, complete with towers, strongholds, rampart walks and surrounded by a romantic moat filled with water. The castle has four prominent cylindrical towers that emerge high above its roof.
To the east of the Outer Courtyard is a 25-hectare garden that you can reach via a stone bridge. The reflections of the castle in the water make for some great pics!
In the garden there is a number of canals that were dug in order to help protect the castle against possible floods. The area is now almost completely occupied by trees. Only the pathways indicate the original layout of the garden.
In the Outer Courtyard there is a life-size statue of white Carrara marble representing the first Duke of Sully, Maximilien de Béthune.
Inside the Château
The interior of the château has some very nice elements. You will find the usual array of tapestries, paintings, sculptures and French period furniture. The Louis XV wing has rooms decorated in a 17th century style to view.
One thing not to miss when visiting the château is the barrel-vaulted ceiling, which is a true masterpiece. The ceiling which dates back to the 14th century is part of the original construction. Considering its old age, the ceiling looks remarkably well and its sheer size and its beauty are quite stunning!
Also remarkably beautiful are Sully’s private apartments. The bedroom walls contain six tapestries recounting the story of Psyche. They date back to the early 17th century and are part of a prestigious series made for François I.
Visiting the château is quite a voyage through history, from the Middle Ages through to the 19th century. The tour will take you into the lives of the Béthune family.
You will learn about their history and family anecdotes,which makes the visit very attractive. The Sully apartments and their collections of paintings, tapestries and period furniture are really beautiful.
Château de Sully-sur-Loire is one of the favorite venues for the music festivals in the Loire Valley.
Practical Information for Visiting the Château
Depending on the time of the year, there is at least one guided tour (only in French) each day lasting approximately 1.5 hrs. However, you can take a self guided tour of the castle at any time. There are audioguides and maps of the château available in French, English, German, Dutch, Italian and Spanish.
Getting to Château de Sully
By car: Château de Sully is only 70 miles away from Blois, which is a great base for exploring the Loire Valley castles. The easiest and most direct way to get to Sully is by car (1 hour and 15 minutes drive).
For driving directions for the Château de Sully, click on the map below
By train/bus: the next convenient way is to use a combination of train and bus, by hoping on the train in Blois and then changing to a bus on Orleans. This will take about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
By bus: this is the least convenient option as there is no direct bus from Blois to Château de Sully-sur-Loire. There are bus services departing from Blois and arriving at Sully sur Loire – Porte de Sologne via Bourie Rouge and Orléans – Gare Routière. The journey, including transfers, takes approximately 3h 30m.
|• General admission for adults (18 years ad older): €8.00|
• Children 6-17 years of age and students: €5.00
• Children under 6: free
• Guided tour (only in French): €10.00
• Family Rate: €22 for 2 adults and 2 youths (children over 6)
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Wow. Just wow. You captured some stunning images, Anda. I really regret not being able to visit Loire valley as we had planned. Perhaps we’ll get there another time; I certainly hope so because I would adore exploring all those chateaux. Oh – and of course the nearby vineyards as well!
Yea, I hear they have excellent wines in the region, but I didn’t go to any wine tasting while there.
Luxury and elegance, great gardens and fabulous pictures, Anda. Thank you for sharing this post with us. I am sorry that I had so little time to enjoy this beautiful castle.
What a lovely solid looking fairy tale castle. I like it. And its amazingly blue bedroom. Great colours in your interior pictures.
Ruth - Tanama Tales
What a beauty! I would love to visit the Loire Valley. I will need several days since there are so many chateau (not sure how to do the plural) to see.
The plural for ‘chateau’ is ‘chateaux,’ but don’t worry about it. If you didn’t study French, you couldn’t have known. You need at least a week if you want to see at least the most famous one and more importantly, you need to rent a car. If you go by tour bus, you won’t see much because they just let you off for 30-40 minutes at each castle.
You are right! Who can resist a gorgeous French castle?! I love, love, love your photos Anda!
Wow Anda, these photos are so wonderful. I love the look of traditional castles that match the storybook image in my head. Fantastic.
The Loire Valley is so beautiful, you won’t believe it, Rhonda. Really worth a visit.
Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
You seem to have visited all of the castles in Loire region:) another gorgeous castle, so jealous!:)
Not a lot, just some of them. There are so many, it’s impossible to visit them all in a visit.
Lydia C. Lee
That is so beautiful! I’ve never been but would love to!
Mary (The World Is A Book)
Wow! Your pictures of the exterior are simply stunning! You had a great day too. The Loire Valley is on my long travel wish list. It’s always a bonus to see the interior.
Yea, I agree. At least they let you take pictures of the interior there, unlike in Germany.