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The castle

The history


The current castle was built on the site of an older building dating back to the 13th century. That castle had a strategic position in the south of the Champagne region, close to Burgundy. It was ceded by the bishop of Langres to the Saulx family around 1530 and became a rare and emblematic example of the Renaissance in Champagne.


Gaspard de Saulx-Tavannes and his family


Jean de Saulx and Marguerite de Tavannes’ son, Gaspard, was appointed as a page to King François Ist  at the age of 14. He soon followed the king to Italy where he fought with great courage. Back in France, he never stopped fighting against Charles V's empire. He was a tough, bold, and tireless soldier – his decision-making abilities often made the difference. When the French Wars of Religion broke out, he fought on the side of the Catholics. In 1570 he was appointed Marshal of France and in 1572, Admiral of the Levantine Seas and Governor of Provence. One year later, he died in his Château de Sully.

Gaspard de Saulx-Tavannes inherited the Château du Pailly from his father and described it as a "wicked house". In 1563, grieving the death of his eldest son, he turned the medieval fortress into a jewel of the Renaissance architecture, as he had been amazed by Italian palaces in his youth.

The Château du Pailly remained in the Saulx-Tavannes family until 1764. Several owners succeeded one another until Jean-François Moreau du Breuil bought it in 1821 and started to restore it.


The Moreau du Breuil de Saint-Germain family


Jean-François Moreau du Breuil de Saint-Germain was born in Langres in 1774 and went into exile on the island of Tobago (Lesser Antilles), where he made a fortune. He came back to France and bought the Château du Pailly in 1821. After his death, the property went to his son Thomas, a member of the General Council of Haute-Marne, and then to his grandson Albert, who was also a member of the General Council and a deputy of Haute-Marne.

Albert Moreau du Breuil de Saint-Germain had two sons: Jean, who died in battle, and Pierre. Neither of them had children.

In 1921, the castle was listed as a historic monument and given to some national heritage sites in France. Then, it was sold in 1936 to the Mutuelles Agricoles de l'Est (eastern agricultural mutual insurance company). It became state property in 1963.

Find our explanatory leaflets in four languages

Find books for children and adults in our shop at the castle ticket office...and don't forget you can also make purchases through our online shop!

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