The Indre River.
The Château d'Ussé, of course, has a history that is quite its own. First constructed in the 11th century, the property underwent many restoration and rebuilding projects as it passed from hand to hand through the intrigues of marriage throughout the French court. The complex was complete in its present form for the most part by the 17th century, when it was frequented by literary giants like Charles Perrault and, in the 19th century, Chateaubriand. When one crosses the bridge over the Indre and approaches the great walls of Château d'Ussé, one would be blind not to see how Perrault could draw so potent inspiration from it.
Upon entering the gates, a circuit takes visitors through the Flamboyant Gothic chapel completed in 1612, the wine cellars hewn from living rock and the carriage house before admitting into the castle itself. The castle is still occupied to this day by the last family to have come into possession of it, Casimir de Blacas d' Aulps the 7th Duke of Blacas. Free reign is not given to the whole place, nor, sadly, to the forest behind it (which would beg for a little woodcutters cottage to complete the scene).
The main interior spaces open to the public reflect the castle's true history, with antiquities and mannequins outfitted in different fashion exhibitions throughout the year.
A visit to Château d'Ussé takes one away from the regular circuit trod by tourists, as it never appears on the lists of the Loire valley's most magnificent châteaux. Just getting there can be an adventure unto itself for those unaccustomed to driving in Europe. Though not as steeped in historical significance per se, it is a true pilgrimage for denizens of fairy land... A homecoming to the true life fairy tale castle.