One of the region’s best examples of medieval architecture, this chateau is remembered for the belle des belles (beauty of beauties) Agnès Sorel, who lived there in the 15th century. Maid of honor to Isabelle de Lorraine, Charles VII became so enamored by Agnès that he gifted his new mistress the château. She bore the king three daughters and wielded great influence over him until her mysterious death. She was immortalized on canvas posthumously by Fouquet as a nearly topless Virgin Mary–with a disgruntled Charles VII looking on. (The original is in Antwerp; the château has a copy.) The château also contains the oratory of Anne de Bretagne, decorated with ermine tails. One of its outstanding treasures is a triptych of The Passion (1485) from the Fouquet school.
The massive 36 meter-high (118 feet) keep, or donjon, of the comtes d’Anjou was built in the 11th century and turned into a prison by Louis XI. The Round Tower contains rooms used for torture; a favorite method involved suspending the victim in an iron cage. In the 15th century, the duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, was imprisoned in the Martelet and painted frescoes on the walls to pass the time; he died here in 1508.