Le Château de Villiers

An outstanding venue for your corporate seminars and wedding celebrations.

From the 12th to the 14th century

The earliest known construction on this site is a Roman villa or hamlet, which gave its name (villare in Low Latin means “from/near the hamlet”) to Villiers.


The castle stayed in the Champagne family until 13 November 1160, when King Louis VII married Alix de Champagne and the property passed into the royal domain.


Alix de Champagne was King Louis VII’s third wife and the mother of King Philippe August, who built the first Louvre in Paris.


In 1220, with the permission of the Archbishop of Sens, Amicie de Breteuil, the widow of Jean Briard Lord of Breteuil, founded an abbey on a parcel of Villiers previously granted by the King.


The Château of Villiers at that time was a medieval castle surrounded by a dry moat with a draw-bridge across it, the remnants of which one can still spot.


Other remains can still be seen:

  • An ancient guard room and a chapel
  • Buttresses
  • Defence towers basements
  • Underground rooms


During its history the castle has been equipped with a number of underground passages leading to the church of La Ferté-Alais, Villiers Abbey (deconsecrated in 1793), Montmirault Castle. Traces of these structures can still be found nowadays.


We have evidence of a stay of Isabeau de Bavière in the Château from 28 October to 1 November 1390. Who owned the castle then ? We only know that she took advantage of this visit to offer the nearby Abbey a “Racamas” cloth of gold.

From the 15th to the 20th century

Villiers is mentioned again in 1450. At that time King Louis XI granted it to be held in fee by Olivier Le Daim, his confident and henchman in charge of doing the dirty work.


Not only was he King Louis XI’s most faithful servant, but also his accomplice. His real name was Olivier Necker. Le Daim was a nickname due to the fact that he usually wore a buckskin jerkin. Officially he was the King’s barber, but on occasions he could also be his hatchet man and executioner: and without any scruples he fulfilled the various missions his master would entrust him with. On the verge of death Louis XI commended him to his son the future king. But Charles VII had him arrested and executed, as he considered him to be his father’s damned soul.


His castle was subsequently dismantled, especially the dungeon as a symbol of its master’s power. Legend has it that Olivier Le Daim, foreseeing his coming disgrace, buried a fabulous treasure somewhere on the land of Villiers.


After his death, the Lordships of Villiers Le Châtel as well as those of Huison were allowed to be held in fee by Lord Jean de Foix, viscount of Narbonne and count of Etampes, then came back to the Crown. During the Renaissance King Francis 1 offered the castle to the House of Selve in acknowledgement of services rendered to the Crown.


The de Selve family owned the castle for more than 400 years. Their coat of arms is blazoned “Azure charged with two bars wavy Argent”: it can still be seen on the castle.


At the beginning of the 20th century as many as 20 people were still employed by the Château at the peak of the season, including 7 gardeners.


On August 22, 1944, the castle nearly witnessed a tragedy: the execution of 197 hostages by the Panzertruppen. They were saved at the last moment, thanks to the alertness of a postwoman in La Ferté-Alais who sent a warning to the nearby American troops. The Germans had meant to gather 200 people for elimination, but 3 kept missing, thus preventing the operation from starting. A number of graves had already been dug in the park by the hostages. The holes are still there to be seen.


In 1958 the Castle was bought by Philippe Clay, a singer and film actor. It then became a place of celebration.