|Talleyrand, The Prince of diplomats|
"Castle of Valençay" masterpiece of the Renaissance, is famous for the beauty of its architecture enhanced by the magnificent entrance tower.
For over thirty years, lands of "Valençay, Luçay and Veuil" with a total area of 20,000 acres (12,000 ha), one of the largest areas of France, will be the property of the Prince de Talleyrand. Luxuriously furnished by the new owner, the castle still retains a large portion of its outstanding original furniture. "Rich furniture, marbles, paintings, engravings, a library of ten thousand volumes as well as a cabinet of curiosities." worthy of the great English castles, a visitor noted in 1826.
Talleyrand added the pavilion de la Garenne, a "hunting lodge" built from 1805 to 1809 and actually create a beautiful little theater. This was a suggestion of Napoleon to distract his prisoners, the Infants of Spain. He used the elegant castle Veuil already in poor condition, as a stone quarry for the maintenance and restoration of the castle Valençay.
When home in Paris or Valençay at the time of his intense political activity, Talleyrand had room for little private life but was however in close relationships with all the important persons in Europe. Educated master of the house, influenced by lifestyle of the old regime and having in most cases considerable resources, Talleyrand received in the best manner. He received even from his "ordered stand-up" like kings of the Old Regime. The incredible nose & throat washing scene is a well known anecdote.
On the 5th of March 1812 Talleyrand acquired the Hotel Infantado, 2 Saint-Florentin Street. This hotel was the center of the French fashionable and political life for years, and it is also the house where Talleyrand died in 1838.
He offered sumptuous dinners in rue Saint Florentin (Paris), Valençay, Vienna or London. Antonin Carême, "Chef of kings and king of chefs" was in charge of scheduling these dinners at à Hotel Gallifet then Hotel Matignon and finally the Hotel Saint Florentin from 1808 till 1814. Being invited to Talleyrand's table was a supreme honor. A real "etiquette" ruled these dinners, crowned with the presence of his niece by marriage, Dorothy, later Duchess of Dino.
Throughout his life, Talleyrand bought and sold beautiful homes in Paris or near Paris, occasionally succeeding in a successful financial operation.
Andre Beau gives very interesting information on the ceremony and invited guests of Talleyrand in two articles "Talleyrand, vine and wine" and "Breakfast of Talleyrand Valençay".
Talleyrand loved playing backgammon and especially whist. Games last for a long time and provided opportunities for discrete events. Talleyrand was also a persistent curist awaiting from spas relief to pain caused by his disability.
Prince Talleyrand returned to Valençay in 1816 after the departure of the princes of Spain, and divided his time between his castle and the Hotel de la rue Saint Florentin in Paris. Always great lord, he gave receptions second to none in Valençay
From 1834 Valençay was his main residence but he often spent time in Rochecotte Castle, the residence of his niece Dorothy Dino.