Talleyrand bought Rochecotte in 1825 for his favourite niece, the Duchesse de Dino. Originally a rather stark 18thC castle with glorious views over the Loire Valley to the Chateau d’Ussé, she gave it an Italianate look by adding pillars, pergolas and terraces, extended it in the same style to make room for their many friends and even harnessed the hydraulic technology of the moment to pipe water to the suites and kitchens. In 1986 Monsieur Pasquier bought it for his wife and daughters. They then renovated it with great attention to detail, and have continued faithfully in the house’s tradition of hands on hospitality: large though it is, there seems to be at least one member of the family in sight at all times.
Many of the pictures, chandeliers, tapestries and pieces of furniture originally installed by the Duchesse are still where she put them, undisturbed by the intervening owners. But this is no museum: the smart salons are there to be used and enjoyed and more modern pieces mingle comfortably with the old. The bedrooms are all individually decorated to an exacting standard, with carpets, wall-coverings and fabrics teamed together, and quite sensibly priced by floor area. Talleyrand preferred the calm of Rochecotte to his own, ritzier, Valencay: it’s not difficult to see why.