Archive for August 20th, 2019

August 20, 2019

The Château de Brissac !!

Hi there, its me back with castles!!! I love castles seen so many in my belle France but each new ones is just more beautiful lol except one…hehehe you know if you read my blog.  I was with the boys on our road warrior trip in the Pays de la Loire, Maine-et-Loire dept 49 and visited on the way home the town of Brissac-Quincé. Of course, there is a beautiful gorgeous castle here.

Brissac-Quincé is a town located in the department of Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire region. The town was born in 1964 from the grouping of two old neighboring towns of Brissac and Quincé. It is then consolidated in 2016 in the new town of Brissac Loire Aubance. Brissac-Quincé as the best known name still is located on the D 748 road, 16 km south of Angers, 29 km from Saumur, 46 km from Cholet, 85 km from Nantes and 266 km from Paris.

The new town heritage info is here: City of Brissac Loire Aubance on heritage

However, the main here is the Castle of course and our wonderful stop for lunch in town!

The Château de Brissac  is located in new town of Brissac Loire Aubance. With seven floors and more than two hundred rooms, this castle is one of the highest in France (it claims to be the highest). Cradle of the family of Cossé-Brissac since 1502 that still live in it as private property open to the public. Its medieval towers, remains of its fortress of origin of the 15C, shelter perfectly the main facade. It is in this castle that in 1620, took place the reconciliation of Louis XIII with his mother, Marie de Medici, widow of Henry IV. Many plantations adorn the park with beeches, tulip trees, maples, willows, cedars, as well as liquidambars trees as well as a nice farm with donkeys!!!. Its architecture makes it so they tell me the highest castle in France, it has seven floors in total, as well as two hundred rooms, and its facade reflects the baroque influences of the time. Home of the dukes of Brissac, the castle raises its monumental facades from its large landscaped park. Since the beginning of the 16C, it is the property and residence of the dukes of Brissac.

Brissac

Brissac

 

A bit of history I like

It was originally a castle built by Foulques Nerra, Count of Anjou,(who built so the story about 35 castles in the region)  in the 11C. After the defeat of the English by Philippe Auguste, this one yields it to Guillaume des Roches. The castle was acquired in 1435 and rebuilt in 1455 by Pierre de Breze, a rich minister of Charles VII. At the death of the latter, occurred at the Battle of Montlhéry saving the king, it is his son, Jacques, who inherits and moved to the castle. He settled there with his wife Charlotte de Valois (daughter of Charles VII and Agnès Sorel). When Jacques discovers that his wife has an affair with his friend Pierre de Lavergne, he pierces her with his sword in 1462; today a legend claims that it appears in the form of a white lady on stormy nights. During the reign of Francis I, the property was bought in 1502 by René de Cossé whom the king named governor of Maine and Anjou. The castle thus enters the family of Cossé which then adopts the name of Brissac.

Brissac

The Cossé-Brissac retain the castle until 1792. During the French revolution, it is requisitioned and turned into quartering for the Bleus (republican revolutionaries) of   Vendée. Sacked by the revolutionaries, it remains in this state until 1844, where a program of restoration is undertaken and pursued by the Cossé-Brissac, to whom the castle is restored after the revolution, and whose members are there since. In 1890 is inaugurated its theater, created on two floors by its owner, Jeanne-Marie Say granddaughter of the famous sugar refiner Louis Say, widow in first wedding of Roland de Cossé, marquess of Brissac in 1871, then viscountess of Trédern .

Brissac

Brissac

 

The theater of the Marquise de Brissac , born Jeanne-Marie Say heritage of the sugar Say empire, had a passion for the opera and singing. As her status won’t allow showing in public she decided to built a theater in the castle so she could play to a select public. The theater open in 1890 and until her death in 1916 she organized events here. She created the festival in September called Les Séries d’Automme du Château de Brissac. She plays with her performing friends works of Wagner, Gounoc, Massenet, Saint Saëns, Donizetti, and Offenbach. The theater was abandoned for more than a century until reopen in 1983 thanks to a volunteer association of the Friends of the castle of Brissac.

Brissac

The Duke of Brissac proposed his castle to house works of art, it received in 1939-1940 during WWII such as the furniture of Versailles ! kept on site until 1946 by the wife of Gaston Brière, it former curator, and works of museums Gustave Moreau, Nissim de Camondo, Decorative Arts, Châlons sur-Marne, the Elysée and Senate palaces, the Comédie Française, the Swiss legation, the embassies of Argentina and Great Britain and among 65 private collections such as the ones of André Lhote, Maurice Denis, Paul Valery and the treasure of the cathedral of Angers. In 1950, Jean Morin, then prefect of the department, had the idea of ​​organizing a theatrical performance at the castle. This spectacular open to the public, the castle is home to a Christmas market, an Easter egg hunt and the Fashion Flower Festival. It also regularly hosts events related to hot air balloons, as departures of the Championship of France and   inaugurates what will become the Festival d’ Anjou.

Brissac

Brissac

Brissac

It is a wonderful beautiful castle with as said so many rooms difficult to post in one time but will hopefully give you the flavor of what to expect, photos are allowed! Again beautiful castle worth the visit.

Some webpages to help you plan your must trip here are

Official Chateau de Brissac in English

Tourist office of Loire layon aubance on the castle

And on the way back we had our lunch/dinner here in city center Brissac and voilà another gem of the wonderful French gastronomy.  So good hard to missed one.  The restaurant for the late lunch/dinner was the L’Ardoise-Brissac with apértifs or apéros entries of 200g terrine de godet(canard), assorted cold cuts and ham terrine platter chicken with curry paste, goat cheese with nuts moelleux au chocolat with strawberry ice scoop, dame blanche , 3 scoops of ice cream and a bottle of red La Source du Ruault Saumur Champigny 2016 all for less than 21€ per person Divine we went to the shop purchase more for home ! the staff very attentive and friendly welcome and service, only families and found out dogs allowed for our next trip over lol!!! Lovely recommended at Place Clemenceau Brissac Quincé tel +33 (0) 2 41 66 54 22 More on web here: Restaurant salon de thé bar à vins L’Ardoise-Brissac

Brissac quince

Brissac quince

There you won’t go wrong at Brissac-Quincé and its castle and wonderful eateries, a lovely trip indeed, more to come of course I am just half way on my vacation time in my belle France! In the meantime , enjoy the Château de Brissac!

And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

 

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August 20, 2019

The Château de Montreuil-Bellay !

And back on the road in another day we decided to hit two whammies and visit two chateaux of the Loire. On the road warrior team we set out again for the region of Pays de la Loire and the dept 49 of Maine-et-Loire to visit Montreuil-Bellay! And visit we did wonderful place indeed. Just to show you, we have castles to create a new country lol! Old France never died it just faded away a bit but still plenty of stones around!!! We had great weather and no traffic going the alternative routes avoiding toll roads! Oh yes pictures are not allowed inside just in the kitchen and cellars.

A bit on the town of Montreuil-Bellay first.

Montreuil-Bellay is located on the Thouet river,  bordering the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and the departments of Vienne (town of Pouançay) and Deux-Sèvres (town of Saint-Martin-de-Sanzay). Bathed by the Thouet river , Montreuil-Bellay is located in the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Natural Park, less than 25 km from Saumur (Maine-et-Loire), Thouars (Deux-Sèvres) and Loudun (Vienne).

A small monastic establishment, probably at the origin of the present name of the city (from montreuil is root of old monastery and bellay is the lords of the town)  is attested as early as the 11C near a ford of Thouet (future lower town). The parish church of St. Peter is built shortly thereafter, near the priory of St. Nicholas called “The Nobis” founded between 1097 and 1103. Around 1026, Foulques Nerra establishes a keep, on the heights, and a fief entrusted to his vassal Berlai (which by distortion will become Bellay), first fruits of the future upper city. Montreuil-Bellay is one of the 32 closed cities of Anjou. The intramural city, still very homogeneous today, evolves only very shortly after the 15C.  The displacement of the administrative center in Saumur, during the French revolution, completed to reduce the commercial, economic and administrative importance of the city of Montreuil-Bellay, simple chief town of canton since 1790.

A bit on the city monuments here: City of Montreuil-Bellay on heritage in French

The Château de Montreuil-Bellay is a vast medieval castle, several times remodeled and standing in the heart of the old town close of Montreuil-Bellay. It is the Duke of Anjou Foulque Nerra who built the first citadel on a Roman oppidum in the 11C. He entrusted custody to his vassal Giraud Berlay, now Giraud Bellay, and the city takes the name of Montreuil-Bellay. The attachment of the Berlay family to the crown of France leads King Philippe Auguste in 1208 and King Louis VIII in 1224 to hold their court at the Château de Montreuil-Bellay. The Donjon from the 15C is no longer visible as the new castle was built in its place. It was 30 meters high , it was demolished in 1865.

Montreuil Bellay

Montreuil Bellay

The castle of Montreuil-Bellay goes to the family of the House of Melun and the House of Tancarville during the Hundred Years War. Subsequently, it is enlarged with the addition of several towers and an enclosure, 650 meters of defense and 13 defense towers, protect the castle, with an entrance to the fortified building, flanked by round towers and massive barbican and drawbridge. During the 15C, the Renaissance period allows the castle to be modernized and airy, new buildings, new rooms, new kitchen (the term barbe au cul was when animals were roasted entirely in the huge kitchen and the term barbecue comes from it! ), dining room, large living room, small living room, bedroom, monumental staircase and construction of a chapel of Notre Dame. This later will be hand over to the State and the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame is now open to all as a parish church (see next post). Then the castle belongs to the House of Harcourt. During the French revolution, the Lord of Montreuil-Bellay, Jean-Bretagne de La Trémoille, remains faithful to King Louis XVI. His castle is requisitioned and transformed into a prison for royalist women. After the revolutionary period, the castle becomes by marriage the property of the Grandmaison family, some of whose members were mayors of the city or senator.  The Grandmaison’s are still living in the castle. The castle of Montreuil-Bellay is remodeled in the 11C, 13C, 14C and 17C.

Montreuil Bellay

Montreuil Bellay

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are

Official Chateau of Montreuil Bellay in English

Official tourist office Saumur on Montreuil Bellay

It is a beautiful castle and great wine tasting and purchase at the end to finish a wonderful day which was not over by any meants, we continue our road warrior trips in the Pays de la Loire! Do come to the Château de Montreuil-Bellay you will be glad you did.

Montreuil Bellay

Montreuil Bellay

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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