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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6 Comments to “The Château de Montreuil-Bellay !”

  1. Gorgeous! And one can almost imagine a princess locked in one of those magnificent towers waiting to be rescued. The Loire is such a fairy-tale land! We were in Chouzé-sur-Loire, between Saumur and Chinon, only last week!👍

    Liked by 1 person

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