Fougéres and its castle!!!

Well ,well how about this find. As I am heavy into revising old posts with update text and some new photos, I came into a post on Fougéres. And behold, I could not find any post on the castle fortress there! To my surprise! Therefore, this is a new post and new photos in my blog. Hope you enjoy it.  Fougéres in itself is nice as many other posts on it here but now I give you the Château de Fougéres!

Briefly, Fougères is a sub-prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine,dept 35 in the region of Bretagne. It is located in the Marches de Bretagne in the northeast of the department of Ille-et-Vilaine. The city is about 300 km from Paris, 50 km from Rennes,  47 km from Mont-Saint-Michel,  75 km from Saint-Malo, and about 180 km from my house! I passed by it many times on the road N12 going from Brest to Paris via Rennes and Alençon with no tolls! My favorite way to Paris. Of course, once in a while do go into town.

Fougères is historically, since the arrival of Latin in Armorica, in territory of practice of Gallo (a latinized language) in which it is called Foujerr. However Breton has never been spoken in the country of Fougères which is outside the traditional area of ​​dissemination of the Breton language yet entrance panels of the agglomeration have been installed there for several years. The town has been classified as a city of art and history since 1985. It is home to 24 historical monuments and 87 inventoried buildings of France.

The Château de Fougéres at Place Pierre Symon is one of the most imposing French fortified castles, occupying an area of ​​two hectares, and constituting a medieval ensemble from the 12C to the 15C. The castle is built on the naturally protected site of a rock emerging from the swamp surrounded by a loop of the Nançon river, a tributary of the Couesnon (famous for MSM), acting as a natural moat.

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The first fortified castle which belonged in the 11C to the Fougères family was ruined in 1166 after the siege of Henri II Plantagenêt. It is dismantled and its dungeon razed. Raoul II rebuilt it around 1173. Raoul III pays homage from Fougères to king Louis IX (Saint Louis). Pierre de Dreux, known as Mauclerc, seized Fougères by surprise in 1231 but Louis IX, at the head of his army, came to retake the city. Raoul III was Louis IX’s comrade in arms during the Seventh Crusade and died in 1256.

Jean de Montfort, Duke of Brittany, settled there but Du Guesclin seized Fougères which returned it to Pierre II d’Alençon in 1373. In 1428, Jean II d’Alençon sold the Château de Fougères to the Duke of Brittany to pay his ransom. By this time, the fortifications are further increased, in particular by Peter II in the 15C. The castle has two squat towers, the “Françoise” and the “Tourasse”. In 1488, La Trémoille, lieutenant general of the Royal armies, took the castle in a week despite a defense made up of 3,000 men and the King of France left a garrison in Fougères once it was attached to the kingdom of France, in 1491. The Duke of Mercœur, governor of Brittany, lead in rebellion against Henri III, seized the castle on March 28, 1588 and took refuge there.

in 1793, the Château de Fougéres was taken by the Chouans and the Vendéens (fighting in the wars of the West against the French revolution) . The 14C main logis-home was destroyed around 1810. In October 1828, Honoré de Balzac stayed several weeks in Fougères with Gilbert de Pommereul. He visited the castle and the entire region to draw inspiration from it for his novel Les Chouans, published in 1829. Victor Hugo, in Quatrevingt-Treize (1879), was inspired by the Mélusine tower which he describes at length : it is Hugo’s “Tourgue”, “a high and wide tower, with six floors, pierced here and there by a few loopholes, having for entry and for only exit an iron door giving on a bridge-châtelet”. On the ground is the gate through which is visible the famous dungeon, sometimes a prison, sometimes a pantry. It was especially used in 2018 for a video parodying the Harry Potter saga!

A bit about the castle architecture I like

In the Château de Fougéres, the first towers are square and certainly have a defensive role, but a passive one; the circular towers allow the defenders not to fear blind spots during shots; the horseshoe towers cleverly protect the bases of the towers and give enough clearance to archers and crossbowmen. The ramparts are very well preserved and form three enclosures. If the stately logis-home is in ruins, the towers still rise with majesty. Some can be visited: the square tower of La Haye-Saint-Hilaire 12C which gives access to the lower yard, the Raoul tower 15C, the Mélusine tower 14C and the Hallay tower. The entrance gatehouse is defended by the Mélusine and Gobelins towers. The entry and Coigny towers date from the end of the 12C. In the 15C, the Amboise tower (poterne), then the Raoul and Surienne towers complete the fortifications.

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At the entrance, there is a quadruple watermill whose wheels were restored in 2013 and still work; one of them runs an electric generator. This mill is located below the concierge desk. The Château de Fougéres is completely remodeled and fitted out to become the entrance to the castle, thus accommodating the ticket office, the shop, a projection room, and an educational space. Access to the west curtain allows you to observe the upper town. In 1892, the town of Fougères bought the castle from the Pommereul family and began its restorations as you see them today.

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The city of Fougéres on the castle and its heritage: https://fougeres.fr/dossier/d%C3%A9couvrir-le-patrimoine-fougerais-0

The official Château de Fougéres webpage: https://chateau-fougeres.com/fr

The Fougéres tourist office on the castle: https://www.ot-fougeres.fr/home/discover/fougeres_and_its_surroundings_the_must_sees/touristic_map_of_fougeres/castle_of_fougeres

There now I feel much better, a wonderful monument in my lovely Bretagne is fully showcase in my blog, for the memories, for the history for all to enjoy it. Hope you do get to visit Fougéres and go straight to the Château de Fougéres!

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

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