Combourg, the castle !

In my latest road warrior trip, decided to pay a visit to Chateaubriand! Not his tomb done that, but his childhood home castle in Combourg between Rennes and Saint Malo in my lovely Bretagne. We left the dog back and went with the rest of Dad and boys. I wanted to visit this for a long time , but as always said eventually will see them all health willing. Let me tell you next about the castle of Combourg. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Combourg castle front oct22

The Château de Combourg is a fortress located on the territory of the town of Combourg, dept 35 Ille-et-Vilaine in my lovely Bretagne, The castle is located 39 km from Rennes , 36 km from Saint Malo, 386 km from Paris, and about 162 km from my house.

Combourg castle front from english garden oct22

The Château de Combourg was built between the 12C and the 15C on a natural hillock, near a vast pond baptized by François-René de Chateaubriand as the peaceful lake, The archbishop of Dol, Junkeneus or Guiguené and his wife Roianteline, Viscountess of Dol, erected a first castle in Combourg in 1016 to protect her stronghold of Comburnium. At the beginning of the 11C, Guiguené had a dungeon built for his brother Rivallon, the first lord of the place, protector of the cathedral of Dol, at the end of this century,as the lords of Combourg, he received the title of “standard bearer of Saint -Samson”, protector of the cathedral of Dol. In 1162, Combourg passed by marriage to Harsulfe de Soligné, husband of Yseult de Dol, youngest daughter of Jean de Dol.

Combourg castle entr 35 steps oct22

Combourg castle entr stairs and moat oct22

The castle of Combourg falls around the middle of the 14C to the house of Châteaugiron-Malestroit. In 1553 the castle was acquired by inheritance by the Marquis de Coëtquen, and in the 18C his descendant, the last of the name, ceded the castle to his daughter, the wife of Emmanuel-Félicité de Durfort, Duke of Duras. By contract of May 3, 1761, the Duchess of Duras and her husband sold it to René-Auguste de Chateaubriand (father) of Saint-Malo, He was hired as a ship’s boy in the merchant navy, then captain, finally shipowner enriched by the trade in the islands and the trips, husband of Apolline de Bedée by whom he had ten children (six lived), the youngest being the future writer François-René de Chateaubriand. His family settling there in May 1777 and he spent twelve years of a fairly gloomy youth there, he immortalized the place in his memoirs. In 1786, René-Auguste, oldest son Jean-Baptiste, magistrate in the Parliament of Paris and husband of Aline Le Peletier de Rosanbo, granddaughter of Malesherbes, who inherited the castle. On April 22, 1794, his brother Jean-Baptiste, his wife and his grandfather Malesherbes, the King Louis XVI lawyer in 1793, were guillotined; the estate confiscated, the castle was looted and burned, then returned in 1796 to his seven-year-old son Louis Geoffroy, who would never come there, being brought up with his younger brother in Malesherbes (Loiret 45), The castle had been put under receiver and his furniture sold, then taken in by his uncle and guardian, the Count of Tocqueville, father of Alexis de Tocqueville. The residence will remain in this state for 80 years !

Combourg castle back and towers oct22

Combourg castle tower back 12C oct22

This great dilapidation of the feudal residence favored its transformation by two campaigns of work in 1866 and 1878, entrusted by Geoffroy de Chateaubriand, the son of Louis, This quasi-reconstruction made the chapel disappear from the so-called tour dite du More, the guard room and the interior courtyard, replaced by a living room, a dining room, a courtyard decorated with Renaissance-style white stone ornaments and a large wooden staircase with ramp on ramp, The estate will pass to his youngest daughter Sybille, countess of Durfort, who will pass it on to Geoffroy count of the Tour du Pin Verclause, the grandson of his older sister Marie’s son Géraud Comte de la Tour du Pin Verclause. It now belongs to Sonia Comtesse de la Tour du Pin Verclause, the wife of the latter, and to her son Guy Comte de la Tour du Pin Verclause, They now live in the castle,and it is a private property.

Combourg castle English garden parterre oct22

Combourg castle English garden tree trail right oct22

The keep rebuilt in the 12-13C will become the Tour du Maure. It will be connected in the 14C to the East Tower and the Tower of the Cat. In the 15C, the Crusader’s Tower and the North facade complete the construction of the castle. The woods of Combourg were designed as an English-style park by the Bühler brothers during the restoration undertaken in the 19C. The spirit of the famous writer still lives there. And we can still pass in front of Lucile’s cross today and soak up this atmosphere which made her say, while François-René de Chateaubriand evoked his loneliness: “You should paint all that”.See the false cypress, now over 250 years old. Sit on the porch and cast the same gaze as François-René on the Cour Verte, the alleys of chestnut trees and lime trees. The English garden of 25 ha is free.

Combourg castle English garden faux cyprés de lawson over 300 yrs old north canada oct22

Combourg castle English garden tree trail left oct22

The writer François-René de Chateaubriand spoke in his memoirs of the ghosts that would haunt the castle of Combourg, a certain Count of Combourg with a wooden leg who had been dead for three centuries returned at certain times. The room that would be the epicenter of this paranormal phenomenon is the “salon rouge” (red room ,which was the bedroom where René-Auguste de Chateaubriand, father of the writer, slept). It is said that one of the lords of Combourg, Malo-Auguste de Coëtquen who died there in his bed, wore a wooden leg after losing his right leg at the Battle of Malplaquet (1709) and haunted from the stairs of the chateau and would sometimes be accompanied by a black cat whose mewing could be heard near the Tour du Chat (cat’s tower)  where Chateaubriand had his bedroom, During the restoration of the chateau the workers discovered the desiccated corpse of a cat, immured behind a main beam dating from the 16C, This discovery was immediately connected to the legend of the ghost cat; in the Middle Ages there was indeed a tradition of burying a black cat alive in the foundations of a building in order to ward off bad luck. The mummified animal is displayed under glass in the bedroom occupied by Chateaubriand as a child.

Combourg castle ramparts tower 15C on top oct22

Combourg castle ramparts tower on top oct22

The interior visit of the Combourg castle has an obligatory guided and commented visit lasting about 45 minutes, the visit of the English park of 25 ha is free. No interior pictures are allowed, only from the ramparts out.

Combourg castle lobby boutique oct22

The official Château Combourg

The town of Combourg on its heritage

The local Saint Malo tourist office on Combourg

The Ille et Vilaine dept 35 Tourist office on Combourg

The Bretagne region tourist office on Combourg

There you go folks, a wonderful place to visit, we went for the main the castle. The Château de Combourg is fascinating and the presentation tops, ,another wonderful historical and artsy sight in my Bretagne, Chateaubriand is it. Again, hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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