The forteresse de Montbazon !

In continuing my road warrior saga in my belle France ,this time in beautiful Centre Val de Loire region and passing already our first town. We were not thinking of coming here as the fortress of Montbazon was closed and this time we knew it. However, been so close I decided to give it a go anyway, there is always next time. It was a pleasant surprise seeing another of the wonders of my France and another new town in my travel world map! Let me tell you a bit about the forteresse of Montbazon in ruins ok. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Montbazon forteresse chemin entr nov22

The site castral de Montbazon is located in the town of Montbazon in the department of Indre-et-Loire 37 and the region Centre-Val de Loire. The town is about 12 km from Tours, and about 352 km from my house.

A bit on the history as I like it tells us that the development of the site began at the end of the 10C or the beginning of the 11C with the construction of a master tower or keep generally attributed to Foulques Nerra. This development is at the end of a rocky promontory overlooking the valley. The construction of the tower takes place within the framework of the struggle for influence between the houses of Blois and Anjou in this part of Touraine. This tower was raised shortly after and gradually added to it, until the 15C, a forecourt, then a curtain and finally two enclosures protecting the entire site. A Renaissance castle was built in the 15C and famous personages such as Louis VII, Louis XI, Catherine de Medici and Henry of Navarre stayed there for varying lengths of time; however, it was destroyed a little more than three centuries later when, unoccupied, it was largely dilapidated, Since the French revolution but especially from the 20C, alterations or restorations have been carried out by successive owners.

Montbazon forteresse back side nov22

In this period th built up of these fortress consisted of a mound surmounted by a dungeon, most often made of wood. It is possible that such a device existed in Montbazon, located at the level of the medieval main tower, the stone then replacing the wood during the reconstruction of the fortress. According to a charter of Robert II the Pious drafted between 996 and 1006, its sponsor could be Foulques Nerra who built a castellum on land belonging to the Abbey of Saint-Paul de Cormery without prior authorization, Probably during the reign of Henry II Plantagenet, between 1160 and 1180, a ditch was dug to the south of the site and a curtain, obviously built with the limestone rock extracted from the ditch, was built between the latter and the main tower whose lower floor is gradually filled in; in this configuration, the existence of a walkway at the top of the curtain is possible, The fortress was then taken by the King of France, Philippe Auguste, at the very beginning of the 13C; at the same time, the curtain was rebuilt and it leaned at the corner on a three-story tower, called the tower of Philippe Auguste . It was also in the 13C that an enclosure was built to the south of the curtain, providing additional defense in this particularly exposed area.

Montbazon forteresse side tower nov22

Around 1425, a castle was built opposite the old keep by Guy de La Rochefoucauld. It bars the bayle for about 50 meters long and 20 meters wide and divides it into two courtyards. It was probably also in the 15C, at the same time or shortly after the new castle, that the enclosure was built to protect the lower courtyards of the fortified castle. From the beginning of the 17C for lack of money, the new castle was not maintained and fell into ruin. It was demolished in 1746 and its rubble served as embankment to consolidate the road to Spain (future N10); the chapel of Saint-Georges, adjoining a large part of the enclosure suffer the same fate, In December 1790, the walls of the castle threaten to collapse on the presbytery and other houses located below, rue des Moulins ; for safety, the town was authorized to knock them down on October 6, 1791. The upper floor of the main tower and a large part of the adjoining avant-corps collapsed in August 1791. Two years later, it was all the crenellations of the walls still standing which are razed by the inhabitants of Montbazon as « symbols of despotism «, this during the French revolution. The year 1796, the wall of the main tower is cracked over its entire height by lightning, However, 1823, welcome the installation of a Chappe telegraph on the Paris-Bayonne line; a hut housing the telegraph operator is also built at the top of the tower. The electric telegraph replaces it in 1853 the keep is consolidated so as to be able to install at the corner of its summit a statue of the Virgin and Child 9.5 meters high financed by the Empress Eugénie de Montijo (Spanish wife of Napoléon III) in the instigation of Abbé Chauvin, parish priest of Montbazon.

Montbazon forteresse ND et child nov22

American architect and landscaper William Perry Dudley purchased the castle site on March 17, 1922 from Yvonne Dezarrois, grand-niece of Joseph Delaville Le Roulx; he resided there until 1939 in the company of her friend Lilian Whitteker, an American painter who lived there until 1970. He embarked on a vast construction site and lasted more than thirty years ; five years after the death of Dudley which occurred in April 1965, at the end of a complicated succession and while he had bequeathed the fortress to the town of Montbazon, it was finally his second wife and their daughter who inherited the whole. In 1999, Harry and Jacqueline Atterton, an Anglo-French couple, took it over and designed an ambitious restoration and enhancement program with a view to opening it to the public, which was done in 2003. In 2009, a real estate group bought the fortress and continues the work started by the Atterton couple. Since 2010, its promotion and animation have been entrusted to the association of the Knights of the Black Falcon, through guided tours of the site and workshops. In addition to a particularly immersive guided tour, we discover the trades of the Middle Ages under form of sketches and demonstrations: war machines in action, master of arms, stonemason, potter, herbalist, calligrapher… The children try out the many medieval games and leave with their diploma of knight of the fortress !

Montbazon forteresse tour ronde by entr nov22

Other things to see in Montbazon are : The Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Aide Church ,rebuilt from 1851 to 1862 in neo-Romanesque style, on the site of the former Notre-Dame church built in the 12C and belonging to the abbey of Cormery. Its walls are covered internally with stencil paintings, The Hôtel-Dieu, founded in the early 1470s, was located along the road to Tours (current rue Emmanuel-Brault) until around 1740 before the new road to Spain was opened (N10). It operated until 1799, when it was transformed into a tannery. The chapel remains,Honoré de Balzac often visited Montbazon which is one of the sites of his novel Le Lys dans la vallée (1836) and to which he often refers.

The official Forteresse de Montbazon

The local touraine loire valley tourist office on the forteresse :

The town of Montbazon on its heritage :

There you go folks, another dandy found in my belle France and beautiful Centre Val de Loire ,the best example of the Valley of the Kings of France! Montbazon is worth the visit on another road warrior tour, eventually. Again, hope you have enjoyed the post as I.

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

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