The Underground Mysteries of Château de Brézé

The Underground Mysteries of Château de Brézé

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Pretty and charming on the outside, but deeply enigmatic and ancient down below: Château de Brézé is a place of many mysteries. Located in the scenic Loire Valley in France, this castle and the entire region boast a long and exciting history that spans many centuries. France itself has a rich medieval heritage , and its landscapes are dotted far and wide with magnificent castles and strongholds. But the Château de Brézé – the Brézé Castle – is unique in many regards.

One of the oldest in the Loire Valley, Château de Brézé hides a well of secrets beneath its foundations. Old tunnels spread beneath it in an underground labyrinth that stretches some 1.9 miles (3 kilometers). Many niches and nooks still remain to be explored, lending secrecy and mystery to this seemingly idyllic castle. Join us as we recount the tale of this great wonder of France’s medieval heritage, as we descend into the depths of these tunnels to find the true purpose of their construction.

Ancient and Proud: The History of Château de Brézé and Its Underground World

The first thing that strikes you about Château de Brézé is the magnificent, idyllic look. The luxurious design of its terraces, balustrades, and the complex façade clearly date to the Renaissance period , when the castle underwent some serious work and face lifting. But it is much, much older than that. Although it has been dated to around 1060 AD, this castle is believed to have existed in some form even before that. Scholars suggest that it was originally built for defense purposes against the Viking incursions . From between 830 and 911 AD, Viking raids were a regular occurrence in many parts of France, and that gave rise to towers and fortified houses, which eventually grew into castles. Château de Brézé is a clear example of a defensive structure that grew into an elaborate castle complex over the years and centuries. Its original layout and appearance are not known, but it was most certainly a very simple structure.

The first proper document related to Château de Brézé is dated to 1063 AD. It was recorded in the Abbey of Saint Florent at Saint Hillaire that a castle exists at that location, known as the “Rock of Brézé”, hinting at an earlier date of construction, which ties in with the theory of a defensive building against the Vikings. Almost a hundred years later, we learn that Brézé is an important fiefdom of medieval France. The Lords of Brézé are known to have made numerous donations to the Abbey of Fontevraud in that same region, which indicates the early significance of this castle and the lords that possessed it in the early and middle medieval period.

The next important mention of Brézé is dated much later, to 1302. And that is where the castle’s history enters its most important period. Its holder, Geoffrey de Brézé, divided his estates in this year, and Brézé Castle and its lands became the property of his daughter, Catherine. It can be safely assumed that the nobles of de Brézé were without a doubt an influential family with various lands in their possession.

Sixteen years later, in 1318, we learn that the daughter of that same Catherine de Brézé – Jeanne de l’Etang – married the nobleman Pean de Maillé. Records from that period survive that tell of a kidnapping of young Jeanne. Whether Pean did this out of love or out of interest, remains unknown. Either way, the marriage took place and Pean de Maillé received the lands of Brézé as the dowry. This is the beginning of the family of Maillé-Brézé which would rise to become one of the most powerful noble families of the region, rising to prominence and ruling Brézé from the 13 th to 17 th centuries AD.

The Rise to Power of the Maillé-Brézé Family

A crucial date for the castle was the year 1448 AD. It was in this year that King René of Anjou , known as the Good King René, allows the lord of the castle, Gilles de Maillé-Brézé, to carry out further works on his castle and add fortifications and a garrison. It is believed that these were the first major works on the castle in its history, and that the first outlines of the moat were created during this period.

But about a century later, in 1560, Arthus de Maillé-Brézé, the reigning lord of the castle, decided to rebuild the castle. The rebuilding construction work took 20 years. By 1580 the old, medieval castle had been completely rebuilt in the Renaissance style . It is believed that the castle’s extensive underground tunnels were finished in this period.

The Château de Brézé moat is the deepest in all of Europe. (Gerd Eichmann / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

It is clear that Arthus de Maillé-Brézé had a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve. Château de Brézé boasts an incredible defensive layout that follows a U-shape pattern. During the rebuilding of the castle, the moat was deepened to its final depth. As the castle stands on limestone bedrock, which is easy to work with and carve, the builders simultaneously dug down into the rock to create a much deeper moat. The stone excavated from the moat construction was used for building the new castle. The final result is now the deepest moat in Europe with a depth of 18 meters (60 ft). And as the castle sits on limestone bedrock, the builders also dug out deep tunnels beneath the foundations, excavating many kilometers of swirling corridors that served a variety of purposes. And that is where the story of the castle becomes really interesting.

In the Darkness Beneath the Earth

The subterranean tunnels of Château de Brézé are a true wonder of the medieval world. Dubbed as the “castle beneath the castle,” these tunnels are a mix of hand carved tunnels, fortified walls and barriers, staircases, and light shafts. The entire design of the tunnels serves a defensive purpose, resembling a system of medieval “bunkers.” The underground complex was designed to allow the defenders to “disappear” into a complex system of corridors, where they could survive for a period of time, and defend themselves too. As you might expect, the underground complex has sleeping chambers, bakeries, kitchens, stables, and defensive positions as well. Food storage rooms and cellars allowed for ample supplies to be stocked, and the cool environment helped this further. Unique stables were carved into the bedrock featuring feeding troughs and tying posts made with great attention to detail. Sloping ramps for cattle still remain under the castle today.

Magnificent Château de Brézé in France: elegant and serene on the surface, but go deeper and you find yourself in the famous “castle beneath the castle.” Source: Adrian Farwell / CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the unique aspects of these tunnels is their defensive purpose. Great attention was given to finding the best strategic approach to building these tunnels. Thus, we can see long and perfectly straight corridors with nothing but a hole in the wall at the opposite end. Such corridors allowed the defenders to shoot arrows from a defended position, creating a bottle neck which allowed even a single defender to defeat a number of approaching attackers.

The other, natural defense mechanism was the sheer complexity of the tunnels. The numerous and seemingly random dead ends, swirling tunnels and complex crossroads are difficult to navigate for the first time. Many rooms are completely unreachable without proper knowledge and serve as the most secure spots in the whole system. In the very center of the complex is the so-called “castle beneath the castle,” consisting of stacked-stone barriers and walls, and several fully enclosed rooms that resemble a modern bunker. These “hidden” rooms also showcase the unique light sources: long shafts of light that connect the depths to the surface. Carved entirely by hand, some shafts exceed a depth of 8 meters (26 ft).

An Underground Fortress That Cannot be Stormed

Any would-be attacker who thought to descend beneath Brézé castle would face a challenge from the very first step. The builders thought of everything. There are only two ways to enter the underground complex: one is via stairs for humans, and the other is via the sloping ramp for cattle. Both narrow and hard to use in a hurry, these two entry points would have presented all kinds of challenges in an invasion or attack. At best, the attackers could only send down two men shoulder to shoulder, or more likely in single file one man behind another. This means that they would be an easy target for archers, or a skilled, well-armed, armored warrior. And if worse came to worst, the defenders could simply “disappear” into the belly of the earth, hiding or creating ambushes. And that is because these tunnels stretch for 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) underground. Filled with rooms of various sizes, nooks, niches, holes, and shafts, the tunnels of Château de Brézé provided an infinity of options for any defender.

The Lords of Maillé-Brézé continued to thrive after their castle was fully rebuilt. In 1615, the Brézé lands were elevated to the rank of a Marquisate. King Louis XIII thus made Urbain de Maillé-Brézé a Marquis, even though he was already the Marshal of France. Urbain then married the daughter of a very important figure: Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu . This marriage brought Urbain and the house of Maillé-Brézé enormous wealth and prominence.

Urbain’s daughter, Claire Clémence de Maillé-Brézé, was married in 1650 to a highly important individual. She married Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, the Prince du Sang , and a cousin to the King of France. After Urbain died, the Brézé Marquisate thus passed into the hands of the Condé family.

A passageway between the outer walls and the inner structures of Château de Brézé. (Marc Ryckaert / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

A Neo-Gothic Facelift

The Prince of Condé traded Château de Brézé and its holdings in 1682 for lands in Brittany held by Thomas Dreux. This resulted in the birth to the so-called Dreux-Brézé family, another important family in the history of this castle, which would control it until 1959.

After the wars of the early 1800’s, and with the arrival of new building trends and techniques, Château de Brézé received new important upgrades. In 1838, Master Decorator Charles Cicéri first applied elements of the extravagant neo-gothic style . These changes were followed with further work in 1850, when the whole château was significantly restored. Further neo-gothic additions were made by the famous architect Réné Hodé. Some drastic modifications on the upper levels were made, including the creation of the Great Gallery, the so-called Medieval Tower, and the Clock Tower. The tunnels beneath though, retained their aura of mystery and grimness, and were unchanged.

In 1959, Miss Charlotte de Dreux-Brézé was married to one Bernard de Colbert, the descendant of the very important Colbert Family. With this union, Château de Brézé passed into the hands of the Colberts. Even today, the château remains in the possession of this noble family, even though the complex is open to the public.

The famous vineyards of Château de Brézé. (98octane / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Château de Brézé also boasts its own line of fine wines. The entire region is well known for its vast vineyards and high-quality wines, and those of Brézé are no exception. The Tuffeau limestone that lies beneath the soil of this region gives a high calcium level to the soil. Consequently, the wines of Breze have unusually low finishing pH levels, making them unique in its taste and richness. Even during the late medieval period, the wines from Château de Brézé were famous in all the courts of France.

The world-famous wine cellar of Château de Brézé in modern times. (Gerd Eichmann / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Above and Below: The Two Faces of an Old Château

But even today, despite the rich and luxurious facades of the neo-gothic design, Château de Brézé hides a mysterious underground world below above-ground elegant dining halls and great galleries. The castle’s rough-hewn tunnels are a testament to ages long gone, when the prospect of a long siege or bloody warfare was highly probable. Strangely enough, the castle was never attacked and the defensive tunnels beneath it were never tested. The underground storage rooms and other features were certainly used. But no attackers ever descended into the grim and somber depths of the “castle beneath the castle”. But if some bloodthirsty medieval army would have been so foolish, we can be certain that their surprise would have been most unpleasant.

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Today, only a single kilometer (0.62 miles) of the tunnels are accessible. That means that there are plenty more nooks and depths to be explored which could easily yield more secrets. What mysteries might lie in the deepest tunnels can only be speculated on for now.

Château de Brézé

Château de Brézé is a small, dry-moated castle located in Brézé, near Saumur. The château was transformed during the 16th and the 19th centuries. The current structure is Renaissance in style yet retains medieval elements including a drawbridge and a 12th century troglodytic basement. Today, it is the residence of descendants of the ancient lords. The château is a listed ancient monument originally dating from 1060. A range of wines are produced at the château which has 30 hectares of vineyards.



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19 Famous Castles to visit in the Loire Valley

Loire Valley Castles Map

1. Château of Chambord

The Château of Chambord was built in 1519 by François I and features stunning French Renaissance architecture. Considered to be one the best chateaux in Loire Valley, this UNESCO site offers tours of its interior where you can view its intricate architecture and impressive tapestry collection.

When done exploring it, you can step outside into its formal garden to find native French plants. You can also explore the surrounding park which is filled with wild boars, roe deer, and bats as well as numerous walking trails. In addition to this, the castle has a restaurant and offers horse carriage rides around the grounds.

There is also a Horse and Bird of Prey Show. The castle is opened year-round although times vary throughout the year. Tickets are necessary and range in prices depending on ages.

Where: Château
When: 1519
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

2. Château of Sully-sur-Loire

This beautiful Loire Valley chateaux, which can be translated to the Castle of Sully, is a medieval fortress that was eventually turned into a residence. It is where Duke de Sully once lived and features beautiful Renaissance architecture.

There are about two floors guests can explore which include various collections of art. The castle has a few winding staircases, a moat, and plenty of towers to walk through.

Guided tours are available in both French and English and last about an hour and a half, although their times vary depending on the time of year you visit. Keep in mind photography is allowed but without flash.

Where: Chemin de la Salle Verte
When: 1395
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

3. Château of Blois

The Château of Blois is situated within the center of the city of Blois and was built in 1608, although various additions have been added since then. It features four wings which display four different architectural styles from the 14th-17th centuries. The castle once housed seven kings and ten queens and was designated a historic monument in France in 1845.

You can take a tour of the castle’s interior which includes a handful of beautiful portraits and intricate wall carvings. There’s also a fine arts museum inside for guests to visit which has over 35,000 pieces in it.

If you don’t mind taking some time to climb up a large staircase, you can reach the top of the castle’s tower which will give you stunning views of the Loire River. After exploring the castle, you can step outside to its grounds where you can visit a fragrant rose garden.

This castle also hosts a Sound and Light Show at night which lights the castle up in various colors and has special effects to help tell guests about the castle’s history in a unique way. Keep in mind separate tickets are required to attend the show.

Where: Βlois
When: 1608
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: yes, for more information, check here.

4. Château of Cheverny

This magnificent chateaux of the Loire showcase beautiful displays of Classical architecture and is known for remaining in the Hurault family for over 600 years.

This structure is considered to be one of the most furnished castles in the Loire Valley and allows you to view many pieces of historic furniture and art.

In addition to this, the castle is very family-friendly as it offers various activities for children, like a mystery game where kids can hunt through the castle to search for clues to solve a crime.

The Château of Cheverny also features gardens which are filled with wisteria and tulips as well as a labyrinth. There’s also a boutique and cafe for guests to stop by at.

In addition to this, the castle hosts events throughout the year, like a Venetian weekend which brings the popular Carnevale atmosphere to its grounds. The castle is opened at various times throughout the year and ticket rates depend on the time of year that you visit.

Where: Cheverny
When: 1634
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here.

5. Château de Chaumont

The Château de Chaumont was built in 933 by Odo I before eventually being destroyed by Louis XI and then later rebuilt in the 15th-century. The castle is home to many distinctive architectural details, including medallions by famed Italian sculptor Jean-Baptiste Nini.

You can tour the interior of the castle or walk around its grounds where you’ll find chestnut trees, bridges, and large wildflower fields.

There are also stables (where you can see antique horse-drawn vehicles), a bee house, vegetable garden, and a pet cemetery. In addition to this, the castle hosts various art shows throughout the year and is home to the International Garden Festival.

This structure is opened at different times throughout the year but has longer hours during the summer. Ticket rates also vary depending on the time of year you decide to stop by.

Where: Chaumont-sur-Loire,
When: 18th Century
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here.

6. Château de Chenonceau

The Château de Chenonceau towers over the nearby Cher River and features a stunning mixture of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Built in 1513, the castle is home to a large collection of 16th to 17th-century tapestries and numerous intricately decorated rooms you can tour.

The castle is known for its many gardens which include various species of plants, lakes, and bridges. You can also attend a unique event during the summer the castle hosts which allows you to take a night walk through the gardens which are illuminated by soft lanterns and candles.

This castle hosts floral workshops throughout the week and has a fine dining restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat. The castle is opened all year although the times depend on the season. Keep in mind tickets are necessary to enter and prices vary on ages.

Where: Chenonceaux
When: 11th Century
Style: Gothic
Open for visit: Yes, for more information. check here.

7. Château d’Amboise

This luxurious castle was once a family residence before being taken over by the French monarchy in the 15th-century. Since then, the castle has been visited by many royal families and historical figures, including Leonardo da Vinci. This UNESCO site was designated a French historic monument in 1840.

You can tour the interior of this castle and see its many beautiful Gothic carvings. There are also balconies you can climb to get stunning views of the Loire Valley. Besides this, the castle has manicured gardens for guests to explore as well as a small cafe that serves fresh pastries.

The Château d’Amboise is opened throughout the year and ticket rates vary on ages. You can take a self-guided tour of the castle or sign up for a behind-the-scenes guided tour which will take you to a few closed-off areas, although keep in mind this might cost a bit extra.

Where: Amboise
When: 15th Century
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

8. Château de Villandry

The Château de Villandry, an exquisite country house, was built in 1536 and rests on the banks of the Loire River. The house features beautiful displays of avant-garde architecture which can be viewed both indoors and outdoors.

You can take a tour of the house to see various rooms which include the drawing-room, dining room, kitchen, library, and numerous bedrooms. You’ll also find a few photography and art exhibits inside.

While it has beautiful architecture, the Château de Villandry is mainly known for its flourishing gardens. You’ll find plenty you can wander through, like the ornamental garden, kitchen garden, moat garden, and pavilion garden, which are filled with various types of plants.

There’s also an organic garden on the grounds where you can learn about natural growing methods.

Where: Villandry
When: 1536
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

9. Château d’Azay-le-Rideau

The Château d’Azay-le-Rideau features early French Renaissance architecture and was built around 1518-1527 by King Francis I. Situated next to the Indre River, this castle is especially known for its façades and water mirror which has the castle brilliantly reflected in the river.

Tours can be taken of its interior where you can view many different rooms, including a Renaissance bedroom, which features various types of textiles and wall mattings.

There is also a surrounding park that is filled with foreign and native plant species including cedars and American tulip trees. It’s also home to numerous types of wildlife like dragonflies and bats.

The castle is opened all year although times vary on seasons. Tickets are also required and prices reflect age ranges.

Where: Azay-le-Rideau
When: Built between 1518 and 1527
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here.

10. Château du Clos Lucé

Once known as Manoir du Cloux, the Château du Clos Lucé was built in 1106 and is best known for being where Leonardo da Vinci took his last breath before dying in one of the castle’s bedrooms.

You can tour its interior to view the pink bricks that make up the castle or the outdoor gardens which feature sculptures of da Vinci’s experiments.

In addition to this, the castle has a small crêperie where you can grab a quick bite to eat while sitting next to fragrant Mona Lisa roses. For dinner, you can stop by the L’Auberge du Prieurė where you can dine by candlelight on Renaissance-era meals.

There’s also a large Renaissance music festival during the fall you can attend. Tickets can be bought online for a self-tour and prices vary depending on ages.

Where: Amboise
When: 1519
Style: Gothic
Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here.

11. Château de Chinon

The Château de Chinon resides near the Vienne River and was founded by Theobald I. The medieval fortress was also visited by Joan of Arc. This UNESCO castle is filled with a plethora of medieval-era artifacts, including knights armor and shields.

You can also stop by its clock tower. The Château de Chinon is opened throughout the year although times vary for different seasons. Tickets are required for guests, although those who are seven years old and younger can enter for free.

Where: Chinon
When: 1160
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here.

12. Château de Loches

The Château de Loches was built in the 9th-century by King Philip II of France. The castle is situated near the Indre River and is known for its many towers and for housing the largest collection of medieval armor in the area.

Tours can be taken of the interior where guests can view massive fireplaces, lanterns, and tapestries. You can also visit the Agnes Sorel Tower which has vibrant stained glass windows. Tickets are required to enter although children 12 years and younger can enter without one.

Where: Loches
When: 9th Century
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here.

13. Château de Meung-sur-Loire

Created in the 12th-century, the Château de Meung-sur-Loire was once the home of the Bishops of Orléans before being destroyed and rebuilt numerous times in the years to come.

Because of this, the castle is constructed with a mixture of architecture and rooms from different time periods, like a 16th-century spiral staircase and a 13th-century storeroom.

There’s also a medieval dungeon you can visit while here. Besides this, the castle has a few French and English-style gardens, including one that hides the ruins of an ancient pavilion.

The castle is opened at different times throughout the year. Tickets are required and vary in their prices depending on the tour you decide to take although some discounts are available.

Where: Meung-sur-Loire
When: 12th Century
Style: Classical
Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here.

14. Château d’Ussé

The Château d’Ussé resides next to the peaceful Chinon Forest and overlooks the nearby Indre Valley. Built in the 11th-century by Gueldin de Saumur, it later served as the home to the Duke of Blacas. This castle is also believed to be where writer Charles Perrault was inspired to write Sleeping Beauty.

You can tour the interior where you’ll find plenty of rooms to explore, like the Guard Room, King’s Chamber, and Vauban Salon, which houses an antique Florentine cabinet filled with secret compartments. You can also visit the Vault downstairs which is one of the oldest rooms in the castle.

The castle is also home to formal French gardens which are filled with fountains and lemon trees. Each year the castle hosts a special exhibit for guests to view, the most current being one focused on embroidery. Ticket prices range on ages although those eight years and younger can enter for free.

Where: Rigny-Ussé
When: 17th Century
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: Yes, for more information click here.

15. Château de Saumur

This 10th-century castle is located in the small town of Saumur and was built by Theobald I to help protect against possible Norman invasions. This structure is packed with collections of various decorative arts, tapestries, and furniture.

There’s also a horse exhibit which contains important horseback riding equipment like bits and saddles. The castle is opened at different times throughout the year and requires a ticket in order to enter, although there are reduced rates for some tours.

Where: Saumur
When: 10th Century
Style: Gothic
Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here.

16. Château de Langeais

The Château de Langeais is a medieval castle that rests near the Roumer River. Built in the 10th-century by Fulk Nerra, it was eventually attacked and taken over by Odo I.

The castle features over 15 furnished rooms for guests to explore, many of which are decorated to recreate the Middle Ages. The castle also has an exhibit of wax figures that recreates a royal medieval wedding.

When you’re done touring the interior, you can step outside to get a breath of fresh air in the nearby park. The castle is opened year-round and offers different types of tours for groups and families.

Where: Langeais
When: 10th Century
Style: Romanesque
Open for visit: Yes, for more information, click here.

17. Château de Beauregard

The Château de Beauregard was created in 1545 and features Renaissance architecture. It serves as the King’s Minister’s residence and offers tours where you can see fireplaces, intricate woodworkings, an old library, and bell’s study.

There’s also a portrait gallery inside which features numerous portraits of historical French royal figures in chronological order, one of the only of its kind in Europe.

When you’re done exploring the interior, you can visit the castle’s park and gardens or grab a bite to eat at its small cafe. Guided tours are available in both French and English although specific tickets and times for them will vary.

Where: Cellettes
When: 1545
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

18. Château de Valençay

The Château de Valençay is best known for being home to the d’Estampes and Talleyrand-Périgard families. It’s also the location of where Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Pėrigard, the former minister of foreign affairs for France, is buried.

Overlooking the Nahon River, the castle showcases Renaissance architecture and has many grand rooms for guests to explore, like the Lounge, Blue Salon, and Hall of Treasures. The interior is also filled with different collections of 18th-century furniture.

Where: Valençay
When: 1540
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: Yes, for more information click here.

19. Château de Brézé

This castle was built during the 11th-19th centuries and features a mixture of medieval and Renaissance architecture. This dry-moated castle offers tours where you’ll be able to view its drawbridge and explore its dark underground tunnels.

There are also gardens nearby you can wander through. In addition to tours, the Château de Brézé offers various events throughout the year, like a medieval jousting tournament. Tickets are necessary and prices depend on ages, although there are small discounts for families.

Where: Brézé
When: between the 11th and 19th centuries.
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: for more information, check here.

The castles that are scattered around the Loire Valley are not only beautiful structures with intricate architecture but ones that each have their own unique story. A visit to these best castles in the Loire Valley will certainly be a trip you’ll never forget.

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The land on which the château was built in the 17th century was formerly part of the Seigneurie of Barville, which had been in the possession of the Le Marinier family since the end of the 16th century. [2] In 1626, Pierre Le Marinier was appointed Lord of Barville. On August 18, 1634, he then went on to buy the adjacent Seigneurie Cany from Adrien de Breauté and united the two lordships to form the new Seigneurie Cany. [3] In 1640, he started the construction of a château in Louis XIII style. Even though it was built on the land of the former Seigneurie Barville, it was named after the Seigneurie Cany. The château replaced the family’s former residence in Barville, which was less representative and more modest consisting of a residential building, a stable, a cowshed, a carriage house, some barns, a dovecot, a woodshed, a building where the wine press was located, and various other buildings. [4] A description dated from 1700 shows that this residence still existed at the beginning of the 18th century. [5]

The new château was constructed within six years. It is not known which architect provided the plans for the new building. Possibly, it was François Mansart, however, this has not yet been proven. The end of construction was passed on in a report which recounts the visit of Nicolas de Paris to the chapel of Barville in 1646. At that time, Nicolas de Paris, a vicar general of François II de Harley, was the archbishop of Rouen. On May 13, 1624, after the construction of the main building had been finished, Pierre Le Marinier bought the adjacent barony of Caniel from Jacques de La Taille for 16,500 livres [3] With the death of Pierre Le Marinier in 1662, his son Balthazar Le Marinier not only inherited the château but also a large amount of real estate. Balthazar Le Marinier married Geneviève der Becdelièvre in 1663 and sold the château and the Seigneurie Cany (excluding the barony of Caniel) to his father-in-law Pierre III de Becdelièvre, Marquis de Quévilly, on June 3, 1683. [3] Pierre IV, Pierre III de Becdelièvre's son, repurchased the barony of Caniel in June, 1713. [6]

Following the death of Pierre IV, who did not leave any children, in 1726, he was succeeded by his nephew Claude. In 1728, Claude's younger brother Louis became the owner of the castle. Louis' son, Pierre Jacques Louis, inherited the estate in 1740. 20 years later, he commissioned Chaussard, a Parisian architect, to change or finish the working quarters located south of the château as well as the French formal garden including two parterres, and various ponds and canals. [7] [8] In 1711, the château and the Lordship fell into the hands of Louis' grandchild Anne Louis Roger, who died on June 26, 1789. He passed Château Cany on to his daughter Armande Louise Marie, who married Anne Christian de Montmorency-Louxembourg on January 18, 1789. [9] During the French Revolution, the property of aristocrats who had left the country was confiscated. This caused Anne Louis Roger to divorce her husband in 1792 in order to save her property, despite the emigration of her husband. However, she and her sister were arrested and imprisoned during the French revolution. [9] Château Cany was eventually confiscated anyway and served as a prison. [10] Eventually, Armande could convince the authorities to return the family property in 1795. [9] After Anne Christian de Montmorency-Luxembourg was omitted from the list of aristocrats that had emigrated, the couple re-married and inhabited Château Cany themselves from 1802 onwards. [9] [10]

Around 1830, their son Anne Edouard Loius Joseph de Montmorency-Luxembourg had the entire estate renovated and the interior modernized. [11] This included the restoration of the façade and the redesign of the garden into a landscape garden. At that time also the main stairway, which is accessible from two sides, was constructed at the southern front of the main building . Antoine-Nicolas Louis Bailly provided the plans for it. [6] As the marriage between Edouard and Léonie de Croix de Dadizeele did not produce a son, the daughters inherited the fortune and divided up the property. Anne-Marie Josephe, the older sister of the two, inherited Château Cany and procured it for her husband Antoine d'Hunolstein. Because her grandchild, Anne-Marie d'Hunolstein, married Louis de Dreux-Brézé in 1926, the estate fell into the hands of his family. [6] 2011, Laure Normand took possession of the estate, which had previously been in the possession of her father Antoine de Dreux-Brézé. Since then she and her husband have been managing the business. [12] The family has not lived in the château itself for more than 30 years but occupied one of the former working quarters southwest of the main building. [1] [13] Until 2006, annual horse driving trials organized by the École Sainte Jeanne d'Arc took place in the park of the estate. [12] [14] The main building has been transformed into a museum for interior design, but is currently (as of October, 2016) closed for renovations. The park can be viewed for a small fee in July and August of every year.

Description Edit

The castle is situated in the valley of the river Durdent in the midst of a park, [12] which has geometrically shaped areas of water fed by the Durdent and covers 30 hectares. In earlier times the complex marked the crossing of two roads, about 50 kilometers northwest of Rouen: the road from Fécamp to Dieppe and that from Yvetot to Veulettes-sur-Mer.

Architecture Edit

A 280-meter-long avenue leads lineally from the west to a paled gate, [15] which bears the coat of arms of the Becdeliévre family. [16] It is one of four gates which grant access to the large courtyard, which covers about 68 × 151 m 2 [15] and is located south of the castle. It consists of several rectangular lawns, which are separated from each other by symmetrically designed paths. The southern end of the courtyard forms a semicircle, which is bounded by a wide ditch. Two elongated and symmetrically designed sections of the building form the eastern and western side walls of the yard. These wings were once used for economic purposes. They date back to 1702 [17] and are thus younger than the main castle. In former times the buildings were used as royal stables and carriage houses. North of these wings two detached and three-axled pavilions are located. The buildings were put up around 1700 [10] and mark the southern corners of the ditch which surrounds the residential building. The eastern pavilion once served as the palace chapel and the western one was used as a repository. Their slate-tiled roofs were renewed in 2010, last in 1890. [13]

The residential building is located on a rectangular island and is surrounded on all sides by an 11.5 meter-wide ditch. [15] At the south side the island can be accessed via a brick bridge built in 1782, which at that time had replaced the drawbridge. [5] [17] The residential building covered the whole north side. There is no main courtyard in front of the main building as was usually the case, but instead a graveled promenade, which is surrounded by a stone balustrade. The two-storied castle was built with regional materials and is typical of the Louis XIII style. Its design is determined by the colors of its building materials. Red bricks were used for the walls, bright cut stone for window and door frames and dark slate for the roofs.

In French this kind of stonework design is called brique-et-pierre. The castle was built from 1640 to 1646 and since then has barely been changed, which contributes to its very uniform appearance. The castle consists of a seven-axled Corps de Logis, which is bounded on the north and the east by short pavilion-like wings having two axes and two floors. All three parts of the building have slate-tiled hip roofs, the roofs of the side wings being higher than the roof of the central wing. All window openings have segmental arches with a closer. The windows of the raised ground floor are furnished with a triangular gable. The upper floors of the side wings are decorated with round arches. The brick walls of the spaces between the windows are rendered in a bright color. The three central arches of the Corps de logis converge at the height of the roof under a rounded arch. A double-flight staircase leads to the middle entrance at the southside of the raised ground floor. The staircase is shaped like a horseshoe and has stone balusters.

Interior Edit

A lot of the furniture dating back to the 17th and the 18th century has been preserved and is now part of the museum for interior design in the castle. The completeness of the collection is remarkable, since often, the furniture of French castles was sold during the French Revolution and ended up in various places all over the country. The most impressive pieces that are presented to visitors include various family portraits, Asian porcelain and a lavishly designed state bed. The most important works of historical art, however, are the various tapestries dating back to the 15th and 16th century, which the count of Hunolstein had had restored and which were presented in an exhibition by the Parisian Musée des Arts décoratifs in 1880.

The former working quarters, including some storage units, the wine cellar, the servants' day room and the castle kitchen, in which the old utensils and dishes are displayed, are located on the ground floor of the main building. Two staircases situated in the side wings connect the ground floors with the upper floors. It is believed that they date from the 18th century when they replaced former, less intricately designed staircases. [18]

On the raised ground floor of the main building, the drawing rooms are located. In the east side wing, there is an apartment, while the west side wing houses an extensive library of 4000 works. [13] In the Corps de logis, three bordering rooms can be found one big room in the center flanked by two smaller parlors. The green parlor (French: salon vert) has panels in régence style containing elements of Rococo art and various motifs from hunting and music. It might formerly have served as a music room. [18] The second parlor served as a dining room and has white panels in Louis XVI style.

The top floors of the two pavillons on the sides of the building contain further apartments with the same floorplans as those located on the raised ground floor of the pavillon to the east. The Corps de logis on this floor consists of 4 adjoining rooms connected by a long corridor. Valuable Flemish tapestries can be found in this room. The following tapestries are displayed: [19] [20]

More information about Château de Brézé

The château is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm, later in July and August

If your French is okay it is worth taking the guided tour. There is a leaflet in English to help you and you are free to wander around on your own.

It’s pretty chilly in the caverns so bring something warm to wear even on a hot day and going underground might be difficult if you have physical disabilities or suffer from claustrophobia.

Popular reviews

A lovely tour of a someone's haunted home, perhaps by chance.

Weaker in comparison to Man Ray's other film experiments but still his ambition shows.

The problem being with the title of Les Mystères du château de Dé is there was no mystery element instead just random nonsensical matter that was devoid of intrigue. Call it Dadaist gone wrong as there is not suppose to be any form or coherent content but I was just bored with this one rather than being mesmerized in artistic surreal chaos. Alot of his camera work was pretty standard in this one as well not deviating much from normality. There was only one particularly shot that really caught my attention and it was the reverse dive from the pool making the human figure appear like…

That one shot of the lady very slowly juggling in the pool is somehow one of the scariest images in cinema to me.

Plaisante évocation imaginée du poème typographique de Mallarmé.

The Mysteries Of The Chateau Of Dice is simply an incredible experience from beginning to end. The film opens with a title card that reads: 'A Roll Of The Dice Will Never Abolish Chance', a sentiment that is repeated both visually and lyrically throughout the entirety of Man Ray's twenty minute expedition into the heart of phantoms.

The Chateau Of Dice opens on a mannequin hand wielding a pair of dice. As if to symbolize humanity's wooden-hollow grasp on chance and assumes that fate considers all living things to be inanimate objects. We cannot stop fate. It is revealed that a faceless couple is rolling the dice in order to decide first if they will leave the house that day…

How is this different than the stuff I recorded on my iPod touch in my backyard when I was twelve?

Part travelogue to the titular castle, the film then becomes a rumination on existence. From existentialist questions to surrealist images of masked figures rolling dice, the film begins to pose interesting questions but then gets lost in silliness. it lacks all of the formal play that Man ray used in his other work, settling instead for slightly odd content. And that failure to bind the philosophical with the cinematic or narrative elements is what hurts the film most, plunging into blandness. The only exception is a lovely fade to negative in the final minute.

there are some cool visual ideas in there, but that's about it

Note:This short is currently on YouTube.

Before viewing the excellent Herzog/Kinski team-up Woyzeck (1979-also reviewed) I decided to catch a French film from 1929. Checking the titles I had from the year,I got set to uncover the mysteries of the chateau.

Made as the “Silent” era of cinema was fading out,co-cinematographer/(with Jacques-Andre Boiffard )writer/director/ lead star Man Ray closely works with Boiffard in making the bulky, heavy cameras of the era move with a fluidity pointing towards the French New Wave,from Ray & Boiffard driving round with a camera gazing out towards the real streets of Paris, to whip-pans round the empty home.

Originally released as part of a double bill that played with…

The mannequins from Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 1 are back at it again! And this time they're. reciting cryptic poetry?!

The Underground Mysteries of Château de Brézé - History

Ghost stories from the most hunted mansions, castles and estates around the world.

Akershus Fortres IMAGE: TravelTruHistry.TV

Akershus Fortress, Norway

Known as “the most haunted place in Norway,” Akerhus Fortress began construction in the late 1290s by King Jaakon V. The large fortress located by the Oslo Harbor was built after an attack on Earl Alv Erlingsson of Sarpsborg in 1287, when the royal family had decided that the city’s existing defenses were weak. Covering 67 buildings (approximately the size of fourteen football fields), the fortress was used for many battles, the first being in 1308. It was also an instrumental battle fortress and port of entry into the city during the Northern Seven Years’ War. In total, Akershus has survived Swedish attack a total of eight times, winning each time. During World War II, it was occupied by the Nazi Party, where it was used as a prisoner and execution ground. Today, the chapel and large dining halls are used for royal functions. However, locals admit that the fortress has many chilling ghost stories. With dozens of dungeons underground, the rumors of ghostly soldiers have fascinated the Norwegians over the years. Other sightings including a ghost dog called named Malcanisen (The Vicious Dog) which is said to guard the entrance of the fortress. Also, a no-face lady named Mantelgeisten is often spotted going in and out of different chambers.

Amityville Horror House IMAGE:

Amityville Horror House, Long Island

Arguably one of the most famous addresses in pop culture, 112 Ocean Ave., Amityville, Long Island has a history that has fascinated the world through numerous novels and 13 motion pictures. Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his parents Ronald Sr. and Louise, and his four siblings: Dawn, Allison, Marc, and John Matthew, with a .35 caliber gun as they slept on November 13, 1974 inside the Dutch-colonial mansion. He claimed that “voices told him to do it”. DeFeo was later charged with six counts of second degree murder. After 13 months, a newlywed couple by the name of George and Kathleen Lutz purchased the house for a “bargain price” of $80,000. Aware of the DeFeo murders, the couple could not resist moving their three young children (all from Kathleen’s previous marriage) into the antique home that features classic gambrel roofing, five bedrooms, a swimming pool, and a boathouse.

The Lutz family spent a total of 28-haunted days in their Long Island home. During their stay, many unexplainable things happened to them. George claimed to have woken up every morning at 3:15 AM, approximately the time the DeFeo’s were murdered. He was also said to begin to emulate Ronald DeFeo Jr. in appearance and behavior, going as far as drinking at his favorite bar The Witches’ Brew, located nearby. Kathy had nightmares consistently and said that an unexplainable dark force would sensually touch her at night. The house was also plagued by mosquitos and had strange odors like excrement in some areas. The crucifix hanging in the living room was said to regularly move upside down by itself. After strange sightings of Colonial-dressed ghosts and discovering the Red Room in the basement (the tiny room was not in the house’s blueprints), the Lutz’s decided to bless the house one more time. As they made their way through their home chanting prayers, they heard a chorus of voices screaming, “Will you stop!” Leaving their possessions behind, the Lutz evacuated 112 Ocean Ave. immediately after.

Burg Wolfsegg IMAGE: Wikipedia

Burg Wolfsegg, Wolfsegg, Germany

Ulrich von Laaber and his wife Klara von Helfenstein built the Burg Wofsegg Castle 800 years ago. Ulrich, a knight of noble birth, was always away for business or military missions. This led Klara to look for other companionship, finding it local businessman Georg Moller, in whom she began an affair. When Ulrich had learned of his wife’s transgressions, he quickly hired two young farmers to murder Klara. After learning of the death of his lover, Georg was said to have walked into the forest, never to be seen again. Strange things continued around the palace grounds, as soon after, Ulrich and his sons unexplainably disappeared as well. Today, many come to the castle as it is a popular tourist spot right outside the nearby city of Nuremberg. Visitors claim that Klara has taken the form of a poltergeist, and is known around the area as the Woman in White, who moves objects violently around the palace. 100 yards into the woods is a strange cave christened by locals as The Hole. Strange odors and a sound of breaking is said to come out of it. For hundreds of years, the villagers of Wofsegg continuously warn tourist that they go too near it, they will never be seen again. Years later, a crew of investigators went into The Hole and found tunnels with hundreds of bones scattered around the ground—some fresh and some hundreds of years old.

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Château de Brissac, Brissac-Quincé, France

Located at the commune of Brissac-Quincé, Château de Brissac is France’s tallest castle. Originally built by the Counts of Anjou, it was later owned by King Henry IV of France. He later gifted to Charles II of Cossé to thank him for his loyalty. Along with the sprawling structure, Henry bestowed his friend the title Duke of Brissac, in which his family still carries today. The chateau’s resident ghost is said to be Charlotte de Brézé, the illegitimate daughter of Charles II with Agnes Sorrel. In 1462, Charlotte was trapped in an arranged marriage with nobleman called Jacque de Bréze. Although peaceful with one another, the couple were indifferent and never shared the same bed. On May 31, 1477, a servant awoke Jacques claiming that Charlotte was with her lover Pierre de Lavergne. Jacque left his chambers and murdered the lovers in a jealous rage. Shortly after, the nobleman moved out of the chateau, claiming that he continues to hear his wife and her lover moaning in the early hours of the morning. Charlotte can also be seen roaming the halls in the green dress she was said to have been murdered in. Locals have given her the name “La Dame Verte” (or Green Lady). It is said that her face has many holes, a reflection of how Jacques had murdered her. Rumor has it that the royals who stay at the chateau today are accustomed with Charlotte’s cries, and hardly mind it. Guests, on the other hand, are still pretty frightened.

Malacañang Palace IMAGE:

Palace, Manila, Philippines

The magnificent structure of the Philippines’ very own Malacañang Palace has always been a hub of ghostly speculations. Back in 2016, an employee by the name Beldad Gantalao told that she had seen a headless priest walking about Kalayaan Hall. Built in 1750, the palace had survived the ups and downs of Philippine history, first acting as the home for the Spanish leaders during colonization. Later taken by the Americans, it was given to the locals to house Filipino Presidents, starting with President Manuel Quezon. Over the years, many alleged sightings of past deceased presidents such as Quezon, Manuel Roxas and Ramon Magsaysay are said to haunt the palace halls. Used as a base by the Japanese army during the Second World War, it is rumored that many souls of children and soldiers reside in at Malacañang as well. As part of Philippine folklore, it is also believed that a large kapre (a cigar-smoking giant) haunts the large balate tress near the palace’s entrance.

Myrtles Plantation IMAGE: wikipedia

Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana

Built in Louisiana in 1796 by General David Bradford, the historic Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana is said to be the home of over 12 ghosts. Located atop a hill, facing over 600-acres of land (known as “Laurel Grove”), the Creole cottage-style mansion is often considered one of America’s most haunted homes. The legends around it has even led to ghost tours, which often bring hives of tourists to Louisiana every year. The traditional home is expansive in size, featuring 22 rooms on two floors, six brick chimneys, French Baccarat crystal chandeliers, two parlors (one for men and one for women), a formal dining room, game room, and huge lanais. Outside the house is a large pond with a small island in the middle. At the center is a gazebo that can easily accessed by a man-made bridge.

General Bradford had lived in the house till his death 1808, passing the land off to his wife. When his wife became too weary to manage the planation’s operations, their daughter Sara Mathilda and her husband, Clark Woodruff inherited it. What the Bradford’s didn’t know is that the house was built atop ancient Tunica Indian burial grounds. Although it is speculated that many more murders happened in Myrtles Plantation, only 10 has been officially recorded. One of the most famous is that of lawyer William Drew Winter, who was shot in the house by an unknown assailant. Winter was said to have crawled up the stairs, before finally dying on the 17 th step. Another famous legend revolves around Chloe, a slave owned by Woodruff. Chloe was said to have been forced to becoming Woodruff’s mistress. Her resistance against the man resulted to the severing of one of her ears, which caused her to wear a turban to hide her deformation. To exact revenge, she baked a poisonous cake and served it the family. It is believed that Sara and her two daughters died from poisoning after eating the cake. The other slaves were infuriated with Chloe’s actions and they hung her on a tree before throwing her into the Mississippi River. Many believe she still haunts the plantation wearing her signature, green turban.

Raynham Hall IMAGE: pinterest

Raynham Hall, Norfolk, England

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall is one of England’s most famous ghosts. In 1936. London-based photographer Captain Hubert C. Provard and his assistant Indre Shire were at the Norfolk estate photographing the main stairway for Country Life magazine. When their photograph was developed, the image of a woman in a dated brown brocade dress stood along the staircase. Rumors of the hauntings at Raynham dates back to 1835, when Lucia C. Stone first sighted the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole during a Christmas celebration hosted by Lord Charles Townshend.

Lady Walpole, was the second wife of Charles Townshend. After learning of her infidelity with Lord Wharton, Townsend locked her in her room as a form of punishment. There she remained till her death in 1726 from smallpox. Many claim that Lady Walpole now walks through the halls wearing her brown dress. She is said to have empty eye-sockets and a glowing face. Over the last two hundred years, much of the mansion’s staff has resigned after claiming that they were haunted by its ghostly mistress. Despite many horror stories, the house still remains to be majestic in design. Many calling it, “one of the most splendid houses of Norfolk.”

Winchester House IMAGE:

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California

When firearm magnate William Wirt Winchester died from tuberculosis in 1881, his widow Sarah inherited $20.5 million (or approximately $520 million in today’s dollars, adjusted to inflation) and a 50% ownership stake of their company, Winchester Riffles. When her infant daughter soon died after, Sarah sought the help of a medium who said that she needed to build a mansion to home the spirits who had lost their lives from the guns they produced. Mrs. Winchester then packed her things and moved up west, acquiring a large chunk of land in San Jose, California to begin building her mansion. Constructed without a building plan or architect, Sara obsessively oversaw construction of the odd mansion until her death in 1922. In it, she built nonsensical rooms such as doors and staircases that led nowhere. By the time Sara had departed the land of the living, production on Winchester mansion stopped. Today it is a tourist attraction with roughly 161 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms, over 10,000 panels of glass, 17 chimneys, two basements, three elevators, and lush gardens that sprawl over 162 acres of land.

Marguerite Wilson Pelouze 1836–1902

Marguerite Wilson was the daughter of a very wealthy British chemist and engineer who made his fortune in the gas industry. Orphaned by the age of ten, Marguerite and her brother Daniel came under the protection of their mother’s brother Antoine Mathieu Casenave.

In 1857, Marguerite married Eugene Philippe Pelouze, a doctor, and son of the chemist Théophile-Jules Pelouze. She and her brother sold their inherited ownership of the Paris gas works, and in 1864 Marguerite bought Château de Chenonceau.

Marguerite was passionate about restoring the château to the way it was in the 16th century when Diane de Poitiers owned it. She hired architect Felix Roguet to help with the effort and, from 1867 to 1878, worked on the project. In the process, they removed many of the changes Catherine de’ Medici had made.

Having been divorced from Dr. Pelouze in 1869, Marguerite, much like former resident Madame Dupin, enjoyed the company of many of the celebrated artists and high-ranking individuals of the day.

Marguerite gave French composer Claude Debussy a job as resident pianist at Château de Chenonceau during the summer of 1879. It was there he is said to have acquired a life-long appreciation of luxury and beautiful things.

In 1887, Margurite entertained the Sheikh of Palmyra at Château de Chenonceau, but by 1888, she was bankrupt and had to sell the home she loved so well.

In 1913, the château passed into the hands of businessman and adventurer Henri Menier, heir to the Menier Chocolate fortune. When Henri died childless, his brother Gaston took possession. His heirs still own it today.

16th century residencein the heart of Limousin

The longer we live here the more mysteries we discover about the Château.
We had previously thought that the Chateau was completed sometime between 1642 and 1656, during the reign of Louis XIII, , but have since been told by an architectural historian that it may be even older. The back plate (a beautiful huge ironwork plate bearing a coat of arms, used to retain heat in the main fireplace) is dated 1588, but may have been brought from the family’s previous residence. The Château and estate would have been either a gift as recognition of a favour to the Royal House or to seal an allegiance.
Given the strategic importance the area has always held (the theatre of war and political machinations for the struggle for the French and English Crowns), the latter seems likely, especially as a strong political role has often been held by the incumbent family. The estate originally covered some 150 hectares, making it extremely wealthy, and self sufficient until the mid 20th Century. The Lord of Ribagnac, head of the Igonin family, is buried in the church at Ambazac, and his family continued to prosper at Ribagnac until 1860 when the Chateau was sold to the Alluaud family. The Chateau underwent refurbishment during the 1780s until the Revolution intervened at the cost of the Igonin family.
The original building was larger than it is today, with a wing protruding from where the square tower now stands, to form a courtyard. There was also once a fountain, which we dream of reinstating one day. There appears to have been a fire that destroyed this section, but we still do not know the details.
The Chateau takes its name from the underground river running through the land, the Bagnac with the addition of the word for stream, “ruisseau” or “ru”. It was at one time Chateau de Rubagnac, but this has been corrupted over the passage of time.
The new owner was well connected (his father was the Mayor of Limoges) and became very successful in the booming porcelain industry you can still see the remnants of the porcelain kilns used to try out new designs in the Summer Pavilion. The family, being creative, also fostered connections with the art world, and regularly entertained artists at the Chateau. The Summer Pavilion was often used as an artist’s studio for visiting masters.
Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, 1796-1875 (the leading French landscape painter of the 19th century) was a frequent guest to the Chateau, and the paintings in the Honeymoon Suite, the silvery woodland scenes (the trumeau and the matching two panels) have in the past been attributed to him. This is doubtful but they are certainly part of his school of painting.
The family were particularly interested in Impressionist art as well as more traditional schools.
The Chateau underwent a renovation in the 1860s, and some of the furniture and chandeliers in the Chateau date from then (although some are much older). It was at this time that the arboretum was planted with many rare and beautiful trees sadly many of these were lost in the hurricane of 1999 that devastated much of France. However, we the present owners are now working to restore the woods, and the woodland here is still the home of ancient deer, wild boar, stone martens and many other creatures and an idyllic place to wander.

The Chateau next changed hands in 1903, and was redecorated at that time (the Grand Suite). The de Saulieu O’Toole family moved in and a beautiful stained glass window, made by a maître verrier still bears the family’s coat of arms. We know little else about this period but that the Chateau was again sold in the 1930s to the Lacaze-Masmonteil family.

The Lacaze family lived at the Chateau permanently until Madame Lacaze (senior) died in 2000. Her husband had been a famous surgeon with his own clinic in Paris, and had used the airstrip to the rear of the chateau to fly to Paris, until the airstrip was destroyed by the Germans during the Second World War. The Château was never occupied by the Germans, and so was able to retain many of its original treasures.

Although it is unconfirmed, local legend has it that the Chateau was used as a secret Resistance hospital during the World War II. During our renovations, we discovered hidden fragments of wartime newspapers (behind the fabric wallpaper) showing lists of soldiers names, and also provisions hidden in the roof space. More significantly we discovered a reinforced ceiling in one of the larger towers that could have been used as a secret room, as it had a hidden entrance from the roof space. Most of all, everybody we have met here speaks of Madame Lacaze with a kind of warmth and awe that makes one think she was the type of person who did something special in her life.

In the summer of 2005, we received a visit from a kindly old gentleman, who was visiting the area with his son. It turned out that he had been a prisoner of war here during the Second World War and had been “held” at one of the Château’s farm buildings as a worker, after having been wounded in Russia. He told us that after the war he had elected to stay on as a worker and later married a local girl. He said that his time at Ribagnac had been one of the happiest periods of his life.

Watch the video: The Secrets of Underground Britain - HIDDEN HISTORY (June 2022).


  1. Cuuladh

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  2. Bamuro

    It seems to me that this has already been discussed.

  3. Ze'ev

    Yes, the real truth

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