Montreuil-Bellay Castle (France)

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The first citadel is built in the eleventh century by Foulque Nerra, Count of Anjou, on the foundations of a Roman oppidum. A tireless warrior, an insatiable builder, Foulque Nerra, known as the Black Falcon, belongs to the narrow circle of the faithful of the King of France, Hughes Capet.

From his descendants was born the Plantagenet dynasty which reigns over England from 1154 to 1485, and in particular: Geoffroy Plantagenet, Henry II Plantagenet and his wife Aliénor of Aquitaine, Richard Coeur de Lion, Jean without Land ... Some of their are located at Fontevraud Abbey.

Foulques Nerra entrusts the citadel to his vassal Giraud Berlay, become Bellay, and Montreuil-Bellay gains its reputation of impregnable place on the front of the struggles between the throne of Angletere and the crown of France. It will take a seat of three years, between 1148 and 1151, to allow Geoffroy Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, to reduce the resistance against him Giraud II Berlay.

The attachment of the Berlay to the crown of France leads King Philip Augustus in 1208 and King Louis VIII in 1224 to hold their court at the Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay.

In the thirteenth century, Montreuil-Bellay, surrounded by the immense forests of the Seigneurie, is a great center of vennery and falconry. The sumptuous festivals are multiplying.

In the fourteenth century begins the Hundred Years War. Hungry people take refuge in the moats of the Castle and in neighboring monasteries, while the Lord of Montreuil-Bellay, William de Melun-Tancarville dies gloriously in 1415 at the Battle of Azincourt. His grandson, Guillaume d'Harcourt, marries Yolande de Laval, sister-in-law of King René.

Henry II of Orleans, Duke of Longueville, inherits the Castle. Ambassador, he signed in 1648 the Treaty of Westphalia which puts an end to the Thirty Years War. His wife, Geneviève de Condé, instigator of the Fronde with her brother, the Grand Condé, is forced by Louis XIV to exile behind the walls of his castle of Montreuil-Bellay. She leads with her many admirers, including La Rochefoucault and Turenne, to be bored.

The Wars of Religions burst forth: Catholics and Protestants will come to supply each other with arms and ammunition at Montreuil-Bellay.

During the Revolution, Jean-Britain of La Trémoille, Lord of Montreuil-Bellay, remains faithful to King Louis XVI. His heavy Marshal's charge keeps him away from his castle, which will be requisitioned and transformed into a prison for monarchist women.

After the Revolution, the Château was bought by a wealthy merchant from Saumur, whose daughter married Baron Alexandre Adrien de Grandmaison, an officer in the custody of Charles X. They restored the castle to their nephew Georges Grandmaison, great-grandson of General Mouton, Count of Lobau, Marshal of France, aide-de-camp of the Emperor Napoleon 1st.

Georges de Grandmaison, mayor of Montreuil-Bellay for 16 years and parliamentarian of the district of Saumur for nearly half a century, opens the castle to the wounded of the War of 14-18. Nearly 1,200 soldiers will be treated in this unusual hospital.

The Castle still belongs to the same family, who strives to maintain it to share its glorious history and beauty.

Images of the castle

Castles in France

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Tanlay Castle


Useful infos

Latitude: 47.1330696
Longitude: -0.1542868
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Map of Montreuil-Bellay Castle