Chateaux of Brittany

Château de Montmuran

Château de Montmuran was built to the current appearance in the 14th century. It is a well-preserved castle with its two drawbridges which still work today. Steeped in history, Bertrand du Guesclin came to Château de Montmuran in 1354. He was dubbed knight in the chapel and it was here that he married Jeanne de Laval-Chatillon in 1374 after the death of his first wife Tiphaine Raguenel.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Les Iffs, France

Château de Bonnefontaine

Château de Bonnefontaine was built at the end of the 15th century and modified over time. Today the fortress is inhabited but its owners let down their guard for visitors longing to explore the 25 ha of landscaped grounds and gardens. Designed and created by well-known landscape gardeners Denis Bülher and Édouard André, the grounds are a typical example of late 19th century English gardens. Stroll ...
Founded: 1488 | Location: Antrain, France

Château de Bienassis

Château de Bienassis was built in the 15h and 17th centuries to the site of 13th century wooden house. The castle, first built in 1434, was partially destroyed in the Wars of Religion in 1590 and it was rebuilt by Gilles Visdelou from 1620.
Founded: 1434 | Location: Erquy, France

Château de Largoët

The Château de Largoët, also known as the Tours d'Elven (Elven Towers), is mentioned for the first time in 1020, belonging to the baron of Elven, Derrien I. The present building was constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries. The manor became the property of the Malestroit family in the 13th century. The houses of Blois and Montfort fought for it during the Breton War of Succession, before it came to the Rieux fami ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Elven, France

Manoir de Kerazan

Manoir de Kerazan was built in the 16th and 18th centuries. All the rooms are exactly like they were in the 19th century: kitchen, bedrooms, reception room, billiard room, drawing room, library etc. This manor was Joseph Astor"s house when he was mayor of Quimper. It was bequeathed in 1928 to the Institut de France by its last owner, Joseph-Georges Astor. Visiting Kerazan, you will discover the art of living in Britt ...
Founded: 1766 | Location: Loctudy, France

Château de Coat-an-Noz

Château de Coat-an-Noz was built between 1880-1884 by Countess Sesmaisons. Since her it has been owned by several families and is still in private use (but not restored).
Founded: 1880-1884 | Location: Belle-Isle-en-Terre, France

Château de la Hunaudaye

The Château de la Hunaudaye was built by Olivier Tournemine around 1220. In that time, this castle protected the eastern border of the Penthièvre (Lamballe’s area), which was involved in a feud with the Poudouvre (Dinan’s area). The castle was destroyed in 1341, during the war of Brittany Succession, a civil war that ravaged the Brittany dukedom during two decades. At the end of the 14th century, ...
Founded: c. 1220 | Location: Plédéliac, France

Château de Joyeuse Garde

Château de Joyeuse Garde is the site of a castle associated with Arthurian legend. Its ruins in the town of La Forest-Landerneau in Brittany date to the sixth century AD, but the latest castle was built in the 12th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: La Forest-Landerneau, France

Château de l'Oiselinière

The Oiselinière estate was, before the French Revolution a 'Seigniory'. It is mentioned as early as 1335 in the charter 'Les Actes'. It spreads over the districts of Gorges and Clisson, and under the feudal system depended on the Seigneurs of Clisson and Pallet. For 643 years, this Seigniory only changed families four times: Maurice le Meigen was the owner, then in 1460 one of this descendants t ...
Founded: 1335 | Location: Gorges, France

Château de Caradeuc

The Chateau de Caradeuc was built in 1722 by Anne-Raoul Caradeuc de la Chalotais. It is most famous by its gardens, built in the 19th century on the woodland hills of Bécherel in the formal French style. Gardens were designed in 1898 by Edouard André. Decorated with many statues the gardens offer a spectacular panorama over the high valley of the Rance. They are open on weekends and bank holidays in May, June and Septem ...
Founded: 1722 | Location: Ille-et-Vilaine, France

Château de Trémazan

Château de Trémazan was constructed on a rocky outcrop and had a square keep which, following a partial collapse during the winter of 1995, exposed the interior to reveal a habitable tower of four floors, each with one chamber. The history of Trémazan is intimately linked to that of the du Chastel (or Châtel) family. It was they who built it and made it their principal residence for several centuries. The origins of ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Landunvez, France

Manoir de Vaumadeuc

Manoir de Vaumadeuc has got its name from the Gué-Madeuc lords who possessed the property in the 13th century. According to the genealogy of Budes Guebriant by Ploughman, the first lord of Vaumadeuc would Madeuc Francis (second son of Roland VIII and great grand son of Roland V). He married Madeleine de la Croix, who brought a dowry of land in Pleven Parville where the mansion was rebuilt in the 15th century. Today ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Pléven, France

Château du Bois Orcan

Château du Bois Orcan dates from the 15th century. It has been returned to its original splendour following a full restoration. The rooms house an important collection of furniture and medieval objects that bear witness to the way of life in the era of Charles VIII and Anne of Bretagne. Close to the castle moat is the Jardin de la Fontaine de Vie: this is a garden of medieval proportions created by Alain Richert. Th ...
Founded: 1490 | Location: Noyal-sur-Vilaine, France

Château du Taureau

The town of Morlaix, on the north coast of Brittany, was once an important trading centre in the late Middle Ages. This made its surrounding lands a tempting target for hostile neighbours like the English. In 1522 the English attacked and pillaged the town in revenge for an attack on Bristol by pirates from Morlaix. After this attack the local authorities decided that the town needed to be protected against attacks from t ...
Founded: 1542-1745 | Location: Plouezoc'h, France

Château de Montmarin

Château de Montmarin was built in 1760 by Aaron Magon, Squire of the Château du Bosq. It is the only 'Malouiniè' (the typical 18th century summer résidence of rich ship-owners and merchants from Saint-Malo) to be located on th left bank of the Rance, with a magnificent panoramic view across the estuary. An Imposing classic gateway opens on to the Court of Honor ornemented by a splendid ...
Founded: 1760 | Location: Pleurtuit, France

Château du Plessis Josso

The Château du Plessis-Josso is a fortified 14th century manor house. It is open for tours during the summer, and offers its main hall for hosting events and marriages as well as a small country cottage outside the enclosing walls. Well-preserved and partially inhabited, the manor-house stands next to a large pond. This feudal Breton ensemble still has its fortified enceinte with towers and crenellated walls that p ...
Founded: c. 1330 | Location: Theix, France

Château de Kérouzéré

The Château de Kérouzéré is a Breton manor castle built in granite in the first half of the 15th century for Jean and Yves de Kérouzéré, seneschal of Morlaix, and followers of the dukes of Brittany. Visible from the sea, Kérouzéré was dangerously exposed and was particularly vulnerable to English attacks. As such the duke permitted him to erect a single ...
Founded: 1425-1458 | Location: Sibiril, France

Château de Kergos

Château de Kergos has been owned by Kernafflen and Kergos families since 1684. It was built in the 16th century and several parts have survived without alterations. The park with a pond and arboretum was built in the 18th century.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Clohars-Fouesnant, France

Château de Rosanbo

The Château de Rosanbo, overlooks the Bô river valley. The origin of its name stems from this fact, as in Breton it means 'rock on the Bô'. The château, which was in the past the stronghold of the Coskaër de Rosanbo family, then later of the Le Peletier de Rosanbo family, is square in shape and has been developed and re-fashioned throughout its history. In the 14th century, a fortifi ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Lanvellec, France

Château de Keroual

Château de Keroual is a partially ruined, Renaissance-style manor castle, built in the 16th century. It was burned down during the German occupation in 1944.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Guilers, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.