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

Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Palacio Real de Aranjuez is a former Spanish royal residence. It was established around the time Philip II of Spain moved the capital from Toledo to Madrid. Aranjuez became one of four seasonal seats of government, occupied during the springtime (from about holy week). Thereafter, the court moved successively to Rascafría, El Escorial and wintered in Madrid. Aranjuez Cultural Landscape is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After the Christian conquest, Aranjuez was owned by the Order of Santiago and a palace was built for its Grand Masters where the Royal Palace stands today. When the Catholic Monarchs assumed the office of Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, Aranjuez became part of the Royal estate. This fertile land, located between the Tajo and Jarama Rivers, was converted into the Spanish monarchy"s most lavish country retreat: during Spain"s Golden Age, Aranjuez became a symbol for the perfection of nature by mortal hands, as El Escorial was for art.

Such excellence was based on strong Renaissance foundations, as Charles V envisaged this inherited estate as a large Italian-inspired villa, a desire continued by Philip II who appointed Juan Bautista de Toledo to design leafy avenues that ran through the gardens and farming land. A series of dams was constructed in the 16th century to control the course of the Tajo River and create a network of irrigation canals.

The splendour of the estate was only enhanced by the Bourbon monarchs, who would spend the whole spring, from Easter to July, at the Palace. Phillip V added new gardens and Ferdinand VI designed a new system of tree-lined streets and created a small village within the estate, which was further developed by Charles III and Charles IV. As Ferdinand VII and Isabella II continued to visit Aranjuez during the spring, the splendour of this site was maintained until 1870.

The Royal Palace, built by Phillip II on the site of the old palace of the Grand Masters of Santiago, was designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo –under whom construction began in 1564– and later Juan Herrera, who only managed to finish half the project. Although glimpses of the original layout still remain, the building itself is more characteristic of the classicism favoured by the Hapsburg monarchs, with alternating white stone and brick. The original design was continued by Phillip V in 1715 but not finished until 1752 under Ferdinand VI. The rectangular layout that Juan Bautista de Toledo had planned, and that took two centuries to complete, was only maintained for 20 years, since in 1775 Charles III added two wings onto the Palace.

Real Casa del Labrador

As the Prince of Asturias, Charles IV was a frequent visitor to the pier pavilions built by Ferdinand VI and grew up playing in the Prince’s Garden. When he became King, he decided to build a new country house at the far end of these gardens, known as the Casa del Labrador (the labourer"s house) due to its modest exterior that was designed to heavily contrast the magnificent internal decor. It was built by chief architect Juan de Villanueva and his pupil Isidro González Velázquez, who designed some of the interior spaces. These rooms, developed in various stages until 1808, are the greatest example of the lavish interior decor favoured by this monarch in his palaces and country retreats. Highlights at this Site include the combination of different types of art and the luxurious textiles, in particular the silks from Lyon, as well as wealth of original works on the main floor, where Ferdinand VII added various paintings and landscapes by Brambilla.

King"s Garden, the Island Garden, Parterre Garden and the Prince"s Garden

Phillip II, a great lover of gardens, paid special attention to this feature of the Aranjuez Palace: during his reign, he maintained both the Island Garden, designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, and the King"s Garden, immediately adjacent to the Palace and whose current layout was designed by Philip IV. The majority of the fountains on this island were commissioned by Phillip IV, while the Bourbons added other features such as the Charles III benches.

Phillip V made two French-style additions to the existing gardens: the Parterre Garden in front of the palace and the extension at the far end of the Island Garden, known as the Little Island, where he installed the Tritons Fountain that was later moved to the Campo del Moro park by Isabella II.

The Prince"s Garden owes its name and creation to the son and heir of Charles III who, in the 1770s, began to use Ferdinand VI"s old pier for his own enjoyment. He also created a landscaped garden in the Anglo-French style that was in fashion at the time and which was directly influenced by Marie Antoinette"s gardens at the Petit Trianon. Both Juan de Villanueva and Pablo Boutelou collaborated in the design of this garden.