Château de Montreuil-Bellay

Montreuil-Bellay, France

The Château de Montreuil-Bellay is a historical castle first built on the site of a Gallo-Roman village high on a hill on the banks of the Thouet River. It is listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.

During the medieval period the property, consisting of more than 1,000 acres (4.0 km2), was part of a group of 32 villages near-by that created the then known as "L'Anjou". The Mountreil-Bellay fief, first belonged to Gelduin le Danois afterward by regal hereditary passed to Berlay le Vieux who became the first Sir of Bellay, in 1025 the castle was seized by Foulque Nerra a Plantagenet making Giraud Berlay his vassal during the second half of the 12th century. After the defeat of the English by Philip II, the fief returned to a descendant of the Berlay le Vieux family Sir of Bellay, Guillaume de Melun, during this period the fief went under a big renovation by the creation of high massive walls construction including 13 interlocking towers, with entry only via a fortified gateway and the name was anglicized from Barley to Balley.

During the French Wars of Religion (1562–1598) the town of Montreuil-Bellay was ransacked and burned but the sturdy fortress suffered little damage. Ownership of the castle changed several times including, through marriage, to the Cossé-Brissac family. During the French Revolution the castle was seized by the revolutionary government and used as a prison for women suspected of being royalists.

In 1822 the property was acquired by Saumur businessman Adrien Niveleau, who divided the huge property into rental units. In 1860 Niveleau's daughter undertook occupancy and a major restoration campaign, redoing some of the rooms in the Troubadour style. Descendants of her husband’s nephew are the current owners of the property.

Nowadays, Château de Montreuil-Bellay is also the name of a premium wine made on the property.

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Details

Founded: 11th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Richard Urquhart (2 years ago)
Great guided tour in English (as well as French). Nice wine tasting to wrap it all up. Worth a visit if you are in the area
Monica Brown (2 years ago)
Beautiful chateau and interesting story. Shame the tour was only in French.
philip law (2 years ago)
Beautiful place very peaceful by the river
Helen Elliot (2 years ago)
I really enjoyed our visit to this Chateau. The tour is in French, but for those who don't speak French there is a booklet provided in English. Our tour guide was great - she spoke French clearly and explained everything really well. A beautiful building ..... and you get to taste and buy some wines at the end of you wish
William Stephens (2 years ago)
This is a very charming Chateaux in the centre of Montreuil Bellay. You can visit the out gate area without paying and if you want a guided tour go through the imposing second gate. Château de Montreuil-Bellay is also the name of a premium wine made on the property. "Make the most of your visit. Take the time to taste some of our wines in the gift-shop. These wines are the product of our château vines. They are cultivated and matured, with passion and dedication, in our fifteenth century cellars and sold under the name Château Montreuil-Bellay." Quote from their website.
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