Château de Candé

Monts, France

The first known Lord and owner of Château de Candé was Macé de Larçay, in 1313. François Briçonnet, the mayor of Tours and state treasurer, purchased the fief in 1499 and built a Renaissance house on the site of the old fortress. He died before the building was finished, and it was completed by his daughter, Jeanne, in 1508.

Several owners succeeded to the estate, but none brought major transformations to the castle. In 1853, Santiago Drake del Castillo, heir of a wealthy plantation owner, acquired the castle. At this time the northern wing was added, in the neo-gothic style; this tripled the living space.

In 1927, Charles Bedaux, a Franco-American industrial millionaire, and his wife Fern, repurchased the castle with Jean Drake del Castillo, the grandson of Santiago. They carried out substantial work to modernise the castle, such as adding a plumbing system, improving the electrical system and installing central heating in all parts of the building, with 60 tons of pipes installed in the walls. The eight bedrooms are each equipped with a bathroom in the art déco style; all have baths equipped with an American system, making it possible to fill and empty a bathtub in less than one minute. Indoor toilets were also added. Bedaux installed a telephone, which at the time was unique in a French residence; it was directly connected to the exchange in Tours, and therefore required an operator to be present in the castle. A golf course with 18 holes, a tennis court, a gymnasium and a solarium were also built at this time. 

In 1937, the marriage of the Duke of Windsor (formerly King Edward VIII), and Wallis Warfield Simpson took place here. Cecil Beaton took their wedding photos here as well. On the death of Fern Bedaux in 1972, the castle was bequeathed to the State, which reassigned it to the council of Indre-et-Loire in 1974.

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Details

Founded: 1499-1508
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Marcus whibley (8 months ago)
Nice gardens to walk around
Gites de La Richardière (9 months ago)
What a completely charming place. Beautiful house with huge connections to British Royalty and lovely walks where visitors can see some very interesting sculptures. We're going back!
Mark Playle (11 months ago)
One of the best places we have visited. Well run with knowledgeable staff.
Linh Nhật (13 months ago)
Please tell me how much is the ticket? I want to go there
Thomas Roux (4 years ago)
The castle itself is nice but not fantastic, a bit modern. You'll love it if you like organs, as you can see all the inside of the one there (impressive) or if you like autographs (check the wall of the library). The most important is the park and the garden, very nice on the top of the hill. And then the domain offers a huge area where international musical events are held every summer. worth it for a nice walk, some people use it for running.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.