Château de Gizeux

Gizeux, France

The Château de Gizeux is originally dating from the Middle Ages, but much altered over the centuries. Archives indicate the existence of a wooden fortress built in the 11th century in the actual place of the castle. The most remote constructions that we can find nowadays are the entry tower, the right wing and the enclosure. The château belonged to the family of the poet Joachim du Bellay from 1315 to 1660. Later it became the property of several marquises of Gizeux from the family of Contades.

In 1789, during the French Revolution, Prince Louis Gabriel de Contades (1759-1825), opposing the revolutionaries, had to flee from French soil and find refuge in Saint-Domingue. He returned to Gizeux in 1801.

Gizeux represents the mixed medieval and Renaissance style. The château has two large galleries of paintings: the Galerie François Ier (François I) decorated with Italian paintings from the start of the 17th century, and the Grande Galerie des Châteaux decorated with late 17th century paintings.

The park was established in 1829. Nearby a church houses the Du Bellays' splendid tombs. The extremely rare 17th century orants were made of white marble by Ghislain (known as Cambrai), director of the Académie royale de peinture et sculpture in Paris. The Château de Gizeux has been listed since 1945 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.

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Address

Le Château 172, Gizeux, France
See all sites in Gizeux

Details

Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Philip Topp (4 months ago)
Lovely castle in grounds. Reasonably priced for an 1-2 hrs visit. Parking for bike inside the grounds as well
Julian Roberts (2 years ago)
An excellent chateau to look around. Not as grand or as big as others, but it's honest and real, still lived in by the same family for years, being restored as they go along.
zoute dropjes (2 years ago)
We visited gizeux during the night. In July and August the owners and their interns organize candlight tours at night on Tuesdays. We did one of the tours and were amazed by the beauty and imagination to the old days the tour guide in classical costumes displayed. Even our children where impressed. An event not to mis when in The area on tuesdays.
Fraser Geraghty (2 years ago)
Fantastic, great artistry and well worth booking a tour where you can better understand the changed made to this chateau
Pascal Guignard (3 years ago)
Great building and a very welcoming family who owns the place..you can stay overnight and have dinner onsite..this is truly a very nice and unique experience
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Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".