Château de Brézé

Brézé, France

Château de Brézé is a small, dry-moated castle located in Brézé, near Saumur. The château was transformed during the 16th and the 19th centuries. The current structure is Renaissance in style yet retains medieval elements including a drawbridge and a 12th century troglodytic basement. Today, it is the residence of descendants of the ancient lords. The château is a listed ancient monument originally dating from 1060. A range of wines are produced at the château which has 30 hectares of vineyards.

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Le Château, Brézé, France
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Details

Founded: 1060
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ewa Radziwiłko (3 months ago)
Castle has impressive underground terrains to explore, dungeons, corridors, wine cellars, one of the biggest of this type in Europe.
M M (3 months ago)
I would have given this visit 5 stars if we had received a friendly welcome. The gentleman at the entrance today, 3rd September, didn’t make us feel as though we were welcome. He didn’t acknowledge us, but just sat and waited (I noticed when we finished our visit that the two young ladies at the entrance were politely welcoming visitors with a smile and hello. The gentleman should maybe take lessons from them). The visit itself was wonderful, the underground passages and troglodyte habitations fascinating. We spent a good two hours visiting.
Wayne Forster (5 months ago)
Interesting château with extensive underground tunnels, you can take your dog too but you must carry it through the interiors.
Bob Morris (6 months ago)
This was a nice chateau which has underground tunnels. Plenty of parking. We didn't go inside. It was a too hot a day for us to walk around. So, you can enjoy it for us!
Jean-Paul Audouy (14 months ago)
Not what I thought the visit of a chateau would be but extremely interesting as it is very well documented everywhere you explore. Beware, going up and down the tunnels can be exhausting so you need to be in a reasonable good shape before attempting the visit. The building itself doesn’t take much time but some of the painted panels on the walls and the ceilings are worth seeing. The moats are incredibly deep.
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The Church of St Eustace was built between 1532-1632. St Eustace"s is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here in the 17th century. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.

The origins of Saint Eustache date back to 13th century. The church became a parish church in 1223, thanks to a man named Jean Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby, as granted by King Philip Augustus. To thank such divine generosity, Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name of the church refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general of the second century AD who was burned, along with his family, for converting to Christianity, and it is believed that it was the transfer of a relic of Saint Eustache from the Abbey to Saint-Denis to the Church of Saint Eustache which resulted in its naming. Jeanne Baptiste d"Albert de Luynes was baptised here.

According to tourist literature on-site, during the French Revolution the church, like most churches in Paris, was desecrated, looted, and used for a time as a barn. The church was restored after the Revolution had run its course and remains in use today. Several impressive paintings by Rubens remain in the church today. Each summer, organ concerts commemorate the premieres of Berlioz’s Te Deum and Liszt’s Christus here in 1886.

The church is an example of a Gothic structure clothed in Renaissance detail. The church is relatively short in length at 105m, but its interior is 33.45m high to the vaulting. At the main façade, the left tower has been completed in Renaissance style, while the right tower remains a stump. The front and rear aspects provide a remarkable contrast between the comparatively sober classical front and the exuberant rear, which integrates Gothic forms and organization with Classical details. The L"écoute sculpture by Henri de Miller appears outside the church, to the south. A Keith Haring sculpture stands in a chapel of the church.

The Chapel of the Virgin was built in 1640 and restored from 1801 to 1804. It was inaugurated by Pius VII on the 22nd of December, 1804 when he came to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon. The apse chapel, with a ribbed cul-de-four vault, has at its centre a sculpture of the Virgin and Child of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle that the painter Thomas Couture highlighted by three large paintings.

With 8,000 pipes, the organ is reputed to be the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organs of Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ originally constructed by P.-A. Ducroquet was powerful enough for the premiere of Hector Berlioz" titanic Te Deum to be performed at St-Eustache in 1855.