The Château de Blain was originally constructed by order of Alan IV, Duke of Brittany, around 1108. The fortress passed by marriage to the Clisson family in 1225. Following Olivier I de Clisson's revolt against the Duke, the castle was razed in 1260.
Olivier I's son, Olivier II obtained permission from the Duke to rebuild the castle. The Clissons progressively enlarged the castle during the 14th century. In 1407, the castle became the property of the House of Rohan. Louis, duc de Rohan is buried here. During the French Wars of Religion, the castle was besieged and set on fire in 1591 during the fighting between the Duke of Mercœur and Jean de Montauban, the knight De Goust. It was restored by Catherine de Parthenay, who installed herself there with her children. In 1628, Henri II de Rohan having become the leader of the Protestant princes, Cardinal Richelieu ordered the dismantling of the castle which thus lost its military role.
The castle suffered further serious damage during the French Revolution. It was pillaged and burnt, along with the Rohan family archives. It served as a barracks and later as a prison. It passed through the hands of several proprietors, including Marie Bonaparte in 1918. These owners remodelled the north wing (known as the Logis du Roy) and the Mill Tower (la tour du moulin).
The South West Tower and the Drawbridge Tower with the buildings on either side form the entrance to the castle. Along with the Constable's Tower (tour du Connétable), the two towers in the south east and the monumental entrance on the south facade of the logis du Roi, they date from before the 17th century. Together with the remains of the towers and the fortifications linking them, these have been classified as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. The north wing of the logis du Roi was remodelled in the 19th century. The castle is home to a fresco centre and an ancient printshop. It has been listed since 1977 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.