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 Château de Fougères is an impressive castle with curtain wall and 13 towers. It had three different enclosures, first for defensive purposes, second for day to day usages in peacetime and for safety of the surrounding populations in times of siege, the last enclosure was where the keep was situated.
The first wooden fort was built by the House of Amboise in the 11th century. It was destroyed in 1166 after it was besieged and taken by King Henry II of England. It was immediately rebuilt by Raoul II Baron de Fougères. Fougères was not involved in the Hundred Years' War until 1449 when the castle was taken by surprise by an English mercenary. In 1488 the French troops won the castle back after a siege and the castle lost its military role.
In the late 18th century the castle was turned into a prison. The owner in this period was the Baron Pommereul. In the 19th century the outer ward became an immense landscaped garden. A museum was established in the Mélusine Tower. During the Industrial Revolution, a shoe factory set up shop in the castle grounds.
The City of Fougères took ownership of the Château in 1892. It had been a listed Historical Monument since 1862. A major campaign was launched to clean up the castle walls. While the castle had retained many of its original features, some of the curtain walls needed to be cleared and certain sections required major repairs. The changes made in the 18th century were "reversed," and the castle was finally open to visitors. The first campaign of archaeological excavations, conducted in 1925, unearthed the ruins of the manor house.
Since then, the Château de Fougères has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors every year. The castle's excellent state of conservation, and the historical interest of its architecture, make Fougères an invaluable window onto the Middle Ages. From great lords to simple builders, generations of inhabitants have left their mark on these walls.