The Château de Rustéphan is a small, ruined 15th-16th century manor-house erected by Jean Du Faou, chamberlain of France and grand seneschal of Brittany, who built the domaine in 1420. According to tradition, the original manor was built by the son of a Duke of Brittany, named Étienne, Count of Penthièvre and seigneur of Nizon, who died in 1137.The current structure was built by Jean du Faou. According to some historians, it was a former hunting lodge of the Dukes of Brittany, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Its position, at the entrance of large woods that covers the entire parish of Nizon, and which abounds in game, can make this opinion very plausible. During the French Revolution, more than half of the manor-house was burned and destroyed.
Of the ancient manor-house nothing remains but two sections about twenty metres in height, surrounded by ivy, brambles and weeds. The section on the left, the gable wall, contains a corner turret on corbelling, immense hooded fireplaces as well as the remains of some stone cross-pieced windows. The section on the right contains the staircase tower, as well as some remains of internal walls, the entrance vestibule, etc. The main entry door is topped by a Gothic arch. The former wall of the front façade has fallen away and the stones carried off in the last century.It is believed that the manor-house once consisted of a rectangular corps de logis and had turrets at each of the corners, as well as the large central staircase tower.
Nearly all the residents of Nizon believe that the ghosts of former village residents Géneviève de Rustéphan and Iannick ar Flécher still haunt the château today. This true 16th century story is a tragic tale of a commoner (Iannick) who fell in love with the daughter (Géneviève) of the local seigneur of Faou. Their two families did not approve of the relationship, and Iannick was forced to become a priest and leave town. The young woman died broken-hearted and her spirit is said to haunt the ruins to this day. It has been reported that the apparition of an old, sad priest (Iannick) has also been seen lurking around the ruins. Village inhabitants used to gather in the grassy space in front the ruins of the château to dance and celebrate various holidays, however after numerous reported sightings of unexplained figures seen watching them from within the ruins, they learned to stay away from the place on moonlit nights when the spirits were said to appear.
The local people of Nizon are trying to save the remains of the château from further vandalism and effects of the weather. There is an effort underway to reinforce the walls and tower and try to keep the structure from falling down.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.