Château du Bois Orcan

Noyal-sur-Vilaine, France

Château du Bois Orcan dates from the 15th century. It has been returned to its original splendour following a full restoration. The rooms house an important collection of furniture and medieval objects that bear witness to the way of life in the era of Charles VIII and Anne of Bretagne. Close to the castle moat is the Jardin de la Fontaine de Vie: this is a garden of medieval proportions created by Alain Richert. The place’s unusually beauty is manifested in its three-part composition – the Cour d’amour (Court of Love), the Fontaine de Vie (Fountain of Life) and the Jardin de curiosités (Garden of Curiosities) – all of them places of olfactory and visual delight. The Bois Orcan also presents the Athanor, a mecca for the work of the internationally renowned French sculptor Etienne Martin (1913-1995).



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Founded: 1490
Category: Castles and fortifications in France


4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Gilles Audoubert (4 months ago)
Magnificent place. Interrupted visits, cause covid.
Yvon Ravard (3 years ago)
Le manoir ou château du Boisorcan ou Bois-Orcan ou Boisorcant (XV-XVIIème siècle), restauré vers 1490 par Julien Thierry, maître des monnaies en Bretagne. Il avait autrefois des douves, un pont-levis, une chapelle et un colombier. Il est pillé par les Ligueurs en 1589. La seigneurie du Bois-Orcan possédait un droit de haute justice. Propriété successive des familles Orcan ou Orcant (en 1382), Pé (en 1398 et 1460), Thierry (en 1475), Angennes, barons de Poigny (en 1566), Morais, comtes de Brézolles (vers 1660), Angennes (en 1690), Boutier, seigneurs de Château-d’Assy (en 1709), Marguerie (en 1728), le Prestre, seigneurs de Châteaugiron (en 1748 et 1789) ; Edifié aux XIVe et XVe s, le château du Bois Orcan, classé Monument Historique, est un joyau de l'architecture de l'âge d'or de la Bretagne. Ayant retrouvé son identité après sa complète restauration, il témoigne de la culture et du raffinement de Julien Thierry, argentier d'Anne de Bretagne. Ce logis accueille aujourd'hui une collection rare de mobilier médiéval, présentant des pièces parmi les plus anciennes conservées en Europe. Afin de restituer l'environnement paysager du château du Bois Orcan à la fin du XVe s., Alain Richert a créé le Jardin de la Fontaine de Vie, qui répond à l'art de vivre à l'époque des Valois et renvoie à la fois à l'Hortus Conclusus et au jardin d'amour. Le domaine du Bois Orcan présente d'autre part L'Athanor, Musée et Parc de sculpture d'Etienne-Martin (1913-1995), figure majeure de l'art du XXe s. Le BOIS ORCAN a obtenu deux Labels "Jardin remarquable", l’un pour le jardin et l’autre pour le parc, le site intègre également la route européenne des jardins. Les visites sont possibles pour les groupes et les scolaires toute l'année sur réservation. Le site est exceptionnellement ouvert lors des journées européennes du patrimoine
Sylvie Garnier (3 years ago)
Guide passionnée , magnifique château à la restauration remarquable. Superbe jardin
lesellier morgane (3 years ago)
Guide peu sympathique voire désagréable. Un château très joli mais où le business passe avant la culture.
Alain Kervarec (3 years ago)
Le château est joli . Le parc est grand est beau. Des sculptures accompagnent la ballade du parc. Par contre il y a seulement 3 pièces visitables aux rez de chaussé ainsi au une dépendance avec une exposition de sculptures . Les guides étaient très sympas.
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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".