Château de Clisson

Clisson, France

Within then independent Brittany, Château de Clisson, situated at a crossroads for Anjou and Poitou, was one of the great fortified places on the frontiers of the Duchy of Brittany. The first Lords of Clisson occupied the site from the 11th century. They are mentioned for the first time in 1040. Clisson was then the seat of a powerful châtellenie covering 23 parishes.

Most of the present castle was built in the 13th century. Constructed by Guillaume de Clisson, on a rocky outcrop dominating the Sèvre Nantaise, its form at that time was an irregular polygon flanked by round towers and isolated from the rocky plateau by a shallow moat. In the 14th century, Olivier III de Clisson incorporated the gatehouse into a massive quadrilangular keep. The two semicircular towers of the gatehouse collapsed in the 17th century. The castle became the setting for the turbulent lives of Olivier IV de Clisson and Olivier V de Clisson, named Constable of France in succession to Du Guesclin in 1380.

In the 15th century, the fortifications were modernised to permit the use of artillery. In the second half of the century, the former entrance was modified and the curtain wall was extended and completed by a barbican. At the same time, the castle was enlarged to the west with a new rectangular enclosure nearly 100 m long, armed with towers with artillery casemates. After 1420, the castle became the property of the Duke of Brittany. It was one of the favourite residences of Duke Francis II who was remarried there, to Marguerite de Foix in 1474. He built a second rectangular enceinte flanked by artillery towers.

Around 1590, the troubled period of the French Wars of Religion necessitated the construction of three terraced bastions on the south. Thus, three lines of defence in depth protected the site. Until the 17th century, the castle was the residence of the Avaugour family, descendants of François Ier d'Avaugour, illegitimate son of François II. He modified and transformed the castle to suit the tastes and fashions of the day.

During the War in the Vendée (1793-1796), the town and its castle were burned by the Infernal columns of Jean-Baptiste Kléber. In 1807, the estate was bought by the sculptor François-Frédéric Lemot with the goal of conservation. During the 19th century, the ruined castle attracted Romantic painters and sculptors. In 1962, the castle was sold by the Lamot family to the Conseil général of the Loire-Atlantique, who carried out important restoration works with the assistance of the French Ministry of Culture.

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Details

Founded: 11th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sagie Harel (2 years ago)
Nice for a very short visit
Tomasz Kisiel (2 years ago)
Very nice place with interesting history.
Keef Hinton (2 years ago)
A great old piece of architecture, still being repaired, wonderful views over the river and down the valley. The original château fell into disrepair and was purchased by an artist who turned it into a feature of the gardens so it's basically lots of walls and very few rooms.
Paul Nicholson (2 years ago)
Only 3 Euros entry,nice ruin in centre of pleasant town
Callie Catchpole (2 years ago)
Super little French town with town square, pedestrian streets with delicious pattiserie etc. Wonderful old covered market place with huge ancient beams and seating. Helpful tourist info. Nice to visit a traditional French place. We didn't actually go inside the castle as it had an entrance fee and the children weren't in a patient mood :-)
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