Château de Breteuil is built on a promontory overlooking the Chevreuse Valley. For most of its existence, the castle has been known as Bévilliers -from latin bis villae (two villas)- which implies that this property would date back to the gallo-roman period.
The first estate appears in History as early as 1066 with Guillaume Osbern, the first Breteuil, who was Seneschal to the Duke of Normandy. Guillaume Osbern took part in the conquest of England by William the Conqueror, who saw him as his most faithful companion. In the summer of 1067 the King returned to Normandy, leaving the Lord of Breteuil and his brother in charge of England in his absence.
At the time, a fortified castle was built in Bévilliers; its dovecote and moats still remain today. In 1596, Thibaut Desportes bought the estate still called Bévilliers. Bordered by medieval square moats, a new castle was laid out around an enclosed courtyard, A pleasure garden was carefully thought out, situated at the foot of the north facade, so that the sun never glares into the eyes of the person contemplating it.
The curtain walls were removed and moat dried in 1820-1830. The major restoration took place in the end of the 19th century: two wings were added and the gardens were extended.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.