Every castle and every chateau in France has a history that entices and intrigues even today. And Chateau de Montreuil Bellay is no exception. Built during the 11th century, the citadel has witnessed some of the bloodiest wars, unprecedented restorations, some of the most notorious and popular kings residing on its premises and even princesses spending time during their exiles. Such is the history of this beautiful chateau, which today, is a tourist hotspot. Converted into a vineyard, it attracts thousands of tourists wishing to get a sneak peek into the rich history of the chateau while sipping on the lovely wine.
Chateau de Montreuil Bellay History
Foulque Nerra, the Count of Anjou is believed to have built the castle back in the 11th century. He was known as the Black Falcon and belonged to the closest circle of the King of France, Hugues Capet. As France locked horns with England and several battles ensued, this chateau continued to be one of the fortifications that played a pivotal role in France’s resistance and resurgence. When the Hundred Years’ War began in the 14th century, Chateau de Montreuil Bellay became a refuge for the starving population of the area. During the Religious Wars, the chateau became the artillery stock-up hotspot for the Catholics and Protestants. During the French Revolution, the castle became a prison for monarchist women.
Over the years, several kings made this chateau their home. Some of them include Louis IX in 1241, Charles VII in 1443, Louis Henri II of Orléans, Duke of Longueville, etc. However, it was after the revolution that the castle was bought by a wealthy merchant, whose descendants continue to be the owners even today.
Chateau de Montreuil Bellay Inside
The chateau, which gained a reputation as one of the most Impregnable citadels in France, continues to intrigue the visitors even today. Although it has been converted into a vineyard, it still has its original fortification features. The castle is protected by a 600-meter wall and 13 auxiliary towers. The inside of the castle is replete with beautiful antique furniture, combined with some modern adornments. However, it still has managed to retain its original essence with its 15th century central foyer kitchen, vaulted cellars, surrounding footpaths and gardens that add an element of grandeur to the castle.
With such amazing features, the chateau offers a lot to the visitors to soak in. Not only can the visitors stroll down the lanes of history during the visit but can also indulge in some wine tasting and purchasing. The wine here is known for its quality and meticulous preparation.
Chateau de Montreuil Bellay Interesting Facts
With a history this interesting, there are bound to be some interesting facts about the castle. These include:
- The Chateau de Montreuil Bellay opened its gates for more than 1,200 wounded soldiers during WWII. It was also a refuge for many during the Religious Wars in France
- Geneviève de Condé, Duchess of Longueville and cousin of Louis XIV is believed to be one of the most illustrious owners of the castle. However, she was forced into exile in the chateau by the Sun King. She was kept behind the walls of a gilded cage
Chateau de Montreuil Bellay Nearby Places to Stay
Chateau de Montreuil Bellay, located in one of the most picturesque towns in France, also offers some equally amazing nearby places to stay. Hotels like Splendid Hotel, Manoir du Bellay, Hotel Anne d’Anjou, Chateau La Marquise, etc. are worthy places to try. From modern hotels to castles turned into heritage hotels, there are options aplenty.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who owns Chateau de Montreuil Bellay?
In 1822, Chateau de Montreuil Bellay was acquired by a Samur businessman Adrien Niveleau. He divided the entire castle into parts for rental purposes. Later the castle was converted into a vineyard.
Who built Chateau de Montreuil Bellay?
Chateau de Montreuil Bellay was constructed in the 11th century on the foundations of a Roman oppidum by Foulques Nerra, Count of Anjou. It is now owned by the Niveleau family.
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