In the 17th Century, Henry II's wife, Geneviève de Condé was exiled here for her part in the Fronde. (Briefly, a period of French civil war that ended feudalism and created an absolutist monarchy in which no one could question the king's authority.) The château was used as a prison for women in the French Revolution and as a hospital for wounded soldiers in the first world war. Today it is still lived in by the Grandmaison family who have owned the property since the end of the French Revolution.
650 meters of fortified walls with 13 turrets and a barbicon entry remind of the Foulque Nerra fortress.
The 15th century château neuf (new chateau) is visited starting with the wine cellars where grapes were dropped down through a hole above and stomped by feet into the juice that would later become wine.
|grape stomping area|
We're not allowed to take photos in the remaining rooms of the château, but as you can expect by now, they are decorated lavishly with beautiful furnishings, painted ceilings, paintings, tapestries, and historically important chests.
The kitchen was once attached to the Château Neuf by a covered passageway that allowed bringing food from the kitchen directly to the family quarters.
|The kitchen is at the left, the canon's apartments are the round turrets, and the stairway of Honnor in the Château Neur is at the right. The lower courtyard is behind the well in the center. The Court of Honor is in front of the well.|
|A very modern stove with copper pans|
|The center chimney lets smoke escape from the kitchen. Like at Fontevraud.|
|One of the two major fireplaces for cooking|
The family chapel was large and was set up as a collegiale - a church in which a group of canons performed the daily divine rites and other spiritual responsibilities.
And then there's the view from the ramparts of the castle overlooking the Thouet River. Most delightful.
|view toward Thouet River (beyond trees)|
The old part of town opens past the castle. Today there's a brocante (flea market) along the main street and while the town isn't packed, there are plenty of people sitting in cafés or perusing the wares of the vendors.
|flea market near the castle|
Home again by 4 pm, in time to make a ratatouille for dinner. Tom and Terry arrived about an hour later than we thought, but we were still able to enjoy a lovely dinner outside into the late evening.