Pays de la Loire Section

Chateau de Montreuil Bellay - Walled City

[wce_code id=1]

Chateau de Montreuil Bellay in Anjou

The Chateau de Montreuil Bellay is located in the south of Angers.

Atop a promontory that overlooks the river Thouet, it boasts splendid views of the terraced gardens that unfold on the river banks.

The medieval castle and its village spread over 4km² and were once entirely enclosed within a rampart. Montreuil is today the last of the 32 walled cities of Anjou.

The Chateau de Montreuil Bellay consists of two sets of buildings: the medieval fortress or Vieux Château (old castle) and the 15th century French Renaissance Nouveau Château (new).

Its massive ramparts, which have retained 13 round towers and 6 gates, encompass it fully.

Vieux Château, a medieval castle

Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou, built the first fortress in 1025 on the site of a Roman stronghold. He bequeathed it to one of his vassals, Giraud Berlay, whose name evolved into Bellay.

All that is left of this fortress are the Vieux Château, the barbican that leads to the courtyard and the foundations of the 17m long keep.

The Vieux Château (the current owners' private apartments) is not open to the public.

Eighteen towers, a drawbridge and a moat once protected the fortress. An underground passageway connected it also to the outside and therefore allowed the inhabitants to stock up on food in case of siege.

Guillaume de Melun-Tancarville, lord of Montreuil Bellay, died in 1415 at the battle of Azincourt. His grandson, Guillaume d'Harcourt, married Yolande de Laval, the sister in law of King René of Anjou.

A wealthy merchant from Saumur bought the castle after the French Revolution. His daughter married Baron Alexandre Adrien de Grandmaison, an officer of the guard of Charles X.

She and her husband restored the castle. They bequeathed it to their nephew Baron Georges Charles Alfred Marie Millin de Grandmaison. Commonly known as Georges de Grandmaison, he was also a descendant of Count Lobau, the aide-de-camp of Napoleon I.

Grandmaison, who was mayor of Montreuil-Bellay and deputy of the department of Maine-et-Loire, transformed his castle into a military hospital during WWI. His descendants still own the Chateau de Montreuil Bellay.

Chateau de Montreuil Bellay's interior decoration

The Nouveau Chateau boasts a wealth of exceptional pieces of furniture.

The Music Room exhibits a bureau designed by Boulle and adorned with tortoise-shell and copper inlays, a technique the renowned cabinetmaker invented.

The Main Lounge boasts fine tapestries, furniture, paintings, woodwork and the trunk of Queen Margot, the first wife of Henri IV and the beams of the Dining Room's ceiling are adorned with grotesques (sculpted masks).

The Chateau de Montreuil Bellay is also famous for its wine and cellars. Georges de Grandmaison indeed founded the Wine Brotherhood La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Sacavin in 1904. The purpose of the association is the protection and promotion of Anjou wines.

The sacavin was a 2 or 3-liter barrel labourers used to transport their daily ration of wine, while working in the vineyards.

Department of Maine-et-Loire
Coordinates: Lat 47.133165 - Long -0.154227

Your Comments
Apremont castle and park

November 30 2019

Apremont castle, Vendée’s first Renaissance Chateau

The castle of Apremont, today mainly in ruins, was built by a childhood friend of Francois I and was thus the first Renaissance castle of Vendée
Poitevin Marsh waterway

May 30 2018

Poitevin Marsh, the Green Venice

Poitevin Marsh, the second largest wetland in France, is known as Green Venice, a lush green marsh you discover by punts that gently glide on man-made waterways nestled under the tree canopies
Chateau de Commequiers

August 28 2017

Chateau de Commequiers, demolished by order of King Louis XIII

Chateau de Commequiers, the fortress of the Protestant lords of La Tremoille was demolished by king Louis XIII at the end of the Wars of Religion
Moulin de Raire

August 17 2017

Moulin de Rairé, a windmill in constant use since 1555

Moulin de Raire in Sallertaine, a windmill that has constantly turned and been exclusively powered by the force of the wind since its construction in 1555
Translate »
Scroll to Top