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One of the remarkable things about visiting the Château de Brissac in the Loire Valley is that this château has been in the same family for more than 520 years. Still to this day, the Château de Brissac is privately owned by a member of the Cossé-Brissac family, one of the oldest families in France.
The sheer height of this French château is another splendid discovery. At seven stories high, one’s eyes soar skyward examining the towers and windows. Which floor do you imagine your rooms being on?!
Where Is The Château de Brissac?
The Château de Brissac is found at 1, rue Jeanne Say in the village of Brissac-Quincé. Brissac-Quincé is in the department of Maine-et-Loire in the Pays de la Loire (Loire Valley) region of France. The Château de Brissac is 9 miles (15 km) from the city of Angers and 22 miles (35 km) from Saumur.
Planning an itinerary through the Loire Valley? The Château de Brissac is the perfect addition.
From the Brissac Castle
- to Azay-le-Rideau is 65 miles (104 km), about 1 hour and 15 min by car
- to Chenonceaux and Amboise is 91 miles (147 km), about 1 hour and 40 minutes
- to Chaumont-sur-Loire is 105 miles (170 km), about 2 hours by car
- to Chambord is 124 miles (200 km), about 2 hours and 20 minutes
The Château de Brissac History
The Château de Brissac was first built as a chateau-fort in the 11th century by Foulques Nerra Count of Anjou.
In 1435 Pierre de Brézé, a rich minister of Charles VII, acquired this French château. Upon his death in 1465, his son Jacques inherited the Château de Brissac and lived here with his wife Charlotte de Valois.
Clearly, the Château de Brissac already had a long history before being purchased in 1502 by René de Cossé. René de Cossé took on the name Cossé-Brissac.
During the Wars of the Religion in France (1562 to 1598), a civil war between the Catholics and the Protestants, Henri IV attacked the Château de Brissac and left it in ruins.
When Charles II de Cossé (the grandson of René de Cossé) inherited the castle during this period he was faced with rebuilding the Brissac Castle.
In 1601 work began on Château de Brissac. Old parts were destroyed. New sections were added. Charles II de Cossé had quite a vision for the Château de Brissac which included removing the medieval towers. He died before his vision could be realized. His son who inherited the castle stopped the major renovations and today the Château de Brissac is how it looked in 1621!
The Brissac Castle stayed in the Brissac family until the French Revolution (1789 to 1799) when the property was plundered and ransacked. The château, in a terrible state and empty, was returned to the Brissac family after the revolution. In 1844, the restoration of the Château de Brissac began.
- during WWII, the Comte de Brissac proposed the château as a place to hide works of art. In 1939-1940, many works of art from various museums such as the Nissim de Camondo, Gustave Moreau, and Arts Décoratifs were brought to the Château de Brissac for safekeeping.
Visiting The Château de Brissac
Upon sight, the Château de Brissac is immediately impressive. Its seven stories make it the tallest château in France. Its two towers from the original medieval building frame the beautiful façade. The entry facade has lovely statues perched in niches overlooking the arrivals at the château door.
Brissac Castle has 18 chimneys and more than 200 rooms. A visit includes some splendid historical rooms along with the chapel, a games room, and a theatre. Each room is full of authentic furnishings including grand portraits, antique tapestries, enormous glass chandeliers, and period furniture.
Note the details and floral patterns on the painted beams. Imagine a ball in the grand hall lined with tapestries and 104 feet (32 metres) long.
And, dream of dining in the magnificent dining room whose walls are lined with deer antlers and the orchestra balcony holds a piano. Don’t miss the elegantly scripted menus from 1937 and 1938. Consommé, filets of sole, lamb, chicken, salad, fondant au chocolat, cheese, and fruit… Sounds like a veritable French feast!
The Opera House Or Theatre
Sit on one of the velvet seats in the theatre, which holds up to 100 people, and just imagine a music festival here in the early 1900s.
It was Jeanne Say (the Marquise de Brissac) who inherited the Château de Brissac upon the death of her husband in 1871 that decided to build her own opera house. Opened in 1890, the Marquise often invited musicians from Paris and held an annual music festival until the beginning of WWI.
The theatre fell into ruin and was not in use for more than 65 years. Eventually, it was renovated and returned to its original splendour, opening in 1983. Today it is used for various cultural and musical events.
The Château de Brissac Wine And Tea Salon
The Five Centuries Vineyard was planted in 2002 to celebrate the 500 years of the Cossé-Brissac family at the Château. A Rosé d’Anjou, the wine is offered to visitors during wine-tasting sessions in the cellars of the Chateau.
From April to October, the tea salon “The Pavillon des Cèdres” is open to have a refreshment, take a break and look out over the grounds. Lunch is also available in high season (July adn August).
Is The Château de Brissac Haunted?
Who is this Château de Brissac green lady? Apparently, the Green Lady (La Dame Verte) dressed in a green gown has been haunting the halls of this French château since the 15th century. As the story goes, Jacques de Brézé who had inherited the castle was married to Charlotte of France. Charlotte of France was the daughter of the French king, Charles VII and Agnès Sorel, the first officially recognized royal mistress.
Charlotte was in the midst of an affair with one of the huntsmen when they were discovered by her husband, Jacques de Brézé. Oh, oh.
He immediately killed them both with his sword is one version of the story. Another tale recounts that Jacques de Brézé killed his wife Charlotte while she was in the chapel that night.
Needless to say, it was not a happy ending.
Since then, the ghost of Charlotte de Brézé often appears in the tower where the chapel is located. There is moaning heard in the early morning that is attributed to her. Apparently, she is quite terrifying to encounter.
Historical Note: In 1448, the Château de Lavardin, Loir-et-Cher had the grand privilege of receiving the French king, Charles VII and Agnès Sorel, the first officially recognized royal mistress. I wonder if Charlotte had been born yet?
Read More | The charming town of Lavardin and its imposing château in ruins
Stay In The Château de Brissac
Have you ever imagined staying at a château for the night? Especially one that is haunted! Enhance your trip to the Loire Valley by staying in one of the magnificent historic rooms at the Château de Brissac. Lined with portraits, tapestries, and ancient treasures and with views that don over the remarkable grounds and ponds, this is bound to be an unforgettable experience.
When: From April 15 to October 15, 2023
Rates: from 450€/ night including breakfast
Events At The Château de Brissac
The Brissac Castle organizes events throughout the year.
Here are the events for 2023:
- April 9: There are 50000 eggs hidden for the annual Easter egg hunt
- April 14 to 17: A floral competition set in the rooms and grand halls of the Château de Brissac
- May 27 to 28: The Great Venetian Party with everyone in delightful costumes and masks
- August 17 to 19: Twenty Hot Air Balloons are available for a gorgeous ride over the vineyards of Anjou
- September 16 to 17: During Heritage Days, the mausoleum where all the Dukes of Brissac are buried is open to the public.
The Château de Brissac: Practicalities
July and August: Daily 10 am to 6 pm
September: Closed Tuesdays. 10 am to 1 pm; 2 pm to 6 pm
October 1 to November 12: Closed Tuesdays. 10:30 am to 1 pm; 2 pm to 5:30 pm
November 13 to March 17: Closed Tuesdays. Entry by guided tour only at 2 pm and 4 pm
March 18 to June 30: Closed Tuesdays. 10 am to 1 pm; 2 pm to 6 pm
2023 Entry Rates
It is not necessary to reserve in advance.
An adult entry ticket is 11€ and includes a visit to the château, an introduction to local wines, and access to the grounds.
I hope you enjoy discovering the Château de Brissac as much as I did!
Until next time,
More Travel Info…
Resources For Travelling France:
While in the Loire Valley, you may want to also visit the magnificent Chambord, the stunning Château of Azay-le-Rideau and the surprising Chaumont-sur-Loire. Don’t miss Château d’Amboise perched on a cliff overlooking the Loire River. And the elegant Château de Chenonceau, also known as the Ladies’ Castle.
Chantilly Castle is the perfect day trip from Paris.
Versailles, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most famous of French castles, is also just a day trip from Paris.
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The Dordogne Valley is a little less-discovered and a fabulous region to plan a holiday.
And a trip to le Pays Basque is never a bad idea! Start here in Biarritz.
My Paris posts will help you get off the beaten path to discover hidden gems and corners in Paris that most tourists never see. Uncover Paris right here. Paris By Season: Spring in Paris – A most glorious time to visit Paris when the magnolias and cherry blossoms are blooming. Have you ever thought of visiting Paris in the fall?