HISTORY

Overhanging the Loire, the Castle of Montsoreau was built on the vestiges of the XIth century of the castrum Monte Sorello, mentioned in a document of 1089.

Montsoreau consists of the word Mont, which hints at the hillside which dominates the confluence of the Vienne and the Loire and patronymic Sorel which was formerly given to people with the red hair (from old French saur, ” yellow – brown “).

Montsoreau was at the beginning of the XIth century a strategic and military point as well as a granting situated on the river. The seigneury of Montsoreau appeared as the feudalism develops in Touraine and in Anjou. The fortress of Horsemanship Sorello belonged to Gautier de Montsoreau, religious devotee who gave in 1101 to Robert d’ Arbrissel lands to build the Abbey of Fontevraud there, situated 3 kilometers from the castle.

The seigneury of Montsoreau becomes then the property of Savary de Montbazon’s family, then Craon and Chabot.

Jeanne Chabot marries Jean II de Chambes, councillor of king Charles VII which begins the construction of the castle in its current shape. Of half of the XVth century till the beginning of the XVIth, his child Jean III, Philippe, Jean IV and Charles pursue the works.

The XVIIth century sees the decline of Montsoreau of which Lord René of Chambes, condemned for counterfeit money and false salt, exiles himself in England till the end of his days. The castle is put on sale then occupied by nineteen successive owners.

In 1910 the castle is practically in ruin. Thanks to Senator de Geoffre, the department of Maine-et-Loire acquires gradually the various plots of land which compose the castle and begins campaigns of restoration in 1923 and in 1997.

 


 


ARCHITECTURE

Jean II de Chambes makes build the Castle of Montsoreau in the 1450s. It marks the passage of the military architecture in the architecture of sailing, as show of it the wide bays, the numerous fireplaces, or the carried attention on the problems of hygiene. At first, the main building is directly brought up in border of the Loire. The right wing in return is built a few years later. Two square towers supervise the main building. In a period when we build round towers, this singular choice prefigures the detached houses of angle which will be later built. A spiral staircase was doubtless situated in the current location of the staircase the Renaissance which we can see at present.

The ground floor and the cellars stage left allow the control of the navigation over the river. One of these rooms possesses a direct access to the river. The main staircase, situated to the left, leads to the lodging houses of the ground floor and the first floor. This very bright room, enlightened by five windows and long of seventeen meters, is warmed by two monumental fireplaces. Small rooms adjoin the room and represent the transition between public place and private space.

In 1473 Jean III de Chambes succeeds his father. He makes raise a tower of staircase the Renaissance the polygonale cage of which is covered with a terrace. It’s decorated with pilasters lining windows, of medallions in the classic art, of putti and of candelabras carried by legs of lion.

 


 

CHRONOLOGICAL LINE


VIth century: the domain of Restis occupies the site of Montsoreau.

990: The count of Blois Eudes Ier transforms the site ready strong.

1101 : The abbey of Fontevraud is established by Robert d’ Arbrissel and Hersende of Champagne on the lands of Gautier de Montsoreau.

1152 : Henri II Plantagenêt, future king of England besieges the fortification.

1213 : The seigneury of Montsoreau becomes the property of Savary de Montbazon’s family.

1362 : The family of Craon acquires the seigneury.

1398 : The seigneury returns to the family of Chabot.

1424 : Joan of Arc meets king in the castle of Chinon.

1450 : Jean II de Chambes buys the fortress of Montsoreau to Louis II de Chabot.

1450-1460 : He makes it build a castle.

1473 : Jean III de Chambes succeeds his father.

1560 : Jean IV de Chambes inherits from Montsoreau.

1568 : The Castle of Montsoreau is plundered by the Protestants, the Sainte-Croix collegiate church situated in the village is shaved, the fortifications of the city are destroyed.

1572 : Saint Barthélemy from Anjou.

1575 : Charles de Chambes becomes Count de Montsoreau and marries Françoise de Maridor who inspired in Alexandre Dumas La Dame de Montsoreau.

1634 : René de Chambes, son of Charles, is condemned to death as counterfeiter and forgery – saunier. He runs away in England.

1804 : Marie Geneviève de Chambes, granddaughter of René de Chambes, sells the domain of Montsoreau.

1910 : The castle is in ruins.

1913 : The department of Maine-et-Loire acquires the various properties which constitute the castle.

1923 : 1st campaign of restoration

1997 : 2nd campaign of restoration

2001 : The Castle of Montsoreau opens to the visit with a sound and light cours entitled ” The imagination of the Loire “

2015 : Philippe Méaille takes back the management of the castle and installs his collection of contemporary art there.


 


ALEXANDRE DUMAS

The novel “La Dame de Montsoreau” written between 1845 and 1846 by Alexandre Dumas immortalized the castle of Montsoreau. He tells the love story between Louis Clermont, Lord of Bussy of Amboise and Diane de Méridor, wife of the count of Montsoreau in a political context which puts on stage the political and religious unrest under the reign of Henri III Taking some liberties with the History, Alexandre Dumas confronts the characters of Charles de Chambes, Count de Montsoreau, Françoise de Maridort, his wife and Louis de Clermont d’ Amboise, Lord de Bussy, the lover.

The intrigue takes place in 1578, six years after the massacre of St-Barthélémy. Succeeding his brother Charles IX, Henri III begins his reign in a country divided by the fights between Catholics and Protestants and has to deal with numerous plots managed by his brother François of France. The latter offers itself the services of a gentleman Louis de Bussy d’ Amboise who during an ambush will be hurt then been looked after by Diane de Méridor, wife of Count de Montsoreau. The rising idyll between both lovers will cause the jealousy and the vengeance on behalf of the Count.

Between history and legend, the dialogue undertakes to establish the truth, but which?