Visit Chateau Josselin
- Date of construction: 1370
- Location: Morbihan, Brittany
The castle is in the centre of the town of Josselin, in the Morbihan department of Brittany about 70km west of Rennes. where it overlooks the Oust River.
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the chateau is that the Rohan family have owned the chateau for more than 500 years, including twice being ordered to demolish large parts of the castle, and having persistently rebuilt the chateau after each major event.
Although there has been a castle here since the first half of the 11th century (1008, to be exact) the original castle was destroyed by King Henry II in 1168, when the English were trying to claim Brittany as their territory. Construction of the current castle started around 1173.
Substantially reinforced in 1370, several defensive towers were added to the castle at that stage, and also living accommodations were much extended. this continued into the early 15th century, with extensive additions of living accommodation in the form of a renaissance style refurbishment. This means the castle has quite different appearances according to which side you are looking at - the fortified defensive towers to the river, or the decorative face to the more recent , interior construction.
Further involvement of the Rohan family in the Wars of Religion lead to Cardinal Richelieu commanding that a substantial part of the chateau be destroyed in 1629 (five of the nine towers then standing were destroyed).
For the next 206 years the castle fell into neglect, and further sections were demolished including two large towers.
The 'rebirth' of Josselin castle dates from 1835 and major renovation and rebuilding work started by the Duke of Rohan.
The interior of the castle is also very finely furnished, following a large scale project towards the end of the 19th century. The most imposing of these rooms are the Dining Room and the Drawing Room. (Many rooms in the castle are not open to the public, being the private residence of the Rohan family).
To the outside, there are impressive gardens to visit: the French formal stle garden; an English parkland style garden (not often open to the public); and the popular recent addition of the Rose Garden.
The castle is also well known for the extensive Doll's Museum in the adjacent stables.