Visit the Chateau Langeais in Indre-et-Loire, Centre
Chateau Langeais is poised above the Loire River 20km to the west of Tours. Its 10th century origins make it one of the oldest chateaux in the Loire Valley. Much expanded during the following century, Langeais suffered very badly during the Hundred Years War and there is little to see of the original structure apart from some ruins of the original keep in the gardens at the castle.
In the second half of the 15th century, between 1465 and 1469, the castle was rebuilt by King Louis XI (under the guidance of Jean Bourré) and became an important residence. It played an important role in the divisions between England and France that continued until 1532, at which stage Brittany was definitively restored to France.
One particular noteworthy event at the castle took place in 1491 - the marriage of Anne of Brittany and King Charles VIII, the first stage in the reunification of Brittany and France. The political wedding included agreement that if Charles VIII died without leaving a male heir to the throne that she would marry the next king - and since all her children died very young that is what she did, marrying Louis XII after the death of Charles.
In style the castle crosses the two styles of medieval defence (especially the exterior) and renaissance high living (see in the interior). An example of the former is the functioning drawbridge to be seen at Langeais, an example of the latter is seen in several of the decorative fireplaces.
After a long period of neglect, the castle was much restored towards the end of the 19th century. On the death of the owner/restorer Jacques Siegfried in 1904 Langeais passed to the Institut de France, who still retain ownership.
It is thanks to the efforts of M. Siegfried, and the ongoing efforts of the Institut de France, that the castle is now held in such high regard as a renovation and recreation of a 15th century castle - both in the building itself and in the meticulous attention to detail with the interior furnishings.
Map showing location of Chateau Langeais