Visit the Chateau Plessis-Bourre in Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire
In a romantic setting north of Angers, the castle at Plessis-Bourre is one of the most impressive in the Loire Valley
It was built during the period 1468-1473 by Jean Bourré, confident and financial advisor to King Louis XI, on the site of an earlier castle, and retains much of the original character.
The castle is roughly square, with a tower in each corner, and surrounds an interior courtyard. It has been little changed during the centuries - hence its popularity as a background setting for various historical dramas that have been fimed here - although some of the windows, for example, were added later during the renaissance.
The broad moat around the castle suggests a defensive function, as does the double-drawbridge and the substantial corner towers, although most of the rest of the appearance suggests a luxury residence rather than a building preparing for siege. Some of the more decorative highlights have been added later than the original construction.
The heyday for the castle was during the late 15th century - King Louis XI and King Charles VIII were both guests at the castle during this period.
The interior especially appears more suited to high living than hand to hand fighting, with rooms decorated in luxurious 16th-18th century styles, grand bedchambers and an impressive library. One of the highlights inside the castle is the splendid representation of alchemist symbols that decorates the ceiling in the Salle des Gardes.
This melange of styles - defensive and residential arises because of the time the castle was constructed at Plessis-Bourre, an epoch when France was in transition between the period of medieval wars and the renaissance - hence the architectural style described as 'transition'.
Map showing location of Chateau Plessis-Bourre