Visit the Chateau Tiffauges in Vendée, Pays de la Loire
The castle at Tiffauges is best known for Gille de Rais, the lord of the castle during the middle of the 15th century who later became known as Bluebeard - hence Bluebeard's Castle.
After an auspicious start to his career as a highly regarded soldier and fighting companion of Joan of Arc, Bluebeard later turned to extravagant (and financially ruinous) displays within the castle, but also abandoned his religion and turned to magic, sorcery, alchemy and child murder. And all before being executed at the age of 36.
The castle was built and developed over many years, from the 12th to the 16th centuries, in a strategic hilltop position above the Crume River, between Brittany, Poitou-Charentes and Anjou (part of current Vendee).
It covers an extensive area of almost 30,000 square metres, encircled by defensive fortifications. Within the castle walls there is not a great deal to see, but the many recreations of medieval weapons are interesting.
After several centuries of neglect the castle has now been carefully brought back to life and maintained, and features interesting medieval armoury and alchemy equipment and displays, and of course 'memorabilia' relating to Bluebeard, along with the chance to try out a crossbow yourself!
The 'Bluebeards castle' is now also well known for the spectacles and period reenactments it holds.