was originally a medieval fortress which is attested by the
oldest stone-built medieval keep
At the end of the I0th c. Fulk
III Nerra, Count of Anjou, built
the ruins of which still stand in the gardens.
15th century château, with its drawbridge >
still in working order together with the imposing towers and battlement
walk, show a defensive front to the outside world, while the internal
façade heralds the Renaissance.
itself was built by Louis
XI from 1465-1469 as a stronghold
on the road from Nantes, the route most likely to be taken by an invading
Breton army. This threat vanished after the marriage of Charles
VIII and Anne
of Brittany was celebrated
at Langeais (in this only recently finished Château) in 1491.
discreet ceremony marked the start of the unification of Brittany
The château was built
in one go - a rare event - and has not been altered since - an even
rarer event. It is one of the most interesting in the Loire Valley
owing to the patient efforts (after 1886) of Jacques
Siegfried, the last owner, a businessman and enlightened art
lover, who was to spend twenty years of his life restoring Langeais.
He refurnished it in the style of the 15th century and bequeathed
it to the Institut de France.
From the outside it resembles
a feudal fortress: high walls, round towers, a crenellated and machicolated
sentry walk and a drawbridge spanning the moat. The façade
facing the courtyard is less severe, suggesting a manor house with
mullioned windows and pointed dormers decorated like the doors of
the stair turrets. The buildings consist of two wings set at a rightangle;
on the west side of the courtyard a terraced garden climbs to the
Outstanding tapestry collection.
Among Jacques Siegfried's acquisitions was an outstanding group of
15th and 16th century tapestries woven in France and Flanders.
These unique works illustrate themes such as Chivalry, Bible history,
hunting, the natural world and so on, that were much in vogue in the
Including a series portraying the Nine Heroes and some mille-fleurs.
Note the interlaced initials K and A for Charles VIll and Anne of
At the foot of the keep lie two tombs housing the mortal remains
of Jacques Siegfried and his daughter.
The apartments with their beautiful period furnishings exude an atmosphere
which is much more alive than in most other old castles.
They also convey an accurate picture of what aristocratic life was
like in the 15C and early Renaissance.
Langeais has a bookstore and gift shop. An educational service is
also available for teachers who wish to visit the Château with
VISITING TIMES: The château
is open daily, except Christmas Day.
Spring/Summer Opening: 1 April - 15 October 09.30 - 18.30. - 15 July
- 20 August, 09.30 - 20.00.
Autumn/Winter Opening: - 16 October - 31 March, 10.00 - 17-30.
ACCESS: Langeais is part
of the "Route de la Vallée des Rois" circuit. It
is located 22 km west of Tours. Take the A 10 Autoroute to Exit 20,
"Tours Sainte-Radegonde", follow Saumur. Car Parking available. (See map, top of page).