Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Château de Blain, Loire-Atlantique

Wandering Around Cottage, August 2016 Edition


Last week, I took my first vacation week since I bought Cottage. On our way between home and our rental cottage, Shadow (that's the cat who travels with me if you don't know) and I thought it would be nice to have a little break, since it was a very sunny day and our car doesn't ave air conditionning.

La semaine dernière, j'ai donc pris ma première semaine de vacances depuis que j'ai acheté Cottage. Sur le chemin entre la maison et la location, Shadow (le chat qui m'accompagne dans tous mes voyages) et  moi pensions qu'il serait bien de faire une petite pause, surtout qu'il faisait chaud ce jour-là et que Titine n'a pas la climatisation (son seul défaut).

We choose (and by "we", I mean I alone) to stop at the castle of Blain.

Nous avons choisi (et par "nous", je veux dire "moi toute seule") de s'arrêter au château de Blain.

It had been on my "must see" list for a while as I had read about it in books about the history of Brittany. Here's where I need to explain some geography to my non-Breton readers. Today, Brittany is made of the four territories (we call them "departements") in dark blue. But historically the duchy of Brittany roughly covered the dark blue parts and the light blue departement that is not anymore part of today's Brittany. Long story short : Blain is a Breton castle, even though to visit it you now need to leave Brittany.



Il était sur la liste interminable des "trucs que j'ai envie de voir" depuis longtemps car je l'ai souvent vu cité dans des livres sur l'histoire de la Bretagne. Petite explication pour les non-Bretons. Aujourd'hui, la Bretagne, ce sont les quatre départements en bleu foncé sur la carte. Mais, historiquement, du temps du duché, cela comprenait à peu près aussi le département de la Loire-Atlantique, ici en bleu pâle. Bref, pour visiter ce château breton, il faut aujourd'hui sortir de la Bretagne!



The castle you can see on my pictures is not the original castle. The very first castle on this spot was built in the 11th century. But nothing is left of it. Same for the second castle built in the 13th century. Same for the third castle.  Still, the place must have been really been great for a castle, because a fourth one was built in the 14th century.


Le château que vous voyez sur mes photos n'est pas le château d'origine. Il ne reste rien du tout premier bâtiment construit au XIe siècle. Pas plus qu'il n'y a de traces physiques de la forteresse bâtie au XIIIe siècle. Et le troisième château, me direz-vous ?  Détruit aussi ! Enfin, il faut que l'emplacement ait été idéal, puisque un autre est construit au XIVe siècle. 


Still, it seemed the castle was doomed as it was damaged, partly destroyed, rebuilt and so on a lot during its history. On the pictures, you can see for example that the drawbridge pillars were being rebuilt when I visited.


Même ce quatrième château a connu bien des aléas au cours de sa vie, il a été endommagé, brûlé en partie, reconstruit. Bref, difficile de dire à quoi il ressemblait vraiment à des époques données. Vous pouvez voir sur les photos que les piliers du pont-levis sont en cours de rénovation.


Many famous people lived or stayed in this castle. But I thought a complete list would be very boring, so I decided to choose three of my favourite.


Beaucoup de gens célèbres sont passés par ce château et il est lié à de très nombreux événements historiques. Une liste complète aiderait sûrement mes lecteurs qui souffrent d'insomnie... Mais j'ai préféré vous présenter trois personnes parmi mes préférées.


The castle belonged for a while to the famous Jeanne de Belleville and her husband Olivier III de Clisson in the 14th century. At that time, Brittany wasn't part of France and there was a succession war. Olivier was suspected to be a traitor and was beheaded. Jeanne didn't take it very well, more so as all her castles, lands and properties, including Blain, were taken from her. She fled to England with her children and became the first woman pirate in order to find money for an English army, that was to help her regain her territories for her son.


Ce château a appartenu un temps à Olivier III de Clisson et à sa femme Jeanne de Belleville au XIVe siècle. C'est une période compliquée de l'histoire bretonne, marquée par une guerre de succession sans fin. En deux mots, Olivier est suspecté de trahison et il est décapité. Sa femme jure de le venger et elle est d'autant plus motivée que leurs possessions, dont Blain, ont été confisquées et que ses enfants se retrouvent sans rien. Elle trouve asile en Angleterre et y devient la première femme pirate dans le but de financer une armée pour reconquérir ses biens pour son fils Olivier.


At the end of the 15th century, a queen and a king of France stayed in the castle of Blain. The queen, Anne, was the duchess of Brittany and she became twice queen of France. She married first Charles VIII. After her husband died, she married the new king of France, her late husband's cousin. This marriage was the beginning of the unification of Brittany with France.

Anne de Bretagne

A la fin du XVe siècle, un roi et une reine de France séjournent au château de Blain. Cette reine, c'est la célèbre Anne de Bretagne. Elle est là avec son second (ou troisième - si l'on compte celui qu'elle n'a jamais rencontré) mari, le roi de France. Son précédent mari ? Eh bien, c'était le précédent roi de France. Oui, elle a été deux fois reine de France et c'est à partir de ce moment-là qu'a commencé l'union de la Bretagne à la France.

 
In the 16th century, Mary Stuart stayed in the castle, where she was greeted by king Henry II. She was only six years old and had left Scotland to come live at the court of France in order to later marry Francis, the king to be. Contrary to Anne de Bretagne, she was not to be queen of France for very long, though, as her husband died shortly after he became king.

Mary Stuart as a young girl at the court of France

Au XVIe siècle, la jeune Mary Stuart passe quelques jours au château où elle est accueillie par le roi Henri II. Elle n'a que six ans et elle a quitté son Ecosse natale pour venir vivre à la cour de France où elle dit épouser, un peu plus tard quand même, l'héritier du trône.  Contrairement à Anne de Bretagne, elle ne deviendra cependant pas reine de France aussi longtemps qu'Anne de Bretagne puisque son époux décède peu après devenu roi.

 
This is only a very little part of the fascinating history of this castle, which I didn't visit. There are two different websites about the castle. The one by its current owners says nothing about visiting the castle, but indicated that you can have your wedding there. The other website is by the "friends of the castle of Blain" and only suggest a visit of the gardens... Which were closed between noon and two when I stopped there!


Ce n'était là qu'un aperçu de la fascinante histoire de ce château, que je n'ai pourtant pas visité. Les sites Internet du château (et oui, il y en a deux, un fait par les propriétaires, un fait par la société des amis du château ou un truc dans le genre) ne sont pas très clairs. J'ai eu peur de perdre beaucoup de temps pour rien... et en plus, c'était fermé entre midi et deux quand je me suis arrêtée !

Now, among all the very famous visitors of this castle, we can add Shadow who was nice enough to be a good cat and lie on the fresh grass for a while as I was having a snack, facing the castle. He was on a very short leash, don't worry. And I don't have a picture of this historical moment as I had one hand firmly on the leash and one hand on my fork and I can't take picture with my feet, my bad! Shadow went back in the car so I could take some pictures of the castle. All were taken in a hurry as I didn't want him to be alone for more than a few minutes.



Je crois qu'un petit addendum est nécessaire maintenant dans l'histoire de ce château. Il faut ajouter Shadow à la liste des visiteurs importants. En effet, il était tellement content de pouvoir se rafraîchir qu'il s'est sagement allongé dans l'herbe non loin de moi (bah oui, "non loin" parce qu'il était en laisse évidemment, dans un endroit inconnu) pendant que je prenais mon petit pique-nique. Pas de photo de ce moment historique car une main tenait la laisse, l'autre ma fourchette et que je ne sais pas encore prendre de photo avec les pieds ! Il est rentré dans la voiture juste le temps que je prenne quelques photos à la va-vite.

Wouldn't you like to visit a castle where Shadow spent some time?

Franchement, vous n'auriez pas envie de visiter un château dans le parc duquel Shadow a fait une sieste ?

See you soon,

A bientôt,



43 comments:

  1. Interesting! Thank you for sharing.
    And I like someone inside the car on your last picture... cute cat!

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  2. My dear Magali, I so enjoyed your post and the history found in this beautiful castle. Each story was unique and incredibly interesting. And I must say that the castle is quite stunning.

    Wishing you a lovely week, sweet friend. Hugs!

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  3. I so regret that the photos I took in the Loire Valley did NOT come out. Our digital card was incorrectly formatted and those great castles are not in my portfolio of great memories! How I love a turret, the old stone, and the ragged rocks that construct such history. I LOVE FRANCE!

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  4. what a lovely stop to make, too bad you were not able to take a tour. I love looking at old buildings but of course here in the US that means 200-300 years old if you are lucky!!

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  5. What a gorgeous castle and the history is fascinating. Thank you for sharing that with us. Love your little travel companion.
    So sweet and cute.
    Kris

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  6. Thank you for sharing your latest adventure. How sweet that Shadow is so good at travelling with you. My cats HATE the car!!!

    Have a great week Magali!

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  7. Absolutely, I want to visit this castle Shadow visited! As you know since I've told you so many times, we love visiting castles in France! We haven't been here but after this post it is added to my "must see" list of castles in France. Thanks for the history lesson that I will save, less research for my vista there. I must say I have fallen in love with Shadow, he is such a nice kitty!

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  8. That was certainly a good place to build a castle!.....or all the subsequent builders, after the first, were lacking imagination!!
    Such an interesting post - I really like to get a sense of where people are and this post, as usual, gave me that.

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  9. Yes I would! Love that look Shadow is giving us, a bit regal:). Very interesting history about the castle Blain. I think there was a movie about the pirate Jeanne back in golden age of movies. Thank you for taking us along, Kathleen in Az

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    1. Some of my friends say Shadow always looks down on them, even if he's only a few feet tall... I guess that's what you do when you feel regal!

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  10. Il est superbe ce château ! Et pourtant, pas connu du tout... Et il y a de bien belles histoires à son sujet. Merci pour cette découverte. Bises

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  11. Je trouve que Anne de Bretagne et Mary Stuart sont très belles femmes, j'en suis étonnée ( pourquoi??? mais j'en suis étonnée).
    Shadow a donc presque cotoyé la royauté . Il est trop beau derrière sa vitre. Bisous ma Belle, j'attends la suite. Babette

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  12. Magali - What a wonderful place to visit! I've always wanted to visit a castle. Glad you had a great time!!

    Judy

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  13. Shadow is a amazing cat - most don't like to travel.
    Thanks so much for taking us on this wonderful trip with you. The castle is beautiful. The bio's of the people were very interesting. Thank you so much and enjoy the rest of your vacation.

    Mary

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  14. I wouldn't think cats would like to travel. Thanks for sharing the history y and beauty of the castle. Enjoy your travels and be safe.

    Cindy

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    1. Shadow has been used to travel since he was a kitten. He doesn't like it, but he doesn't complain...

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  15. Interesting history about this castle. Looks like Shadow is quite the traveler!

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  16. Wonderful photos an even more wonderful info about the castle..i'd be happy to visit any place shadow finds interesting..was the castle rebuilt to look the same over the yrs..well..centuries..i think i'd pick cottage to live in over the castle..i can't imagine the up keep..heating bill an such..i bet the gardens are beautiful too..
    ..hope you're enjoying the summer break..our kids go back to school in about 3 weeks..where did this summer go..seems like they just got out in june..

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  17. Such a gorgeous place! Thanks for the photos ♥

    summerdaisy.net

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  18. I love old buildings, and castles certainly qualify. It's interesting to me to think about who lived there, what life was like, etc.

    Shadow is a well traveled fur baby! Maybe he should start a travel blog??

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  19. I would be honored to visit any place that Shadow has been! : ) It's really amazing that this castle has been rebuilt so many times. I enjoyed all of your pictures, Magali!

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  20. Such an interesting castle with many interesting inhabitants! I can't imagine becoming a pirate to support my son, but then again, I can't imagine living in a castle, either! The gargoyles are startling and hope they are keeping those evil spirits away. Lol! I love your traveling companion. xx Karen

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    1. I enjoyed the castle and Shadow loved the fresh grass!

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  21. you're the only person I know to take their cat to a castle. :) I love history.

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  22. I always enjoy a tour and a history lesson. And to now know that Shadow has visited is exciting.

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  23. How interesting and what a beautiful castle. How funny to take Shadow along-so cute! Have a wonderful week!

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  24. What an interesting history to the castle. and what a great spot it must be to continue to build the castle there. So Shadow has moved up the ranking in France hierarchy. Becoming a pirate to support my son sounds like a mother of great character...thanks for sharing!

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  25. Hurrah for traveling cats, women pirates and Mary Queen of Scots! I am sorry that I have not been commenting much lately. My iPad decided that I cannot use my Google account to comment and I do all of my blog reading on my iPad, but I have been reading. I made a special visit today on my computer so that I could comment on your last several posts. I hope you enjoyed the rest of your vacation trip.

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  26. Loved loved the history lesson. The castle seems to be much smaller than the one they show on the series "Reign". It would be so awesome to own a castle, but I really would need all of our wonderful modern conveniences. lol Until next time! xx Jo

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  27. Lovely photo's and so nice to read about the History of the Castle.
    Thank you.

    All the best Jan

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  28. So interesting! I hope Shadow enjoyed it, also. I would love to see the castle. So much history.

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  29. So interesting! I hope Shadow enjoyed it, also. I would love to see the castle. So much history.

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  30. So interesting! I love history. Thank you for educating us about this beautiful castle. So sorry you could not tour the inside...maybe next time ☺

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    1. I believe I need to get married to see the inside as the only info I could find on the Internet is that you could rent some rooms for a wedding!

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  31. So interesting! I love history. Thank you for educating us about this beautiful castle. So sorry you could not tour the inside...maybe next time ☺

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  32. visiter certes, mais aussi planté une tente dans le parc de ce joli château !!! monique59

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  33. Just catching up on your posts, Magali! Shadow is a very lucky kitty to be traveling to such beautiful places with you! The castle is magnificent!

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