Ideally located between the regions of Anjou and Touraine, the Château de Langeais is composed of two exceptional châteaux occupying a dominant position over the Loire river, the Foulques Nerra tower and the Louis XI château. While the first happens to be the oldest donjon, the most ancient keep in France, the second is double-faceted; face to the town, it is medieval; face to the courtyard, it is Renaissance-inspired.
At about 1000, Foulques Nerra conquered Langeais and brought into being a powerful fortress that was fought over for many years by the counts of Blois and Angers. Along with the whole of Touraine, the site stayed in the hands first of the house of Anjou and then of the Plantagenet empire until the end of the 12th century. In 1206, following the victories of the king of France Philippe Auguste, Langeais joined the royal domain. During the Hundred Years’ War, armed bands occupied the fortress, which was reacquired in 1428 by Charles VII, who ordered that it be razed to the ground, except for the donjon, which is still standing.
In 1465, Louis XI decided on construction of a new château in Langeais. Work was entrusted to Jean Bourré, trusted advisor to the monarch and to Jean Briçonnet, mayor of Tours who was to be ennobled by the sovereign. The château reflects the architectural mutations taking place in the late 15th century. The powerful towers, the drawbridge and the round path facing the town stand in stark contrast to the elegant facades facing the garden, which prefigure the Renaissance.

In July 1466, Louis XI ceded the Château de Langeais to his cousin, Dunois, son of Joan of Arc’s comrade in arms. It was in one of the large rooms of the château, in the presence of a small number of attendees, that on 6 December 1491 at dawn, Charles VIII was wed to Duchess Anne of Brittany. And now? Sumptuously costumed, seemingly real wax figures bring back to life a turning point in the history of France, when the Duchy was united with the French crown.
Following a lengthy period of neglect, in 1886 the château was acquired by Jacques Siegfried, a dynamic businessman and grand connoisseur of art in the Middle Ages. He devoted nearly twenty years of his life to restoration and refurbishment of the castle, bringing into view the way nobles lived at the end of the Middle Ages. In 1904, he handed over the Château and its vast collection to the Institut de France, which has remained its proprietor.
The château of Langeais displays genuine treasures suggesting the luxuriousness of a seigneurial residence : coffers, tapestries, dressers, cathedra and sumptuous tiling decorate the fifteen rooms of the dwelling. The visit will continue in a park equipped with play areas, a cabin perched in a cedar tree and a belvedere affording a magnificent view of the Loire valley. Thus unique legacy of a splendiferous past is the theater of numerous events and activities, including the maneuvering of the drawbridge, one of the last in France to be functioning to this day. In 2019, the château of Langeais is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Renaissance and has invited visitors to follow musically and balletically in the footsteps of Anne of Brittany.



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