Located in one of France’s most beautiful villages, the Château de Montrésor spans more than a thousand years of history. In the heart of a fortress you will discover Renaissance lodgings furnished and decorated by Count Xavier Branicki, friend and financial advisor of Napoleon III; as a result, the castle offers a small sample of Poland distinguishing it from the other châteaux of the Loire.

The renaissance of the château of Montrésor occurred in the 19th century. In 1849, it was purchased by a Polish immigrant, Count Branicki. Having been exiled from his native land, he settled in France in 1848 and became an important Second Empire figure. An astute strategist, he established excellent relations with the banker Rothschild and Napoleon III alike. As a chatelain, a mayor and a benefactor, the illustrious magnate revived and revitalized an estate that had fallen into disrepair. During the 1850s and the 1860s he refurbished the premises in accordance with the tastes and fashions of the Second Empire. At a time when hunting was a highly appreciated sport, he exhibited hunting trophies not only from nearby Touraine, but also from faraway lands such as Africa, the United States and eastern Europe.

In a spirit of  patriotism, Xavier Branicki showcased numerous Polish treasures and historical artefacts.  Forever at the service of his beleaguered nation, he provided financial backing for exiled artists such as  Arthur Grottger and accumulated a collection of Polish art glorifying the past prowess of an entire country.

Following his death in 1877, the Château de Montrésor became a haven, a place of refuge of people torn apart by the territorial claims of Prussia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Russia.

Several pronouncedly differing rooms are open to the public. While the dining room and the study are decorated in a neo-Renaissance style, the Italian boudoir displays artwork from the Renaissance and the Middle Ages. Family portraits painted by Gérard, Winterhalter and Vigée-Lebrun are exhibited in one setting after another.

You will be invited to go up a magnificent 1855 staircase; having arrived on the first floor, you will enter the  grand salon with the piano on which Chopin composed a waltz for Countess Branicka. You will then be admitted to a confidential space containing numerous Branicki family souvenirs, some of them brought back from their multifarious travels, and many of them pertaining to the history of Poland. All in all, the château of Montrésor epitomizes the Slavic soul in the heart of Touraine.

A walk along the parapet is an agreeably verdant stroll bringing your visit of the château to a fitting culmination. A walk through history will allow you to savor the beauty of a romance-filled park and to appreciate yet another unusual aspect of a decidedly surprising château.

The walkway is currently closed to the public for security reasons.



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