Romantic Renaissance Chateaux

     Chateau de Kerjean is a pretty renaissance chateau sitting majestically in the heart of the Pays de Leon which is the northern portion of Finistere, in Brittany. The gothic touches are, of course, a result of the Italian influence during the war. The architects were Jacques Androuet de Cerceau, Philibert de Lorne (who was also responsible for Chateau d’Anet) and Sebastiano Serlio.
     It was acquired by the Barbier family in 1618 from Louis the 13th. It went through a decline until the 17th century when the Barbier heirs, Counts by the name of Coatanscour, restored the old glory. In the second half of the 18th century, Suzanne-Augustine de Coatanscour (the wife of Francois-Gilles de Kersauzon) regained the title in Leon and the chateau as her wedding gift. During the revolution she was arrested, imprisoned and beheaded in Brest. Afterward, it became property of the state and was sold to the Brilhac family in 1802. It had been partially dismantled during the revolution and so some of the stones from the walls were sold and the roof had caved in, but Brilhac’s successors returned the chateau to the state. It became an historic site in 1911 and the Conseil General du Finistere took possession. It is assumed by this author that Brilhac’s successors restored the chateau. (There is a larger photo of Chateau de Kerjean in the April 3, 2006 entry, "Decouvrir Bretagne".)

     Forty miles west of Paris, Chateau d’Anet seats itself in splendor just outside the Ile de France. A guided tour of it includes Diane’s room, room of the Guards, the Red Living Room, dining room suite, royal vault and the Tomb of Diane. For tours contact: Mr. Segouin T- 332 37 41 90 07 or e-mail
     Dubbed Chateau de la Rochepot, this castle, situated in the richest province of France- Burgundy- stands on a rocky peak south of Beaune and has so since the 13th century. Located in the Cote d’Or region (the 21st departement of France) the ruins which surround the existing restored castle are remains of the 11th century, which were built by Alexander of Burgundy.
     This renaissance chateau’s current design was the plan of two powerful vassals (those who ruled in the absence of royalty) of the Dukes of Burgundy and Knights of the Golden Fleece. These were Regnier Pot and grandson Philippe Pot.
     Regnier Pot, a chamberlain, purchased the castle in 1403 from Philip the Bold (the Duke of Burgundy), on his return from the Holy Land. This beauty was enlarged and re-fortified by him and he added the towers.
     His architectural achievement was eclipsed by his grandson Philippe Pot, being advisor to several royals and during the French annexation in 1477 he allied himself with Louis XI and Charles VII, becoming Grand Seneshal of Burgundy and represented the King in this jurisdiction. In addition, he carried out the construction and enlargement of Chateauneuf and Rochepot at the same time. His tomb is a remarkable work of art and today is on display at the Louvre in Paris.
     Among the famous and powerful who assumed lordship over the castle over the centuries were, Anne de Montmorency, Marshal of France, along with 129 other castles! In the 17th century the Cardinal de Retz inherited the chateau but he was so badly in debt that he was forced to sell it back to the house of Burgundy and for the next 145 years, through various inheritances and exchanges it stayed in the hands of the Burgundian families.
     During the French revolution it was renamed Chateau de la Roche Fidele and was made national property. Contractors tore down part of it, including the keep and sold stone by stone like so many others.
     In 1893 , the wife of Sadi Carnot, then the President of France, purchased the ruins and gifted her eldest son Col. Sadi Carnot with the chateau. He decided to restore it to the 15th century style and spent the next 25 years undertaking this formidable task. Thus, the chateau you will visit now is fully authenticated. Charles Suisse was the chief architect of this undertaking. One of the grand features which gives Chateau de la Rochepot a unique place is the Chinese Room, a museum of Asian artifacts which were presented to Sadi Carnot from the last empress of China. You will find more photos of these three castles in the More Castles album.
            Proverbe du Jour:  En temps voulu nous savons tout choses. – Evelyn M. Wallace
                      (In due time we will know everything.)
The Castle Lady, avec plusiers des bises!   
To know how to say what others only know how to think is what makes men poets or sages;
and to dare to say what others only dare to think makes men martyrs or reformers- or both. 
 – Elizabeth Charles




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