Shot details: Nikon D90 with Sigma 10-20mm f/4.0-5.6 lens @ 13mm & f5 and combined exposures of 1/500, 1/125 and 1/30sec ISO 200
Location: The Great Hall, Chateau de Brissac, Brissac Quincé, Maine et Loire, Loire Valley
The Château de Brissac, known as the Giant of the Loire Valley, counts two-hundred-and-four rooms laid out on seven floors. Brissac projects its gigantic silhouette over its vast grounds planted with magnificent hundred-year old cedars of Lebanon, and enjoys a splendid view on the small river Aubance. The original castle was probably built on the site of an ancient watermill.
The name Brissac would be the corruption of Bèchesac, a nickname often given to millers who cheated on the weight of the flour bags when filled. The Brissac family are one of the oldest families in France.
The medieval castle was built in 1455 by Pierre de Brézé, then bought in 1502 by René de Cossé and has been in the same family since.
The present owner is the 14th Duke of Brissac. René’s grand-son, Charles de Cossé, was the local leader of the Catholic party known as the League that supported the Duke of Guise against the protestant Henri IV. The movement was ended in 1594.
Cossé, then Governor of Paris, conceded defeat and handed the keys of the city to Henri IV who in return for his submission appointed him Marshal of France and made him Duke of Brissac. The Duke began rebuilding the castle that had been severely damaged during the Wars of Religion. When he died in 1602, only the left wing and the central Pavilion had been rebuilt and the work never resumed.
Brissac was confiscated in 1796 but was returned to its owners a few years later, a case without precedent during the French Revolution.
The Early Renaissance (Louis XIII) style central Pavilion is composed of seven floors, a very unusual height. Two massive Gothic Towers, the survivors of the old fortress, flank it and give Brissac a unique style. The château is richly decorated with tapestries, old armour, paintings and elegant furniture from the 18th century. One of the rooms is famous for the outstanding 17th century painted ceiling.
A Louis XIII style staircase leads to the Great Hall and a splendid Belle Époque style theatre built in 1883 and magnificently restored is located on the second floor.
Those who are feel that once you have seen one chateau you’ve seen them all will be happy to know that Brissac is also a vineyard. The château’s cellars offer a good selection of wines produced in their vineyard…
18km South of the city of Angers