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Chateau Brissac

The Chateau Brissac in the Commune of Brissac-Quincé, in the département of Maine-et-Loire, France, was originally built as a fortified castle by the Counts of Anjou in the 11th century. After the victory over the English by King Philippe II of France, he gave the property to Guillaume des Roches.

In the 15th century, the structure was rebuilt by Pierre de Brézé, a wealthy chief minister to King Charles VII. During the reign (1515-1547) of King Francois I, the property was acquired by René de Cossé, who the king named as governor of Anjou and Maine.

During the French Wars of Religion, Chateau Brissac was made a possession in 1589 by the Protestant, Henri de Navarre. Severely damaged, the fortress was scheduled to be demolished. However, Charles de Cossé sided with Henri of Navarre who soon was crowned King of France. In gratitude, King Henri gave him the property, the title Duc (Duke) de Brissac and the money to rebuild the chateau in 1611. It's construction made it the highest chateau in France, its façade reflecting the influences of that century’s Baroque architecture. Through marriage, the Cossé-Brissac family also acquired the Chateau Montreuil-Bellay but later sold it.

In August 1620, King Louis XIII and his mother, Marie de Medici, met to discuss their differences in the “neutral” territory of Chateau Brissac. A temporary truce between the two was reached but it did not last long and the Queen Mother was eventually banished.

The descendants of the Duc de Brissac maintained the chateau until 1792 when the property was ransacked during the Revolution. It lay in waste until a restoration program began in 1844 that was carried on during the 19th century by the Duke’s descendants.

Today, the Chateau Brissac is still owned by a de Cossé family member, the chateau is open to tours and its luxurious gilded theater hosts the annual Val de Loire festival.

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