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Chateau de Tiffauges visitor guide

Photo of Chateau de Tiffauges

Visit Chateau de Tiffauges, France

The Chateau de Tiffauges is in a strategic hilltop position above the Crume River and in the Vendée department, close to the border between between the historic regions of Brittany, Anjou and Poitou-Charentes.

Explore the Chateau de Tiffauges

France This Way comment: the largest medieval castle n the region, the Chateau de Tiffauges is above all visited for the many events, performances, and medieval reenactments that are held here

The Chateau de Tiffauges was built in the 12th century and then developed over an extended period from the 12th to the 16th centuries. 

The castle is best known for Gilles de Rais, the lord of the castle during the middle of the 15th century. In the 16th century the story of Gilles de Rais started to be combined with the fictitious story of Bluebeard, and the castle is sometimes referred to as Bluebeard's Castle.

After an auspicious start to his career as a highly regarded soldier and fighting companion of Joan of Arc, Gilles de Rais later turned to extravagant (and financially ruinous) displays within the castle, but also abandoned his religion and turned to magic, sorcery, alchemy and child murder, and all before being executed in 1440 at the age of 36.

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The castle was frequently attacked during the Wars of Religion and set on fire in 1569, then dismantled by royal command in 1626. It then remained abandoned for several cnturies, and it was only in the 1990s that the Chateau de Tiffauges started to be a popular tourist attraction.

After several centuries of neglect the castle has now been carefully brought back to life and restored, and features interesting medieval armoury and alchemy equipment and displays, and of course 'memorabilia' relating to Bluebeard, along with the chance to try out a crossbow yourself!

The castle covers an extensive area of almost 30,000 square metres, and is encircled by defensive fortifications. The main buildings in the castle are the castle keep, although the original keep was six metres higher until the top part was destroyed during the Wars of Religion, and the Tour de Vidame. You will also see the ruins of the chapel.

Apart from these medieval structures, there is not a great deal to see inside the castle walls, although the many recreations of medieval weapons are interesting. The "Bluebeard's castle" is well known for the spectacles and period reenactments it holds, and holds one of the most visited Christmas markets in France.

View of the Chateau de Tiffauges

Attractions nearby

Although the area around Tiffauges is not the most visited destination in France, you will find several small towns of interest in the area such as Clisson, and the impressive town of Nantes is about 50 kilometres from here.

See more castles in France. You can find more travel ideas in the Vendee guide and the Pays de la Loire guide.

See also: 

Map of Chateau de Tiffauges and places nearby

 
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Visit near Chateau de Tiffauges with France This Way reviews

Clisson

Clisson

Clisson has a medieval castle, and an interesting architectural style having ben largely re-built in Italian style about 250 years ago

Clisson guide
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Aubigne-sur-Layon

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The small village of Aubigne-sur-Layon is very pretty, especially in late spring and summer when the many flowers in the town are in bloom

Aubigne-sur-Layon guide
Vouvant

Vouvant

The pleasant village of Vouvant still retains part of a medieval castle and an ancient stone bridge

Vouvant guide
Chateau de Brissac

Chateau de Brissac

The Chateau de Brissac is the tallest castle in France, has more than 200 rooms and extensive parkland to explore!

Chateau de Brissac guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Vendee

The French version of this page is at Chateau de Tiffauges (Francais)

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