Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay, Maine-et-Loire visitors guide

Photo of Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay

Visit Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay, France

The Chateau at Montreuil-Bellay is in the heart of the Loire valley, south of the town of Saumur and south-east of Angers in the Maine-et-Loire department.

Explore the Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay

Unusually for castles in the Loire Valley, the chateau was constructed with a defensive purpose when it was built at the start of the 11th century on the site of an ancient Roman village.. The first construction was undertaken by the 'Black Falcon' a follower of the then King of France, Hugh Capet.

The castle played an important role in the region during the numerous battles between the English and the French, until the English were finally defeated in the region at the beginning of the 13th century.

The Chateau at Montreuil-Bellay was initially captured by the English but subsequently recaptured and occupied by the original owners, the Berlays. It was at that stage that much of the castle fortifications were constructed including the substantial walls and towers that still surround the castle today.

Development of the castle continued during the centuries that followed, so the current building contains elements of various architectural styles, in particular dating from the improvements carried out in the 15th century in the renaissance style, to make the castle more comfortable to live in. These include the main salons and the monumental staircase as well as new window openings.

Although the current Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay mostly dates from the 15th century, we can also see remnants of the fortified castle that stood here before, especially the ramparts and the underground parts of the chateau. There are more than 600 metres of ramparts and 13 towers in the defensive walls.

As well as the castle buildings, there is a substantial collegiate church inside the ramparts of the castle.

The castle was fortunate to remain occupied for much of its life, preventing the ruination and abandon that affected so many castles in France. At the time of the Revolution the owner of the castle was a staunch royalist and the castle was taken over and used as a womens prison, before returning to private ownership in the early 19th century.

The rooms of the castle are furnished with period furniture and as part of your visit you can also enjoy a walk around the gardens and the lovely views from the castle walls. During a guided visit you see certain parts of the castle that are not open to visit exploring without a guide.

The Chateau at Montreuil-Bellay is also well known for the wine produced in the grounds and sold under the same name.

Attractions nearby

During your visit you can also walk around the small historic centre of the village of Montreuil-Bellay.

There are several important historic monuments that you can visit near the Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay, including the castle in Saumur and the abbey at Fontevraud. The villages of Montsoreau and Candes-Saint-Martin are next to each other on the Loire river and together are another pleasant destination.

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

See also:

Map of Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay and places nearby

Visit near Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Maine-et-Loire

Plan your visit to Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay, Maine-et-Loire

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

The French version of this page is at Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay (Francais)