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Chateau Plessis-Bourre visitor guide

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Visit Chateau Plessis-Bourre, France

The Chateau Plessis-Bourre is a pretty castle surrounded by water, situated to the north of Angers in the Maine-et-Loire department. Note that the castle is in the village of Ecuillé, not Plessis-Bourré!

Exploring the Chateau of Plessis-Bourré

The castle was constructed between 1468-1472 by Jean Bourré (financial advisor to King Louis XI), using a medieval castle that previously stood here as a starting point. In the decades following its construction the castle was one of the most important in the Loire Valley and both Louis XI and Charles VIII stayed at the Chateau of Plessis-Bourré.

View of castle across wide moat

The Chateau of Plessis-Bourré combines a defensive purpose - this can be seen in the wide moat crossed by a drawbridge and the design of the corner towers - and design elements that were incorporated to make the accommodation more comfortable to live in - as suggested by the remainder of the external structure and also the layout and decor inside the castle.

This style, that incorporates both medieval and renaissance aspects, is known as the 'transition' style. In the decades to follow most castles in the Loire were to abandon the defensive capabilities.

Apart from quite minor alterations little has changed in the external appearance of the castle since its original construction, which is very unusual among the chateaux of the Loire (although some of the windows, for example, were added later during the renaissance). The castle is roughly square, with a tower in each corner, and surrounds an interior courtyard.

Chateau Plessis-Bourre also escaped important damage during the Wars of Religion and the French revolution. As a consequence of this, and the working drawbridges, the moat and the dungeons, the castle has featured in several period films.

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Visiting the Chateau of Plessis-Bourre

The moats and gardens around the castle create a very picturesque sight, and the Chateau du Plessis-Bourré is among the most attractive of the Loire castles. The drawbridge is still operational, and leads visitors to an imposing entrance.

You will notice that the between the moat and the castle walls there is a terrace all the way around the outside of the castle: this is quite an unusual feature and ws designed to allow soldiers to defend the castle at ground level as well as from the castle walls.

Broadly square in design, the castle features substantial round towers at each corner and the main accommodation between the towers is around an interior courtyard. Inside, the castle also has a great deal of interesting furniture, tapestries and paintings, with elements from each century since its construction.

The interior especially appears more suited to high living than hand to hand fighting, with rooms decorated in luxurious 16th-18th century styles, grand bedchambers and an impressive library.

One particular highlight of a visit is the magnificent carved and painted ceiling in the Salle des Gardes - the most controversial elements of the ceiling represent the symbols of alchemy at the time. You will also see the medieval Grand Reception room, the Library and Saint-Anne's Chapel, among others.

Pretty view of the Chateau de Plessis-Bourré

Visitor information

You can visit on your own with a sheet of information or as part of a guided tour. Entrance costs around 10 euros. The Chateau du Plessis-Bourré is closed from 1 December to mid February, open afternoons only in low season and from 10:00 to 18:00 from April to September (although closed Mondays and Tuesday mornings).

Attractions nearby

Here in the west of the Loire Valley the main town is Angers, about 15 kilometres south of Plessis-Bourré and a vibrant small city with a historic old town, a castle, a cathedral and the Apocalypse tapestry among its highlights.

Another castle close to here is the Chateau de Brissac, and if you travel east along the Loire river you reach the town of Saumur and several other Loire Valley castles.

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 Plessis-Bourre and places nearby

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The French version of this page is at Chateau Plessis-Bourre (Francais)

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