24 October 2012

The château at Fougères-sur-Bièvre

Fougères-sur-Bièvre is a village just south of Blois, 20 miles north of Saint-Aignan, and the site of a 15th century château that is fairly unusual in the Loire Valley. It dates back to the years before the great Renaissance castles were built (in the 1500s), and it's in an older style.

The medieval-style château at Fougères-sur-Bièvre, near Blois

The château at Fougères-sur-Bièvre (not to be confused with the bigger town of Fougères in Brittany) looks medieval and seems to have been built so that it could easily be defended. In fact, by the time it was built (1450-1500), this part of the world was basically at peace. The Hundred Years War had ended several generations earlier.

The château is in the middle of the small village of Fougères

So the château at Fougères-sur-Bièvre was already an anachronism when it was built more than 500 years ago. A similar place, built around the same time but in brick, is the Château de Moulin, 25 miles to the southeast. (Here are two links, One and Two, to posts about that château, with photos.) One other difference, in addition to the building material used, is that Moulin still has its moat, while at Fougères the moat was filled in 150 years ago. Also, Moulin is out in the woods near the town of Romorantin, but Fougères is right in the middle of the village.

The Cadogan guide calls the courtyard at Fougères-sur-Bièvre
"wonderfully atmospheric" with its mixture of architectural styles.

The Château de Fougères was used as a mill in the 19th century before being turned into a poor house in the early 20th century. The French government acquired it in the 1930s. The Château du Moulin is still privately owned — or at least it was the last time I visited a few years ago. The woman who owned it was quite elderly and was living there (at least part-time) as late as 2005.


  1. That is a wonderful building, Ken... I love the bird cage in the first picture... was it for peacocks?

    This Chateau is more in line with the Scottish castles... I am thinking in particular the seat of Clan Munro, Foulis Castle, and another [where age has allowed the name to slide from my brain] that is over on the West coast of the Highlands...

    With this one, I think the reason that it is in the middle of the village will probably be like a Roman Vecus in that the village grew up round the castle [or fortified manor house] and in this case, it stayed. There must have always been some sort of activity up to it becoming a mill... since then, you've just documented the reason the village is there.

    Presumably it is open for visits most of the time?

  2. I'd love to visit this chateau. I've seen pictures of it a number of times. It does seem a wonderful medieval contrast to the Renaissance twiddliness.

  3. Wow, another great spot to visit! I looked at your links for the Château du Moulin, and I don't believe that I ever saw those two posts before. How unusual to see a medieval castle in brick!

    Ken, last night I made Jambon à la Chablisienne. It was great! Really easy to put together, too. Thanks for the recipe. (I made crème fraîche from heavy cream and yogurt, letting it sit for a few days to thicken.)


  4. wow that chateau is gorgeous

  5. Ken

    OT: You may have the TdeFrance closer next yr.
    The 12th stage will start in Fougères in Britanny IIRC and end in Tours ( passing near les chateaux de Langeais and Villandry) .
    The next day the 13th stage will start from Tour to end in St-Amand-Montront in the Cher, going through the Touraine and Berry countryside according to the route.

  6. Bonjour Cousine,

    Did you know that Bièvre in old French [?] means the River of the Beavers, which is now "castor" in French?

  7. I love when you post photos like these! Merci!

  8. Bonjour Cousin

    Euh non. Merci pour l'information . One learns new things everyday :-)

  9. Hi Judy, glad you liked the Jambon chablisienne. Did the cream hold up to heating without curdling? I really liked the ham and the sauce made this way.

    There's a lot of brick construction in the Sologne, and Moulin is just one example.

  10. Yes, Ken, the crème fraîche that I made held up great!

  11. Starman, il n'y a pas de quoi...


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