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Chateau de Fougerestourist information guide
Address: Château de Fougeres, Place Pierre Symon, Fougeres, 35300
Tel: 00 33 (0)2 99 94 88 67
Opening Times: daily | Admission Charge
Fougeres is an impressive fortress castle which lies in the valley below the town. Town and castle are still linked by the mighty ramparts built between the 11th and 15th century. To obtain a birdseye view of the castle, head to the gardens of Place aux Arbres which nestle behind the 16th-century Eglise de Leonard. From here, you'll be able to see the castle's seemingly endless outer fortifications. Indeed, the construction of Fougeres was a huge undertaking.
It was the Romans, on their way from Bayeux to Rennes and Chartres who first laid claim to Fougeres. They built a simple but well defended donjon on a rocky promontory that lay at the bottom of the Nancon valley.
The seigneurs of Fougeres later took possession of the castle in the 11th century. However, when Henri II married Eleanor of Aquitaine 100 years later, the castle fell under English rule. Henri had already acquired much of Normandy and Aquitaine. Brittany seemed like easy prey and it did not take much to oust Raoul II who had begun to mount a resistance army against the English intruder. Henri succeeded in destroying much of Fougeres.
Raoul II, however, was not to be kept down and reconstructed much of the vast fortress we see today. Further construction was instigated by Jeanne de Fougeres, the only daughter of Raoul III in 1256. The Melusine and Gobelin towers were constructed along with fortified ramparts and gates which led to a period of stability for the town.
From 1307, Philippe le Bel, King of France, confiscated Fougeres and it became the property of Kings. Once again, war intervened and ownership passed to Jean de Montfort (supported by the English) during the 100 years war.
The 16th century saw Fougeres at the centre of further battles, most notably in 1488 when French troops brought the castle back under French rule. This prompted the end of Breton independence from mainland France.
Even the 20th century has seen much war and strife for Fougeres. It was
occupied by the German army in 1940 for four years until the Anglo-American
invasion of 1944. As you can see, a trip to Fougeres is really a journey
through France's military past.