Its appearance is that of a charming medieval fortress, distinguishable from the great châteaux of the Loire by its lack of ostentation, in spite of the embellishments added during the Renaissance.

The ideal fortress

The castle of Fougères-sur-Bièvre was built in the late 15th century and has all the characteristics of an ideal fortress with its keep, the machicolated curtain wall at the entrance and its fortified gatehouse.

An authentic castle as it now stands
The castle is particularly well preserved and, in its present state, looks much as it did from 1525 to 1530 with its military façade and the civil and domestic architecture of its inner courtyard...

and its interior layout with a suite of rooms with no corridors.

The elements typical of a fortress would make perfect stage scenery
In the forecourt, the main frontage is the only part of the castle which looks typically defensive.
However, this façade is nothing but theatrical scenery, since the castle was built in the late 15th century during a time of peace.

A construction project which took its time
The castle was built by Pierre de Refuge between 1470 and 1480 and altered by Jean de Villebresme in around 1520. It acquired its definitive appearance over three generations and kept it.

Une résidence secondaire pour affirmer sa puissance
Château conçu pour recevoir, son architecture gothique défensive permet à Pierre de Refuge d’affirmer son statut social et son appartenance à la noblesse française.

The various spaces, from the façade to the encircling walkway
A complete tour of its nooks and crannies, from bottom to top.

The forecourt and the main frontage
Built by Pierre de Refuge, this austere and defensive frontage, 35 meters long, has two large and dissimilar corner towers and two turrets framing the main entrance, with traces of a drawbridge.

The master-tower
The master-tower has four levels surmounted by an attic and appears virtually “blind”, pierced only by loopholes for cannon which add to its defensive appearance.

Its upper floors contain the bedrooms of the lord of the manor and his family. The tower is served by an external spiral staircase in the southern corner of the courtyard.

The round tower and the west wing
Equally monumental as the master-tower, but less massive, the round tower has all the architectural features of the great gothic châteaux of the 15th century. ts general austerity is relieved by the unusually decorative treatment of the crenellations of its encircling walkway.

The curtain wall at the entrance: encircling walkway and covered gallery
Crowning the curtain wall, a machicolated encircling walkway, with some narrow passages, links the master-tower to the round tower without interruption. The covered stone gallery replaced an earlier wooden passageway.

The main courtyard
The picturesque main courtyard, opposite and to the right of the entrance, presents two main blocks, the oldest parts of the castle, built between 1450 and 1475.

The arcaded gallery
An important area in the life of the castle, the gallery with its surbased arcades links two rooms, providing shelter and making it possible to converse while walking.

It is somewhat similar to the covered gallery in the château of Blois.

The main accommodation block
The main accommodation block was built at the same time as the reception room block in order to close the courtyard and is served by a spiral staircase.
Built over an old ditch which had been filled in, the two stories each contain two soberly decorated rooms.

The reception room block at the end of the courtyard
Annexed to the entrance frontage, this block affirms that the owner of the property was a good host.

It enabled reunions of friends and family as well as balls and banquets to be held and accommodated the castle’s staff.

The frameworks
The framework, 80% of it original

80% of the frameworks of the castle of Fougères-sur-Bièvre are original.

They were built without metal fixing devices, representing true technical prowess considering their size.

Even more impressive is the framework resembling an upturned boat in the upper great room, not to mention the framework of the encircling walkway.

The river Bièvre and the romantic garden in the medieval style

Crossed by the river Briève, the garden, medieval in its inspiration, consists of square or rectangular formal flower beds...

...combined with “wooden boxes” where herbs, simples and vegetables are grown.

Rearranged to give pleasure, the garden is a haven of peace beside the Bièvre.

The plants grown in the garden provided not only food but were also used for washing (soapwort, beet juice) and for personal care (bedstraw, lavender and tansy).

Château of Fougères-sur-Bièvre
Credits: Story

This virtual exhibition has been put together by teams from the Centre des monuments nationaux, with the help of teams from the château de Fougères-sur-Bièvre, the support of teams from the images unit and coordination by the digital unit.

The images were taken from Regards - Banque d’images des monuments © Centre des monuments nationaux.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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