The Chateau de Brissac is a privately owned home that has been in the same family since 1502 – May 26th to be precise! It was bought by a French lord by the name of Brissac and it’s lived in today by his descendants. This chateau, the tallest in France, is set in gorgeous grounds in the town of Brissac-Quincé. It’s not far from Angers in the departement of Maine-et-Loire, Loire Valley. It’s a whopping seven storeys high – teeming with towers and chocolate box pretty.
Insanely gorgeous chateau B&B
At 157 feet high (48 metres) this chateau is officially the tallest in France and is known as ‘the Giant of the Loire Valley’.
“There are many good things about living here” says the current inhabitant, the friendly Marquis de Brissac, “one of them being that the town is on the doorstep. It’s a lovely town where you can find a friendly bar with great beer!”
The chateau is undoubtedly imposing and grand. Inside, history oozes from its thick stone, tapestry covered walls. But it’s also very much lived in and not just by this likeable family – they offer what must be one of the most prestigious B&Bs in the world. If you’ve ever hankered to feel like a king or queen then here’s your chance to try it out! In the castle there are two enormous suites with stunning four poster beds, ancient wooden flooring and furnished with antiques, tapestries and gorgeous furnishings. And – they’re set aside for paying guests.
Breakfast is supplied by the Marquis who nips to the local boulangerie to buy fresh croissants and pastries. But the best part is that you’re able to wander at will through the chateau and enjoy it in all its glory. From the grand salon to the private theatre and many other rooms, guests are able to appreciate this place in a way that’s unique and a true privilege.
A Very Grand Home
“It’s not easy to say how many rooms there are” muses the Marquis. “Some are very small some are very large. There are about 200, maybe more – depending on how you look at it”.
From the windows of the ground floor grand salon with its comfy sofas and grand piano you can see the vineyards from which the family make wine. Family photos line the piano and there’s one of the late British Queen Mother too. I tell the Marquis they have a photo of her at the Chateau du Lude not too far away. He tells me she loved France and made many private visits. She must have been a fun guest I think. Years ago I worked in a bank which looked after her pension which was secretly called “the Queen Mums Gin Fund”!
Another photo is of the Marquis’ wife a former ballet dancer with the Vienna ballet, in it she is being held aloft by a male dancer in tights. “Not by me” the Marquis says hastily. In the chapel is his wife’s wedding dress and press cuttings showing their fairy tale wedding.
The chateau is rumoured to be one of the most haunted in France. Former owner in the 15th century, Jacques Brézé caught his wife with her lover. He ran them both through with his sword, pinning their souls forever between the castle walls, it’s said you can hear their sighs on a dark night…
Christmas at the Chateau de Brissac
Christmas is a special time here at the Chateau. It hosts one of the oldest Christmas markets in the west of France and certainly one of the most original. The castle is beautifully decorated and artisans and food producers tempt with delicious gifts, food and wine.
The chateau has a lovely tea room and can host the most amazing parties and wedding receptions (what a dream venue!). There’s a wine cellar where you can do a tasting and buy delicious wine and local produce and gifts. I’d recommend you allow at least two hours here to appreciate everything there is to see. And don’t forget to leave extra time for the gorgeous gardens.
It’s a beautiful castle with a long heritage and uniquely tall among the many Loire Valley Chateaux and utterly charming.
Details for visits and that exquisite B&B at: www.chateau-brissac.fr
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