Built as early as in the 11th century, Chateau de Brissac is a haunted castle in west-central France. According to the legend, one of the previous residents of the castle caught his wife with another man and murdered them both. These days, the castle serves as a hotel where multiple paranormal activities such as eerie sounds, slight touches, ghostly sightings, and wailing throughout the halls are frequently reported by the guests.
The château was originally built as a castle by the Counts of Anjou in the 11th century. After the victory over the English by King Philip II of France, he gave the property to Guillaume des Roches. In the 15th century, the structure was rebuilt by Pierre de Brézé, a wealthy chief minister to King Charles VII of France. During the reign (1515–47) of King Francis I, the property was acquired by René de Cossé, who was named by the King as governor of Anjou and Maine.
During the French Wars of Religion, the château was made a possession in 1589 by the Protestant leader, Henry of Navarre. Severely damaged, the fortress was scheduled to be demolished. However, Charles II de Cossé sided with Henry of Navarre, who soon was crowned King of France. In gratitude, King Henry gave him the property, the title Duke of Brissac and the money to rebuild the château in 1611.
Its construction made it the tallest château in France, and its façade reflects the influences of the 17th century’s Baroque architecture. Through marriage, the Cossé-Brissac family also acquired the Château Montreuil-Bellay, but later sold it.
In August 1620, King Louis XIII and his mother, Marie de Medici, met to discuss their differences in the “neutral” territory of the Château de Brissac. A temporary truce between the two was reached, but it did not last long, and the Queen Mother was eventually banished.
The descendants of the first Duke of Brissac maintained the château until 1792, when the property was ransacked during the French Revolution. It lay in waste until a restoration program began in 1844 and was carried on by subsequent Dukes of Brissac.
The château today
Today, the Château de Brissac is still owned by the Cossé-Brissac family. The property is currently managed by Charles-André de Cossé-Brissac, Marquis of Brissac (b. 1962), who is the eldest son of François de Cossé-Brissac, the current Duke of Brissac (b. 1929).
The château has seven stories altogether, making it the tallest château in the Loire Valley. The château is open to the public for tours and overnight stays in its guest rooms, and the luxurious gilded theater hosts the annual Val de Loire festival. It was also used until recently as a location for Brazilian celebrity magazine “Caras”.
In popular culture
During the mid 1990s, the château was prominently featured as the temporary stadium for the Iron Chef French Battles, of the original Japanese Iron Chef television show. Two battles were staged at the Château de Brissac and aired in Japan on April 12, 1996. The first battle, with theme ingredient salmon, was between Bernard Leprince and Iron Chef Japanese Koumei Nakamura, and it was won by Leprince. At the time, Leprince was the chef at La Tour d’Argent in Paris. The second battle was between Pierre Gagnaire and Iron Chef French Hiroyuki Sakai, with theme ingredient lobster, and it was won by Gagnaire.