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Medieval Travel Guide


The castle at Fougères-sur-Bièvre, with its typical cylindrical French towers, is a perfect example of feudal architecture. It is very different from the somptuos Loire Valley castles, due to its sobre, powerful architecture.

The Medieval Castle at Fougères
The Medieval Castle at Fougères-sur-Bièvre

How to get there:

There are two ways to organize your visit:

By Train: Stay in Paris and take the TGV to Tours, a 70 minutes journey. The round trip (aller-retour) is 28 Euros.

Recommended way: Make the city of Tours your headquarters. Staying in Tours is much better, as the hotels are cheaper and you can take your time and see everything at a more enjoyable pace. Beside this, Tours itself is a nice place to visit.

From Tours to Fougères-sur-Bièvre:

There are private Tourism companies including Fougères-sur-Bièvre in their Val de Loire minibus tours. That means that you will include the castle in a mainly Renaissance oriented tour.
The company I booked is Acco-Dispo ( and a one day tour is 49 Euros.

The Medieval Castle

Fougères-sur-Bièvre is one of the oldest seigniories in the Blois District.  The seigniory of Fougères first appeared in documents in about 1030.  The castle was destroyed by the English during the Hundred Years War, and then rebuilt in the 15th Century. The keep, the last refuge of the lord in case of attack, was built in the late 15th Century. 

In the 16th Century, the castle was refurbished to the taste of the Renaissance style, but you can still notice the medieval austerity in stark contrast with the luxury of the "Châteaux" of the Loire Valley.

The Medieval Castle at Fougères today
The Medieval Castle at Fougères-sur-Bièvre today

Overall, the construction of the castle lasted from 1450 to 1520, however it displays a considerable unity of style. The curtain wall was built around 1470, the inner courtyard being flanked by buildings dating back to 1450 - 1475. Their doorways are elegantly ornamented with Gothic pediments. The Guard room is a little unusual in the sense it has direct access to the courtyard. The castle was finished in the early 16th Century, when decorative elements of the Renaissance were added around 1510 - 1520 by Jean de Villebresme, who carried out alternations work at the castle. Despite the new architectural elements belonging to the Renaissance art, its layout is a military one, and it remains a late Middle Ages castle par excellence.

Over the next centuries, the castle lost some of its military elements, as moats were filled, the drawbridge was removed and openings were enlarged.

The castle illustrates the building techniques in the region, especially by the choice of materials. For the walls, calcareous ragstone hard limestone from Beauce was used. A softer, white stone, tufa, from the banks of the Cher was used for all the moulded and sculptured parts.

In the following centuries openings were enlarged, the moats filled in and the drawbridge removed. The State acquired the castle in 1932 and restored it between 1933 and 1937.

Enjoy your vacation!

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