©Martin Argyroglo/LVAN - Musée d’histoire de Nantes-Château of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes ©Martin Argyroglo/LVAN - Musée d’histoire de Nantes-Château of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes ©Martin Argyroglo/LVAN - Château of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes ©Patricia Bassen/LVAN - Château of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes ©Patricia Bassen/LVAN - Château of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes
Château des Ducs de Bretagne de Nantes
Château des Ducs de Bretagne de Nantes
Château des Ducs de Bretagne de Nantes
Château des Ducs de Bretagne de Nantes
Château des Ducs de Bretagne de Nantes
Château des Ducs de Bretagne de Nantes
Château des Ducs de Bretagne de Nantes
Château des Ducs de Bretagne de Nantes
Château des Ducs de Bretagne de Nantes
Château des Ducs de Bretagne de Nantes

Fortress and Palace

The Château of the Dukes of Brittany is the oldest monument in the town with the Cathedral.

On the town side, it is a fortress with a 500 meter (1/3 mile) sentry walk and seven towers connected by curtain walls.

On the courtyard side, it is a ducal palace (15th century) made of tufa stone in Renaissance style, along with other buildings from the 16th and 18th century. All of these buildings, with their white stone, elegance, and sculpted refinement, contrast with the roughness of the external walls which are made of granite blocks separated by layers of schist.

History of the monument

The monument is the work of François II, the last duke of independent Brittany. He wished to turn the Château into a fortress for military defense against royal power and a main residence for the ducal court.

The embellishments were continued by his daughter, Anne of Brittany (twice queen of France), and successively by Charles VIII and Louis XII. Testifying to this are the various sculpted decorations (dormer windows of the main ducal residence, the coat of arms, and loggias of the Golden Crown tower) marked by the first influences of the Italian Renaissance.

After the integration of Brittany into France in 1532, the Château of the Dukes of Brittany became the Breton residence for the kings of France. It was later used as barracks, a military arsenal, and a prison in the 16th and 17th centuries.

For three centuries, the château experienced a multitude of alterations and also some damage: added fortifications, a fire in 1670, an explosion in 1800…

The château was listed as a historical monument in 1862, and was later sold by the state to the town of Nantes in 1915. It then become a town museum in 1924. During World War II, the German occupation troops erected a bunker on the site. In 1992, the château was restored on the initiative of the town over a period of 15 years.

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