Ille-et-Vilaine. Economy forces, the municipality of Châteaugiron leaves the castle

Todaymayor’s office of Chateaugiron, located in the center of the 12th century castle, turned off its lights. To save energy, mainly the heating system, part of the municipal team settled in the municipal annex 500 m away. Absolutely? Maybe not, but at least for the winter period.

Often described as the most charming of the department, the Châteaugiron town hall is located in the town’s medieval castle, an unusual location that the residents are proud of! But the building became too expensive to heat to accommodate all the municipal workers, forcing them to move in the winter season.

Chateaugiron municipal team with mayor Yves Renault in the middle.

The tower is closed with a temperature of 12 degrees. “Only the director-general of services, his assistant, reception and services for civil status and social affairs, nine people, are still in the castle.” Karine Guyot, head of the communications department, explains.

The other departments (Communication, Art and Culture Center, Childhood and Youth, Associative Life), i.e. seven employees, moved to a modern, insulated and heated meeting room 500 m away from the château. “We were working in three open-level towers of 150 m2, which encouraged heat loss despite electric heating, which was insufficient at this time of year.”Karine Guyot adds. “We’ve been working from home even before the relocation project, and we all benefit from working remotely one day a week to keep a physical presence in public at all times”At the same time, the goal of reducing energy bills has already been raised, explains employee Hélène.

Mayor’s goal Yves Renault and its municipal team will save heat with an expected €15,000 long-term savings with the heating system replacement project. It was planned to replace the old oil boiler with a wood heater, the aim was to keep the town hall at the heart of the Châteaugiron heritage for the happiness of all.

The history of the castle spans centuries

In the eleventh century, Knight Anquetil Originally from Normandy (or Ansquetil), he came to Rennes in 1008. A vassal of Alain III, Duke of Brittany, he founded the seat of the new seigniory. He built his first wooden castle on land offered to him by the duke, located on a rocky hill above the river Yaigne. Anquetil died in 1039 and left his lands to his eldest son. Girona. The first gesture of this is to rebuild the castle by adding stones. After the latter’s death in 1096, his grandson Galeran succeeded, but the name Giron is now attached to the castle and the surrounding town, hence the name. Chateaugiron.

A later medieval castle was built to defend the Breton capital at the end of the Middle Ages. The commune of Châteaugiron developed around its castle in the 12th century. The castle’s architecture was inspired by the Louvre Chateau (1) built by King Philippe Auguste in Paris at the same time. Châteaugiron prospered thanks to the manufacture of hemp and linen sails.

The castle chapel of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, one of the few still visible in Brittany, dates from 1184. It is the oldest part of the fort and currently houses the 3CHA art center.

  • chapel chateaugiron 3cha
  • chateaugiron castle

The castle was renovated between 1450 and 1470 by Jean de Malestroit (who became Jean de Derval after his mother’s death), soldier and great Breton bibliophile, baron of Brittany and since 1450 husband of Helen de Laval born in Ploermel (1450). 56) and grandson of Charles V of France. The childless couple lived in the castle since 1467. It was at this time that Jean de Derval’s private secretary, Pierre Le Baud, wrote. Chronicles and stories of the BretonsBrittany’s first great date, at the request of Queen Anne of Brittany, would later become chaplain.

At that time, this castle had six towers, a bridged entrance gate and a magnificent house.

Center Hélène de Laval – Pierre le Baud (left) presents a book on the history of Brittany to her husband Jean de Derval (right).

After the death of Jean de Derval, who had no heirs in 1482, the seigniory passed into the hands of several great families: the counts of Rieux, Laval, then Cosse-Brissac. The construction of a fortified castle led to the creation of a castral village. It forms an economic pole and a place of exchange for the rural parishes of the seigneurs.

From 1589, Chateaugiron will go through a dark period due to the wars of the League and the Duke of Mercoeur. The castle was then the scene of many clashes during the religious wars in the 16th century. Until 1594, the small town was constantly overwhelmed by the passage of soldiers who looted, looted, massacred and destroyed the houses.

In the 17th century, the transformations were carried out by the engineer-architect and the Marquis de Vauban. Sebastien Le Prestre. The residence was renovated and expanded in the French architectural style, and one of the corner towers was replaced by a pavilion with a wooden gallery connected by a walkway. Large gardens have also been landscaped.

Guided tour of the Châteaugiron Clock Tower of Châteaugiron Castle
Clock tower of Châteaugiron Castle Châteaugiron Castle

The Cosse-Brissac Chateaugiron does not care about his descendants either. They sold it in 1701 René Le Prestre, general counselor of the Great Council, seneschal of the presidial of Rennes, mortar president of the parliament and treasurer of the states of Brittany. He has restored the castle to this day, preserving the medieval remains.

The revolution will not change anything in the habits of Le Prestre de Châteaugiron. In 1794, the Le Prestre family donated the donjon and the Clock Tower to the municipality and left it for good. Chateaugiron after selling all his property he settled in Argenteuil near Paris. Hippolyte, the last descendant, died without issue in 1802 after a brilliant military and diplomatic career in Europe. With him died the last lord of Châteaugiro.

Today, four of the six towers that cap the castle still stand: the 38m-high donjon, originally independent of the castle, dominates the town – the Clock Tower, which once served as a bell and where Henriette still rings today, has been a symbol of the medieval town since 1666 the venerable bell that highlights his life – the Guet and Cardinal towers, built by Jean de Derval and guarding the walkway equipped with battlements.

In 2007, the chapel was restored and fragmentary wall paintings from the 7th to 17th centuries were discovered in the nave and nave. It now houses the 3CHA art center, which offers temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.

3 cha chateaugiron
Exhibition view Liz West, les 3CHA art center, Châteaugiron

The Gourdel Museum, dedicated to the sculptors Julien and Pierre Gourdel from Châteaugiron, is located in the castle’s vault.

In the heart of Châteaugiron, a small town of Brittany’s character, the castle is classified as a Historic Monument and is protected in its entirety by the 1913 Law on Historic Monuments. It has two aspects: an amazingly strongly fortified castle. towers and a less austere, 18th-century bastion of pleasure.

The city’s Tourist Office offers tours of the castle, including climbing the 100 steps to discover the Clock Tower’s mechanism.

Practical information

The castle can only be visited with a guide: ask the Tourist Office at 02 99 37 89 02 or

(1) It served to protect the enclosed city built around the Château du Louvre in Paris. The fortified castle was gradually demolished to make way for the Louvre Palace.

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