The guided tour traces the castle’s history from mediaeval times to the present day. It starts in the courtyard in front of the magnificent Renaissance facade, witness to the many changes of fortune this historic building seen over the centuries. Following this introduction, the tour moves inside.
During the second half of the 19th century, Alain and Herminie de Rohan, the current owners' great-grandparents, devoted their whole lives to the restoration of this beautiful dwelling, the ancestral seat of the Rohans and still their family home. The refurbishment began around 1860 under the direction of Jules de la Morandière, a pupil of Viollet-le-Duc (an architect famous for his restorations of mediaeval buildings). De la Morandière himself was passionate about the neo-gothic style.
You will visit all the public rooms on the ground floor, where you will discover a treasure trove of family memorabilia, beautiful furniture, great portraiture by distinguished artists and numerous antiques.
A life-size, equestrian statue of Olivier de Clisson, Constable of France, dominates the dining room which was refurbished around 1880. This impressive work was created in 1892 by the internationally renowned sculptor Emmanuel Frémiet, famous for his gilded statue of Joan of Arc in Paris.
Moving into the ante-chamber, you will discover a fine portrait of Duke Henri de Rohan, commander of the Protestant forces during the 17th century wars of religion. Following the destruction of the castle on the orders of Cardinal Richelieu in 1629, the Cardinal famously accosted de Rohan at court, saying “Monsieur le Duc, I have just thrown a fine ball amongst your skittles". In fact, Richelieu’s forces had just demolished the keep and several towers.
Passing through the hall, you will arrive in the drawing room, the centrepiece of which is a superb granite chimneypiece. It dates from the beginning of the 16th century and bears the Rohan family motto “A plus” (No more, no better). Painted and gilded during the 19th century restoration, within the loop of the “P” you will see a man’s head, which may be that of the Duke Jean II. Other carved figures of men and animals illustrate a hunting theme.
Alain and Herminie de Rohan's visionary project authentically restored the form of the mediaeval fortress and ducal palace, creating the setting for yet another development in the castle's thousand year history: the glorious 19th century interior.