The French province of Brittany boasts natural beauty, including a wild coastline and endless forests. The local culture is based on proud traditions and delicious cuisine, and the locals will be more than happy to show and tell you all about their region. The atmosphere of mysticism reigns here, and it is not difficult to believe in Breton magic – in your travels you can even meet fairies or spirits! This otherworldly charm extends to the castles of Brittany, from soaring clifftop fortresses to luxurious renaissance palaces.
Castles of Brittany: Castle of La Roche-Jagu
Once upon a time, in the valley through which the river Trieux flows, there were ten fortresses. Today, the castle of La Roche-Jagu, guarding the river port of Pontrieux, is the only surviving of them. Initially, it was much larger, but eveb today it remains quite impressive. The castle is surrounded by gardens built around a 300-year-old oak tree. If you want to see the surroundings of this eccentric castle in Brittany, you can take a trip on a steam locomotive along the mouth of the river.
Combourg Castle, built between the 12th and 14th centuries, became famous thanks to François René de Chateaubriand. The writer who lived here, heard the ghost of a cat and the steps of a wooden leg walking along the corridors and stairs at night. These memories of childhood inspired him to write his famous Memoirs from Beyond the Grave. Even today, some castle employees feel the presence of ghosts.
Castles of Brittany: Fort la Latte
Fort la Latte (or the castle of La Roche Goyon), built of granite, is an impressive outpost that towers on the small peninsula of Cap Fréhel since the 13th century. Despite its venerable age, it is in very good condition, and the view from its walls is simply excellent.
Built at the beginning of the 11th century, Vitré Castle protected the entrance to the Duchy of Brittany. Successive barons expanded the fortress. Converted into a prison in the 19th century, the outpost was again modified and restored after it was classified as a historical monument in 1872. Now it houses the Vitré town hall and a museum. Be sure to walk along the powerful ancient walls and pay attention to the triangular layout and semicircular towers.
Castles of Brittany: Château de Kérouzéré
This granite outpost was built in the first half of the 15th century in a place where it was dangerously attacked by the British. The castle was besieged during the French Wars of Religion at the end of the 16th century, while most of it was destroyed, but was later restored. The complex has a lawn and a luxurious flower garden.
Castle of Fougeres
This huge castle seems to have descended from the pages of French fairy tales. Surrounded by gray stone ramparts and round towers, it is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe, built to defend the then independent Duchy of Brittany from invaders. The ancient city of Fougères, with its medieval half-timbered buildings, is almost as charming as the castle itself, so it’s worth taking the time to explore it as well.
Castles of Brittany: De Suscinio Castle
De Suscinio Castle, built between the 13th and 15th centuries, was one of the residences of the Duke of Brittany. Situated on the Rhuys Peninsula, in a privileged location close to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Morbihan, the castle is surrounded by marshes, which are famous for their exceptional fauna and flora.
There are quite a few castles in Brittany, but one of the most interesting is Josselin Castle. The medieval outpost is located on the banks of the Oust river and has been the seat of the Rohan family for centuries. Inside, you can see many sights from different periods, including a 16th-century fireplace, a 17th-century library with over three thousand books, and a 19th-century dining room.
Castles of Brittany: Château de Trécesson
While Château de Trécesson has an interesting history, the tales and legends of ghosts are sure to grab your attention. The outpost stands on the edge of the Brocéliande Forest and is considered the home of the White Lady. Legend has it that a young bride, thrown into a grave and buried alive, roams the roof of the castle by the light of a full moon. It is also said that ghostly gamblers appear in the castle at night. Maybe it’s good that the castle is closed to the public…
Pontivy Castle, also known as the Castle of the Dukes of Rohan, is one of the last fortifications built in Brittany. It also has an intriguing place in recent history, as it was here that the Breton National Party tried to declare independence in 1940. Once there was another castle in its place, but it was destroyed by the British during the War of Succession in 1342.