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Château de Bessay
Situated on the limits of the bocage and the plaine at the confluence of the river Smagne and the River Lay in beautiful and peaceful countryside is the magnificent Château de Bessay.
The Château de Bessay is a group of buildings of differing architectural
styles and ages that fit together to form a harmonious and utterly
charming estate. Dating from the Renaissance with additions in the XV11
century this château was home to the Bessay family who were well
connected and in favour with the Kings of France.
The Round tower, which is the centre piece of the Château, was built in
1577. It is an elegant 24 meter tower with a perimeter of 34 meters
which was most probably built on the foundations of an ancient medieval
fortress. It comprises 5 floors and a cellar, has magnificently
decorated renaissance fireplaces, a spiral staircase of 100 steps and is
surmounted by a machicoulis walkway. It was in this tower that the
future Henry 1V stayed while visiting the area.
The Columbier Tower built in the 15th century is a squared pigeon house
of enormous proportions, it originally had a domed roof but due to
neglect this collapsed along with a large section of the main wall. The
tower was restored in 2002 and still contains many of the original 3200
pigeon holes (putlogs). (and when you consider that) In medieval times
you were only aloud to have one pigeon hole for every one hectare of
land you owned, so this pigeon loft is an indication of just how large
this estate was.
The other tower on this site is often referred to as the Pavilion, and it is typical of the medieval towers of the region.
The loges which join the towers together date from the 17th and 18th
century. In 1866 a third floor was added to the loges with 12 stone
windows and a slate roof giving the property a feeling of real wealth.
Habitation of the Château stopped in 1918 and the buildings fell into
disrepair and by the 1980's it was almost a ruin. Thankfully the Château
has now been restored to most of its former glory. The loges have been
returned to their original two floors with a tiled roof and it is
without doubt one of the nicest châteaux in the Vendée.
See images of the chateau Blessay
see Video of Chateau de Bessay
Open: 16th July to 29thAugust everyday except Sundays & Wednesdays.
15th 13h to 18h & 16th September 11h to 18h (2012)
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