If Montresor is, by its extent, the smallest commune of Touraine with less than one km2 of surface, it is also one of the most beautiful villages to the picturesque streets frame in the protective shade of its powerful castle which dominates top the vain valley of Indrois. The village of Montresor is classified among « the Most beautiful Villages of France ».
In this fairy-like decoration, the name of the commune inevitably evokes some legendary origin and each one knows here the beautiful history of these two knights who rested at the edge of Indrois and who suddenly transfer to leave the anfractuosity of a rock a small covered lizard « of a gold armour ». The knights precipitated at once towards the rock in which an underground opened in which they discovered a sumptuous treasure.
The truth is more prosaic: the stronghold of Montrésor concerned formerly the Treasurer of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Tours from where its name of « Mons Thesauri » to Xth century becoming « Monthésour » in the XIIIth century, and finally Montrésor.
The first known lord of Montrésor is «Roger le Petit Diable» (Roger the Little Devil), who lived in XIth century. It was contemporary of the count of Anjou, Foulques Nerra, at the sides of which it fought against the counts of Blois, and in particular Eudes of Blois. It built, at the edge of the steep slope which dominates Indrois, a first defensive keep now disappeared. This powerful fortress played an important part in the fight which opposed the count of Anjou to the counts of Blois, for the domination of Touraine.
Montrésor knew other lords well, before passing to the hands of Plantagenêt, kings of England. It is Philippe Auguste who took again the place in 1188 to them.
Jean III of Bueil, rebuilds the castle first once since 1375. Then, in 1493, Imbert de Bastarnay, lord of Stopping and Bridoré, become the owner of the chatellery of Montrésor for the sum of 6800 pounds tournaments.
Imbert, grandfather of Diane of Poitiers, faithful adviser of the kings Louis XI, Charles VII, Louis XII and François Ist, begins construction from a new home inside the strengthened enclosure. The vast residence of pleasure was to shelter the court which surrounded this great lord. It was to also be used as framework with the sumptuous festivals which it organized with the assistance of his wife, the beautiful Georgette de Montchenu, who, according to chronicles, danced with grace and played of the music with talent.
This construction was completed in 1502. It is a rectangular home of plan whose frontage on the court carries to the angles of the watch towers in corbelling. A polygonal turret of staircase shelters the staircase. The southernmost frontage, towards the valley, dominates the pointed roofs of the old borough located to its feet. Framed of two cylindrical turns crowned of machicolation, it is bored of two stages of mullioned windows surmounted by attic windows.
Imbert de Bastarnay also begins, in 1493, the construction of collegial which will be completed by its Rene grandson.
As of the XVIIth century, Montrésor changes several times of owners, to belong successively to Charles of Lorraine, to the lords of Bourdeilles, and to Philippe of Orleans.
A first work campaign, intervened in the years 1830, removes the vault and restores the Western part of the home.
In 1849, Xavier Branicki, wire of a famous Polish family, become the owner of the castle of Montrésor at the same time as more than 2000 ha of grounds located in the surroundings. This Polish emigrant, accompanied prince Napoleon in Constantinople, at the time of the Crimean War, and tried to form a Polish regiment. He was also an important financier who took part in the creation of a great french bank(CCF). Author of economic, political and historical works, the new lord of the manor of Montrésor was also, for the small town (of which he was the mayor from 1860 to 1870), a generous patron.
From 1849, the count Branicki almost entirely rebuilds the home of Imbert de Bastarnay, of which there remain unfortunately only the interior pinions and load-bearing walls.
Xavier Branicki, large art lover and warned collector, constituted little by little in his castle a true museum (pieces of furniture of the Italian Renaissance, hunting trophies, and also parts of goldsmithery coming from former kings of Poland).
Feudal castle of Montrésor rebuilt at the end of XIVème century, by Jean de Bueil, there does not remain, dominating Indrois, that the enclosure, the two towers decapitated and the vestiges of the door of entry Are. The two turns are connected between them by a high wall, they precede the current entry by the castle. On the other hand the fortifications which protected the place are still impressive, in particular side of the plate where were dug in the limestone of the dry ditches. Two enormous round towers, flanking a first enclosure, constitute the most spectacular element of it. Slightly in withdrawal and above, against butts which carries the castle, rises one second curtain, reinforced turns and thick buttresses. (One still sees a part of its crenels and its covered way).
New home, built by Imbert de Bastarnay, it remains almost nothing. This home presented the traditional provisions of constructions of this type at the end of XVth century: large attic windows, a staircase live about it except work in a polygonal tower.
In 1830, the vault was removed what restored the western part of the home in one state of origin.
Entirely restored and furnished, equipped with an important collection of work of art, the castle is today such as it was at the time of Xavier Branicki.
The living rooms comprise many tables, primitive Italian coming from the collection of the cardinal Fesch, uncle of Napoléon Ier, of paintings recalling the history of Poland, the portraits of family painted by Mrs Vigée-Lebrun, Winterhalter, of the low-reliefs out of wooden of the XVIIth century of Pierre Vanneau representing the battles of king of Poland Jean III Sobiski against the Othomans, of fort beautiful parts of goldsmithery belonging to kings of Poland, of the hunting trophy, of decorations and memories military, etc.
Since the castle, the sight is impregnable on the gâtines of Loches and Montrésor and its small valleys which curve between scattered forest solid masses.
The garden is discovered inside the walls of the fortress. In this small space with the medieval charm, the park offers beautiful environments of the time of the second Empire.
The terraces are staged on four levels while passing by the orangery and the wintergarden. This provision confers on the site a very picturesque seal. A collection of arborescent peonies very interesting is cultivated there.
Each level enables you to discover several aspects of the landscape. On the roof, the panorama discovers a sight on the valley of the upstream to the downstream of the village.
The visit of the castle is to be supplemented by collegial Saint Jean Baptist who is with the bottom of the castle. It was built from 1519 to 1541 in the Gothic style. This collegial forms part of a group of vaults with funerary vocation, with that of Ussé and of the Roches-Tranchelion.
With the bottom of the nave, three splendid lying of white marble, shelters the skins of Imbert de Bastarnay, his wife and their son.
In the vault of the chorus, is the Annunciation painted by Philippe de Champaigne at the 17th century.
Devoted in 1522, the collegial offer a very beautiful Renaissance decoration .
The southern door is in particular framed of two columns whose barrel is cut by a broad profiled ring. Beautiful falls decorate the ringed columns. This decorative reason which is read from top to bottom, starts with a ring to which a wire clings which carries any kind of suspended objects.
In the lower part of the one of the barrels, a bucrane – or ox head – decorated foliages hides in the sequence of the objects.
The corner piece of the arc of the door is decorated of a large skeleton which holds a scythe, not very frequent representation of died in the decorative sculpture of the first Renaissance.