The castle of Plessis-Bourré is rebuilt since 1468 on the basis of middle Ages fortress, the castle of the Plessis-le-vent, is bought in 1462 per Jean Bourré, Minister of Finance and right-hand man of Louis XI. The construction of the castle is spread out over 5 years. We are likely to admire this masterpiece almost in his initial state of 1473.
Of square form, it is confined round towers with the angles, whose highest had vocation of keep. This tower, army of machicolations and decorated with subtle trefoil reasons, such as we can see in the castle of Langeais or with the castle of Chaumont-sur-Loire, is conceived like a strengthened tiny room which can be insulated and is near to the home of Jean Bourré.
Defensive apparatus of the castle is impressive besides: double drawbridges (always in operating state), broad ditches and covered way.
The modifications made by Jean Bourré.
With the origin, the principal main building was higher than the others and its ground floor was stripped openings, because of the defensive function of the unit.
But the castle of Plessis-Bourré for the matter is subject to the influence of the renaissance; High mullioned windows, bored to light the large rooms, appear at the 17th century, while the comfort of the home is improved and that rich person decorations come brightened an interior which accommodated several kings of France, of which in particular, Louis XI then Charles VIII.
Jean Bourré manages to reconcile the concerns of defence still quite real in this end of 15th century, and the will to give up an ostentatious military apparatus. He gives up in particular the continuous machicolations, laid out more to frighten the attackers that to be effective. Only the entry, not sensitive on the defensive level, and the main tower keep system of defence.
Jean Bourré makes lower the wing which leads home to the vault that it will make build a few years later. He thus takes the opposite course to the choices made for Langeais of which he has in load the construction and of which the defensive elements are marked.
When the visitor crosses the square tower of the entry, its glance goes towards the main building located at the bottom of the court served by two exterior staircases. Decorations, of inspiration renaissance, made foliage carved under the support of the windows, announce the stages reserved for the noble ones.
One reaches on the floor by the principal staircase which, on the right, is recognized with its greater height and its surmounted door of an arch in accordance. The stage shelters traditional the large room, the public part of the medieval home. Simple cords of oak decorate the chimney there.
The following rooms are of dimension more restricted and more private. You will notice the splendid coffered ceiling out of painted wooden of colours sharp which decorates the first room on the left of the large room. This ornament was carried out in 1505 on the orders of Jean Bourré just a year before his death.
The last room, at the end of the wing, communicates with a second privative staircase built in south-east.
To the east there is a gallery on two levels connecting the vault, wedged in north-eastern, and the apartments, leaned with the southern curtain.
There is a few years after the construction of the home, that Jean Bourré makes build, along the enclosing wall, this gallery which surmounts a gantry. It is heated by two chimneys and carries out to the vault. To the origin it was ended in a small room which gave in the vault, and which allowed, to Jean Bourré and his family, to attend the offices into private.
This gallery is very interesting on the architectural level. The presence of the two chimneys constitutes the index that, more than one crossing point, this true part was a place of life; « a crossing point where one stops » according to the formula of Andre Chastel.
Located following the home, it formed integral part of the space private of the lord of the manor. Was it inspired by the gallery of King Rene and the oratory which opens by arcades on the vault of the castle of Angers? It is extremely probable because Jean Bourré was named governor of the castle of Angers in 1480. Obviously this part of the castle of Plessis-Bourré orders the distribution of the building about 1500.
Until our days.
Plessis Bourré crossed the centuries without too many damage. It was the theatre of a rapid skirmish during the Wars of religion, and crossed the Revolution without too many degradations. Its owner of the time, the Count de Ruillé, was however guillotined in Angers.
In 1911, Mr Vaïsse, senator, grandfather of the current owners, take possession of it. Great amateur of art, he gives again with the castle his original image and the piece of furniture with taste.
During the First World War, the castle of Plessis Bourré was requisitioned in order to be used as military hospital, then crossed the Second World War without damage, in spite of the fact that it was used by American as embassy.
In 1955, from now on property of Mr Reille-Soult, Duke of Dalmatie and nephew of Mr Vaïsse, the castle opens its doors to the public. Nowadays, its descendants, represented by the family of Antoinette and Bruno de Sauvebeuf who live all the year, give the responsibility to preserve its authentic and family character.
The castle is entirely furnished. It results from this an unequalled atmosphere in the major part of the Loire castles.