Archive for the ‘Brittany’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Visiting the Château de Combourg in Brittany

For all those who are fans of the works of Rene de Châteaubriand, one can understand how a dwelling can overshadow a genius’ mental psyche and writings. Well, it must have been the gloomy atmosphere of the Château, (23, Rue des princes 35 270 Combourg) which made Châteaubriand’s mother a depressive and his father, such an autocratic tyrant. The Château de Combourg which dates back to 1016 is one of those overpowering fortresses, the likes of which pepper France.
One wonders why people get to see just overhead views of the Château on postcards; that is because a frontal view is definitely not going to do justice to its magnificent austere splendor.

Chateau de Combourg

Chateau de Combourg

Power and strength does not automatically mean comfort in buildings, so even though the towers are impressive, do not expect the interior to be as glamorous as the staterooms of Versailles. Nevertheless, the rooms of François- René de Châteaubriand are very well preserved as a monument to an age of gracious living, but terrible childhoods endured by aristocratic children. He spent his childhood in a really austere room, in the Cat tower. One wonders the sort of childhood he had living in the room with a black mummified cat in it. Talk about Gothic and weird atmospheres with the hint of witches and their familiars! Naturally, you would want to visit the dungeon. In his memoirs, Les Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe, Châteaubriand talks about his sister Lucile who had a habit of praying at a stone cross in the garden over which a Poplar grew. Her mother was enchanted with this display of a Christian of the primitive church, with the remnants of paganry in her spiritual make-up!

This Château is a listed historical building.You can visit it throughout the week, except on Saturdays and only in the summer – between 1 April to 1 October –. The timings are from 2 to 5:30. You cannot visit the Château during the winter, which means from 1 November to 31 March. After that, you can come out and take a fresh breath in the huge park, which extends up to 22,000 ha. One small point – the guide can speak only French, so take your interpreter along if you are not bilingual! So enjoy your visit to the Château de Combourg in Brittany.