Do you know where does the name Brissac come from? It comes from the French Brise-Sac, ″Break bag″. Because in the past, we had windmills galore near Brissac. And one of the millers had a bad reputation… the boor ripped the cereal bags intended to his customers and took a little for him… so, it gave the name Brise-Sac!
A first fortress was raised in the 11th century for the count of Anjou Foulques Nerra. A wooden castle, nothing more… In 1435, Pierre de Brézé, Charles VII’s minister, owned the old castle and added two towers. But Pierre died at the battle of Montlhéry.
A new Brézé turned up. Who? Pierre’s son, Jacques! He moved in Brissac, yes, but not for a long time… One day of 1476, he caught his wife, Charlotte de Valois, with her lover! Ahh, poor Charlotte… she was the daughter of king Charles VII and his mistress Agnès Sorel! So pretty, so sweet, too much for a rough and jealous lord like this… Completely mad, he killed his wife! Jacques never came back. But Charlotte was condemned to roam in the castle: a ghost who appeared only during storms, at night...
So, no more Brézé in Brissac. Who was next? The Cossé! In 1502, René de Cossé, Charles VIII’s chamberlain, owned the estate. The war of Religion let the castle in an appalling condition! Cossé’s grandson, Charles de Brissac restored ″a brand new castle, half-raised, in an old castle, half-destroyed″. He raised a real palace, with 7 storeys and 200 gorgeous rooms! Hey, a real palace, yes, but mister de Cossé-Brissac was duke of Brissac and marshal of France… it’s no small thing!
You know what? In 1594, during war of Religion, Charles fought with king Henri IV in the siege of Paris. Henri negotiated the surrender: no slaughters, not a single blow! Everything was fine between Catholics and Protestants. Relieved, the Parisian started to sing: ″Paris, you’re saved! Your governor Brissac kept you away from the sack, from the shards (bris et sac in French)″!
Charles died in 1621 and the castle was not completed… Only a half was raised. Louis, Charles’ son ended the building work. During the French Revolution, the building was damaged. But restorations in the 19th century gave it its glamour of yesteryear!
Among the famous owners in the 19th century, we had Anne de Mortemart, duchess of Uzès: one of her daughter married a Cossé-Brissac. So… what about this lady? Anne was the grand-grand-daughter of the famous Veuve Clicquot! So that’s why we can see her portrait, in the castle...
Louis XIII and his mum Marie of Medici met in the castle of Brissac in 1620. A meeting ″full of tears and hugs″, says the history! Louis hated his mother, we know that. But the feelings was mutual! She was exiled because she plotted against her son… After years and years of struggles, they had to make peace! This day, Louis arrived near Marie’s carriage, on his horse, pretty cheerful. He even took her in his arms, laughing!
″- I hold you, Madam, now I won’t let you go!″ Whoa, so touching… The reconciliation took place in Judith’s bedroom.