Should a medieval castle have double glazing and central heating? While the chateaus Bois Thibault and Bois Frou are a long way off that kind of renovation the main Chateau de Lassay has been continuously occupied for generations. Opened to the public after WWII it has undergone extensive repair works in the intervening years.
It has eight round towers with machicolated curtain walls, a barbican, and the drawbridge was recently restored into working order. Masons continue to shore up the walls while carpenters replace tower roofs. It is open for tours in the late spring through to early autumn with one tower for tourists to walk around. There is a traditional short bed from the period on display, and a kitchen set up on the ground floor.
Within the central courtyard is ‘the oldest holly tree in the Mayenne.’ The Southern towers are the ones with the double glazing, but due to its military design none of them are very large, or look like they have very good views. If I lived next to this pond I think I might prefer to live in the house next door to the castle!
This tower is next on the list for renovations. It needs a new roof and the stone outcrop below has suffered deterioration due to the ingress of tree roots and water. It makes me grateful for the much smaller renovaton job that is our own home!
Lassay-les-Chateaux hosts the last resting place of Saint Fraimbault, said to be the inspiration for Sir Lancelot du Lac in the writings of Chrétien de Troyes. Victor Hugo, that Nineteenth Century secular saint of the republic, made a drawing of the castle while on his travels. I am certain that there must be other stories attached to this remarkable building and its social history. I hope to discover them in the New Year.