« Welcome to Château de Montmirail »
Testimony of several centuries of architecture, the Château de Montmirail is surprising first of all by its very good state of preservation which is explained by the fact that beyond being the place of life of great historical figures, and particularly the residence of the Princess of Conti, the castle has been inhabited for nearly three centuries by the descendants of the same family: that of the Marquis de Neuilly to whom the Princess of Conti sold the castle in 1719.
The castle has been regularly renovated by all generations of owners who have succeeded; each bringing his personal touch in accordance with the modes of his time. A mix of styles that makes all the originality of the castle, not to mention the underground weapons rooms and dungeons of the twelfth - medieval vestiges of the previous castles built on the original mound of the castle - whose extension over three floors constitutes a rare feature nowadays.
The castle today
Arrived at the hands of the Gouët family by a donation of the Bishop of Chartres in the 9th century, the castle remains the possession of the same family for nearly 600 years, thus transmitting from generation to generation. It is also under the Gouet that the castle is the occasion of the famous meeting, January 6, 1169, between Henry II Plantagenet, king of England, and Louis VII the Young, king of France to try a reconciliation between the king of England and his archbishop Thomas Becket, then in exile in the Kingdom of France, following a disagreement on the religious management of the English Kingdom.
Between the fourteenth and fifteenth century, during the Hundred Years War, the castle passes into the hands of the English. In 1421, at the end of the war, the castle was destroyed by the armies of the King of France. Charles V of Anjou, Count of Maine, rebuilds the defensive castle that we know today, and gives it magnificent armories.
From that date, the building is transmitted at the option of the covenants, until the Renaissance where it returns to Marie de Melun, wife of the famous Marshal of the Palice, his real name Jacques II de Chabannes.
Two centuries later, in 1676, Louis Armand de Condé, prince of Conti buys the castle. At his death, he bequeathed the estate to his wife, Marie-Anne de Bourbon, who is none other than the daughter of King Louis XIV and Melle de La Vallière, the first official mistress of the king.
Finally in 1719, the Princess of Conti resells the castle to the Marquis of Neuilly, after having arranged splendid reception rooms with their Regency furniture and their remarkable woodwork representing the five senses which are classified and are visited today.
The castle remains in the hands of the family of the Marquis of Neuilly for nearly 3 centuries to the present day, passed down through the generations through women.
My castle is visitable
Like many castles in Sarthe, the Château de Montmirail is open to visitors. Our guide will transport you through the ages throughout the visit of the castle.
Let yourself be guided by the Princess of Conti, daughter of Louis XIV and Melle de La Vallière, who in the 18th century restored this medieval fortress from the 15th century into an elegant residence boasting refined lounges with remarkable woodwork and Régence furniture. .
Let yourself be recounted the attempt of reconciliation organized in 1169 by the King of France Louis VII the Younger, between Henry II Plantagenet, King of England and Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.
The visit of the castle begins with the two magnificent vaulted weapons rooms, followed by the dungeons of the twelfth and fifteenth centuries located up to fifteen meters underground which testify that justice was rendered at Montmirail. Back to the light to join the 18th century building and the classified salons of the Princess of Conti with large openings overlooking the Park, where the visitor will end his journey in time, without forgetting to enjoy the breathtaking view of the ancient Perche. Gouët.