|Snowdrops in the grounds of the chateau/town hall.|
Chateau-Renault is a town north of Tours, built around a castle. There is no evidence of man's occupation of the bluff the chateau sits on prior to a wooden castle on an artificial mound was built in 1140. The town below appeared after this construction, most notably after the Abbey of Saint Julien de Tours established a complex there.
|11th century keep and modern municipal police station.|
In 1160 the Count of Blois built a cylindrical keep when the previous wooden castle burnt down. The castle was protected on three sides by gigantic ditches and on the fourth side by cliffs. In 1560 the assassination of the leading Protestant, Jean du Barry, in the nearby forest, precipitated the Wars of Religion.
|One of several cedar trees in the grounds of the chateau/town hall.|
Chateau-Renault's main claim to fame is leather. The place must have stunk, up until the mid-1980s, when the last leather factory closed. As a sort of complement to the leather, there were also 'strong glue' factories, using, I suppose, the bits of the cow that the leather factories didn't want. According to a 19th century commentator, leather was to Chateau-Renault what silk was to Lyon, linen to Lille or wine to Bordeaux. The first tanneries were established in the town in 1543, and by the 19th century leather from here was known worldwide.
|The remains of the wing which burnt in 1907.|
The chateau complex was given to the town in 1948 by the last private owners, with the intention that it become the town hall, although this didn't happen until 1962.
|The chateau/town hall.|
The chateau buildings have been rebuilt and remodelled several times since the 11th century, and much of what you see today is 17th century. In 1907 there was a fire which destroyed part of the principal buildings and only the southern wing was rebuilt.
The gatehouse, the lower part of which dates back to the 12th-13th century, was the main entrance to the castle. The upper part is composed of a room above which is a level fitted with hoardings (a defensive system overhanging the wall). The grooves allowing a portcullis to slide up and down are still visible under the vaulted passage. The bell tower contains a bell dated 1523. After the collapse of part of the building in December 2014, the tower has been fully restored.
I just saw a France 2 news report about Preuilly and all the poids lourd passing through town. Do the big trucks come up your street?
Ken: No thank goodness. The worst we get is the occasional camper van misdirected by their GPS. But anyone who lives in la Grande rue or Chaumont-Patin is in despair over the noise and vibration the trucks crossing between the two motorways make.
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