Château de Combourg
The castle stands on a small hill next to Lac Tranquille (Lake Tranquil) in the town.
The original castle on the site was built around 1025 by Archbishop Guinguené, who gave it to his illegitimate brother Riwallon. Major alterations were made between the 15th and 19th centuries.
The castle consists of four large, powerful buildings of dressed granite, with crenellations and machicolations, enclosing a rectangular courtyard. In each corner of this massive fortress is a round tower, also with crenellations and machicolations, with conical roofs.
In 1761, the Chateaubriand family acquired the property and it was the childhood home of François-René de Chateaubriand (1768–1848).
Arthur Young, the English writer and economist, visited Combourg on his travels through France in 1788. He wrote scathingly of the town and described the castle thus:
SEPTEMBER 1 ..... [Y]et here is a chateau, and inhabited; who is this Monsieur de Chateaubriant, the owner, that has nerves strung for a residence amidst such filth and poverty?
Chateaubriand commented later: "This M. de Chateaubriand was my father. The retreat that seemed so hideous to the ill-tempered agronomist was a fine and noble dwelling, albeit dark and solemn." He did not comment on Young's description of the town.
- Ministry of Culture listing (French)
- Photos on Ministry of Culture website
- The castle on www.combourg.net
- Ministry of Culture, database entry for Château de Combourg
- Arthur Young (1792) Travels in France During the Years 1787, 1788, 1789 reprinted 1977, p99.
- François-René de Chateaubriand, Vicomte de Mémoires d'outre-tombe. 2 vols, Ed. J-C Berchet. 1889-92
- Graham Robb, The Discovery of France, Picador, 2007, p.90
- www.culture.gouv.fr, accessed 5 Feb 2007 (French)