Château des ducs de Bretagne

The Château des ducs de Bretagne (English: Castle of the Dukes of Brittany) is a large castle located in the city of Nantes in the Loire-Atlantique département of France; it served as the centre of the historical province of Brittany until its separation in 1956. It is located on the right bank of the Loire, which formerly fed its ditches. It was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany between the 13th and 16th centuries, subsequently becoming the Breton residence of the French Monarchy.

Château des ducs de Bretagne
Castle of the Dukes of Brittany
Nantes, Pays de la Loire, France
Nantes aérien château3.jpg
The château seen from the air
Coordinates47°12′57″N 1°33′0″W / 47.21583°N 1.55000°W / 47.21583; -1.55000Coordinates: 47°12′57″N 1°33′0″W / 47.21583°N 1.55000°W / 47.21583; -1.55000
TypeFortified château
Site information
OwnerVille de Nantes
Controlled byBrittany until 1532, France until present
Open to
the public
Site history
Built1207, rebuilt 1466
Built byGuy of Thouars, Duke of Brittany
In use1207 - 1862
EventsEdict of Nantes
This article includes information translated from the Wikipedia article Château des ducs de Bretagne

The castle has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1840.[1] Today the castle houses the Nantes History Museum.


Entrance as it appeared between 1890 and 1905

Starting in the 1990s, the town of Nantes undertook a massive programme of restoration and repairs to return the site to its former glory as an emblem of the history of Nantes and Brittany. Following 15 years of works and three years of closure to the public, it was reopened on 9 February 2007 and is now a popular tourist attraction.

The restored edifice now includes the new Nantes History Museum, installed in 32 of the castle rooms. The museum presents more than 850 objects of collection with the aid of multimedia devices. The castle and the museum try to offer a modern vision of the heritage by presenting the past, the present and the future of the city. Night-time illuminations at the castle further reinforce the revival of the site.

The 500-metre round walk on the fortified ramparts provides views not just of the castle buildings and courtyards but also of the town.

Seven sequences of the museumEdit

  • The Castle, Nantes and Brittany back to the 17th century,
  • Nantes, daughter of the river and the ocean,
  • Commerce and the black gold in the 18th century,
  • Nantes in Revolution,
  • A colonial and industrial port (1815–1940),
  • A new city takes shape (1940–1990),
  • A great Atlantic city, today and tomorrow.

The exhibition ends with a vision of the city, a multimedia creation by a contemporary artist, occupying the entire area of the 32nd room. Pierrick Sorin is the first guest artist.

The illuminated castleEdit

The night-lighting brings out the architectural complexity of the site within an urban context. The illumination was designed by Sylvie Sieg and Pierre Nègre of the Atelier Lumière and won the Light Originator Price of the Lumiville Trophy 2007.

Nantes History Museum in 2020Edit

On 12 October, after being asked by the Chinese regime not to use the words “Genghis Khan” and “Mongolia, Nantes History Museum stopped an exhibition project dedicated to the history of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire in partnership with a Chinese museum”. The director of the Nantes museum, Bertrand Guillet, says: “We made the decision to stop this production in the name of the human, scientific and ethical values that we defend in our institution”.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Base Mérimée: Château des ducs de Bretagne, Ministère français de la Culture. (in French)
  2. ^ Beauvallet, Ève. "Nantes History Museum resists Chinese regime censorship". Archyde. Archived from the original on 12 October 2020. Retrieved 12 October 2020.

External linksEdit



The courtyard of the château, from left to right; le Grand Gouvernement, which served as the residence of the governors of Brittany, otherwise known as le Palais Ducal; La Conciergerie, currently Caretaker's Lodge, but housed first the lieutenant of the duke, then the castle's arsenal of weapons; Le Harnachement, also used to store artillery, now an exhibition centre; Le Petit Gouvernement, the former home of the king of France on his visits to Nantes; and to the side, Les Murailles Extérieures, the walls of the castle. In the left background lies the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul
The entrance of the château
A panoramic view of the courtyard