Culture & HeritageFamily activities Article published on12th July 2022
The Middle Ages is one of these historical periods with many unjustified legends! Often presented as a violent dark age, these few centuries preceding the Renaissance are actually much richer than one thinks. Let’s go the Montbazon Fortress, home of Fulk III the Black to be sure!
Who’s Fulk the Black?
Though he’s known in the history books as a pitiless warlord, Fulk III was not only a scrapper. Yes, the Count of Anjou had an open passion for the great battles, but he was also a great builder. The Montbazon Fortress is one of the many chateaux he built on his lands. A protector of the clergy, defender of an educative system, he also gave the example of slaves emancipation, to many other warlords who cared very little about a servant’s life.
Nestled on a rocky cliff overlooking the river Indre, it was constructed in the 10th century. It is therefore one of the oldest castles in France. Walking down the ramparts, you easily access the main courtyard, thinking about the life that once took place there a thousand years ago. Down the keep, a dozen wooden huts invite you to a travel through time!
On your arrival, your purse is filled with several silver coins, which should be very useful all along your visit. They can indeed be used to take part to interactive workshops, that will take you into the life of medieval craftsmen. Let’s first sit at the scribe’s table. If the goose feather no longer is in use, the art of calligraphy remains. Be very cautious while trying to reproduce the fine letters that once decorated the old parchments…and please, mind the ink!
Can you hear this piercing and regular sound? It’s the blacksmith working at shaping a helmet for a knight. In the suffocating heat of his workshop, he hits over and over the melting piece of metal to give it the desired shape. A long and tremendous work! Walk up to the keep and join the combat instructor. He offers you to try your luck on crossbow firing. Be careful with this deadly weapon: Richard the Lionheart himself paid with his life the price of approaching too close! Saddler, potter, sculptor, herbalist…a dozen craftsmen await to share their knowledge and passion!
Live the history
Hurry up! A group of people has gathered on the main square around a funny basin! It’s bath time for a brave volunteer. Yes but how did we wash in the Middle Ages? What did we use to be clean? Did you know that hygiene was a very important matter…contrary to what you’ve been told for so long? Do not miss this very lively show, funny and full of facts. Far from the dusty history book, that kind of history is told with great interactivity.
Special events throughout the year
There’s nothing better that the fortress feasts to immerse yourself into the medieval daily life. Knights, craftsmen and musicians invite you for two nights events on July 16th and August 13th. Feast, dance and behold the war machines for a memorable night! Upon reservation.
Later in the year, the fortress has become the place to be for the Christmas season. In Santa’s village, live events and craftsmen give the pace of your afternoon around the skating rink. Hot wine, crepes and candies on the menu for a festive week!
Forteresse de Montbazon
12-14 rue du Château