“I grew up by a castle.”
That’s what I told Feng when we first met and chatted about our respective hometowns. Mind you; I wasn’t bragging, just merely stating a fact. As a French, castles, old monuments and historical landmarks were part of the landscape. We visited them as kids but didn’t think much of them, unless they were really special (I do have good memories of the yearly mandatory school visit to the LU cookie factory because of the free sampling at the end!).
When Feng first came to Nantes in 2008, on our way from the train station to my parents’ place, we passed the Château des Ducs de Bretagne. “Oh my God, you did grow up a five-minute walk to a castle!” he said. “I thought you were exaggerating!”
I wasn’t. The Château des Ducs de Bretagne served as the centre of the historical province of Brittany until its separation in 1941. It was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany between the 13th and 16th centuries, subsequently becoming the Breton residence of the French Monarchy. It was restaurated years ago and it is free to visit the courtyard and the fortified ramparts. And yes, it is located in the city centre, where I lived until I left home at 18.
Even though I have been to the Château a thousand of times, I still enjoy an informal visit… even more so after living in Canada, where there isn’t so much “old history” around!
You can see the complete set of pictures of France here.