Imposing, crumbling and full of character, the ancient château of Blandy les Tours is situated in the Seine-et-Marne department of France, as it has done so for hundreds of years. Barely a couple of hours of Paris, Blandy les Tours is often overlooked in favour of its more modern, better-known counterpart, Vaux-le-Vicomte. However, that doesn’t mean you should overlook this medieval gem.
Blandy les Tours: an afternoon trip from Paris
I’m always on the lookout for quirky, historical and downright fascinating places to visit (obviously! Have you even read this blog?!). And, so when we were returning from a trip to Vaux-le-Vicomte a couple of months ago, I knew I couldn’t turn down a visit to this rare medieval gem.
Blandy les Tours is barely two hours away from the city of love, and yet I found barely any mention of it in any guidebooks! Perhaps the ‘well kept secret’ status of the château, as well as its somewhat awakrd location, accounted for the eerie atmosphere pervading the place. As a result, it was completely dedvoid of tourists, making it the perfect day to uncover the castle’s mysteries in peace…
History of Blandy les Tours
As can be expected from any castle of this age, the history of Blandy les Tours is twisted, complicated and occassionally bloody. After all, the château saw the hundred year war, was financed by Kings and was predomninantly inhabited by key players in France’s history. Situated in the very center of the village, not far from a sweet boulangerie and typically French café, Blandy les Tours was first mentioned as early as 1216. At this time, it was a simple manor house surrounded by farmland and posed little importance in the grand scheme of French politics and power.
The site had previously been used as a necropolis for the merovingians (‘necropolis‘ comes from the Greek meaning ‘city of the dead’ and denotes a cemetery, monuments to the dead or other such memorials). The Merovingians was a dynasty spanning much of what is now modern day France and endured for nearly three centuries.
However, by the 14th-Century, the power balance within France was changing and the first fortifications of the castle were started. This was in the very midst of the hundred year war against England, and much of Northern France was gaining strategic impostance; including the once merchant town of Rouen. A large moat was added, as well as a gate tower, working drawbridge and a high wall enclosure encircled the entire property. The strategic placement of the castle meant that King Chales V and King Charles VI financed the project themselves.
The Castle once again underwent major renovations at the turn of the 16th Century, and was formerly turned into a residential home. Royal weddings took place here and it became a country retreat for those in the know, and with enough money to make it happen. However, the residential years of the castle barely lasted a century before Blandy les Tours was purchased by the owner of nearby Vaux-le-Vicomte. Much of the castle was dismantled and the château turned into a farm.
Visit Blandy les Tours
Eventually, the castle was bought by the town council in the late 19th Century. Extensive restorations in the late 20th century brought the castle back to its former glory. Today the château sits imposing in the center of town and overlooking the surrounding landscape. You can see Blandy les Tours from miles away, and well desginated signs means that it’s easily reachable from central Paris. I highly recommend combining a trip to Blandy les Tours with a day trip to the nearby château of Vaux-le-Vicomte.
Address: Place des Tours, 77115 Blandy, France
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-12:30, 2pm-5pm. Closed on holidays.