The restoration campaign of the Château de Clisson

The scaffolding on the château de Clisson, summer 2020
The scaffolding on the château de Clisson, summer 2020 © P. Pascal

For several years now, the Loire-Atlantique Department has been carrying out major restoration and improvement work on the château.

Since July 2020, a campaign to consolidate the walls

Following an assessment carried out in 2018 on the condition of the walls, the Loire-Atlantique Department, owner of the Château de Clisson, is currently undertaking restoration work to improve the visitor experience. The masonry of the towers and curtain walls is being consolidated to reinforce the age-old edifice.

You can read the article 2,4 Millions d’Euros Pour le Château De Clisson on the website of the Loire-Atlantique Department. (in French)

The courtyard is the area that has required the most restoration. This area has the oldest masonry in the château. The wall surrounding the courtyard is the first stone rampart built on the site. It dates back to the 12th century, as does the square tower, the first residential building. Hence their extremely fragile state. During the restoration, the high parts of the courtyard walls had to be stabilized. All the masonry joints were repaired. The fragile parts were removed and then reassembled in exactly the same way.

Archaeological Study

All restoration and consolidation work on a historic monument requires a prior examination by archaeologists. They take advantage of the scaffolding to collect as much information as possible about the various construction phases of the building. This intervention is called a building archaeology study. Its main objective is to examine the authenticity of the restored walls, trying to separate the original masonry from the walls rebuilt more recently (i.e. during the last two centuries). Observations about the building (masonry) made on site are recorded on the orthophotographs (aerial or satellite images) produced beforehand from 3D scans of the site studied. This places the different structures of the walls in their topographical, archaeological, historical and geographical context to gain a better understanding of the heritage monument.

The treasures of the "Cabinet du Duc"

The preventive excavations are carried out by archaeologists from Grand Patrimoine de Loire-Atlantique. Solveig Lecouturier and Léa Clouet worked in the "Cabinet du Duc", probably François II, Anne of Brittany's father, born in this château in 1435. They found several layers of flooring and what may be the beginning of a staircase, all of which is valuable information for understanding the different architectural styles of the château over the years.

Between two stones, another treasure was discovered: a small coin, probably dating from the 16th or 17th century. It will be sent to the Arc'Antique laboratory for analysis.

Restoration work in 2015-2016

From November 2015 to January 2016, archaeologists from the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) were hard at work on the north-eastern terrace of the Château de Clisson.

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