The Contades Family
Géraud and Stéphanie de Laffon, the current owners, are direct descendants of this Anjou family.
A castle as a gift
René-Simon had only one daughter, who married the Marquis de Brancas, Duc de Céreste, Grand of Spain. With no descendants, she gave Château de Gizeux as a wedding present to her goddaughter Julie-Perrine Constantin de La Lorie when she married Louis-Gabriel de Contades in 1786.
In 1791, faced with growing threats from the revolutionaries, he went into exile and it was his young wife who courageously defended the estate against the Revolutionary Court, which wanted to plunder it. Her husband, who returned in 1801 after ten years in exile, tried to rebuild the farming and forestry estate.
A family home
Their grandson Arthur Louis married Marie Feuillant. It was she who had the château chapel decorated and the fireplace in the Galerie François I restored. The extensive work she carried out on the house saved the Château and ensured its posterity.
Their son Erasme, a cavalry general, twice became “Grand Dieu” of the Cadre Noir of Saumur. A remarkable fact, because no-one else will ever run this prestigious riding school more than once! He returned to service during the First World War. Because he was an unmarried career officer, his nephew of the same name inherited the château on his death in 1926.
In 1940, the Marquis was too old to be called up for the front, but he wanted to be useful. Under the castle, there are cellars and underground passages. It was here that François Gaston, a young French Resistance fighter, was able to hide out for several months with the help of the Marquis and his cook. When, sixty years later, he returned to tell his story to Renée and Géraud de Laffon (daughter and grandson of the Marquis), they knew nothing about it: the secret had been well kept.
Come and discover the castle’s secrets on a guided historical tour!
© Château de Gizeux 37340 Gizeux
Photos : P Ginault, JL Garnier, ADT Touraine JC Coutant