The Rocher Portail, for the first time in its history,
opens its doors to the public.
In 2017, a symbolic year, 400 years after the end of construction work in 1617, led by Gilles RUELLAN.
Since its origins, The Rocher Portail castle has always been inhabited, protecting it from looting and abandonment.
We have started important works to preserve the original elements of the castle and to arrange spaces to allow the public to visit the interior and exterior of the monument.
The gardens, also classified as a Historic Monument, will be reconstructed, following archaeological and historical research work to be in line with the Renaissance architecture of the castle.
Rocher Portail castle has remained hidden from view for 4 centuries. It is now open to the public, who can discover its authenticity, through a journey through time, from the end of the 16th to the 19th century.
Remarkable Breton castle from the late Renaissance
The Rocher Portail castle was built between 1596 and 1617, on the foundations of an old medieval castle. Its name comes from the fact that it is built on a rock, visible at the foot of the facade. “Portal” comes from the location of the castle at the gates of Brittany.
The Rocher Portail castle is one of the largest and most majestic in western France, reflecting the power of its builder, Gilles Ruellan.
The richness of this building is due to the authenticity of the rooms: from Gilles Ruellan’s seigneurial room to the games room via the Chapel, nothing seems to have changed.
400 years of French history
Gilles RUELLAN (1545-1627) Monsieur du Rocher Portail a central figure in the history of the Château de Rocher Portail, Gilles Ruellan was its builder. Born in the Pays de Fougères, he was close to King Henry IV, Queen Marie de Medicis and Cardinal Richelieu!
He also played an eminent role in the reconquest by Henry IV of his kingdom after the Wars of the League or in that of the successes achieved by his minister Sully in Brittany to establish his policy there. From 1599, King Henry IV granted him several very lucrative fairground rights in villages near the Château du Rocher Portail. Gilles RUELLAN will obtain the greatest royal distinctions: he was made baron in 1608 and appointed councilor of state to the king in 1609 …
However, if Gilles Ruellan had his office and his apartments at the Château du Rocher Portail, he traveled a lot. Familiar with the King’s Court, he often stayed in Paris. He was no ordinary squire living peacefully on his land. Very active, he went from place to place to manage his affairs and his fortune, while remaining in close contact with power.
The young king Louis XIII appointed him advisor to the parliament of Brittany in 1612 and made him marquis in 1622. A generous man, as Tallémant des Réaux recounts in his famous « Historiettes », «he always carried a lot of gold with him and always had four pockets. He liberally rewarded anyone who gave him notice of something.
With that he was happy. He was a man of good food and loved by everyone ». It was Gilles Ruellan who gave the current name of Rocher Portail to this place; he even took the name of his new home; in the kingdom, he will be known only under the name of « Monsieur du Rocher Portail ».
At the Château du Rocher Portail, three great families have succeeded one another, each contributing their own stone to the building: from the 17th to the end of the 19th century, the castle brewed radically different lifestyles.
From the Ruellan family until 1653 to the Boutray family, three families succeeded one another between 1617 and 2016, each time leaving the mark of their time. Thus, the Boutray family, owners from 1866 to 2016, with their 35 servants, left the imprint of the hierarchical dimension of an era: servant’s rooms, butler’s table, photographs … everything has remained intact to recall the organization of the aristocratic life of the nineteenth century 400 years without damage.
Tapestries, furniture, paintings, objects … in an exceptional state of conservation. Spared by wars and revolutions, the Château Le Rocher Portail is a veritable museum of French history. The pieces have crossed the ages: in the living room, a painting of Mont Saint-Michel, on the bellows, a painting of the Rocher Portail, in Madame Ruellan’s bedroom: a secret passage …