About Ranton Castle
The Château de Ranton or Ranton Castle is a small fortified castle in the village of Ranton, south of the Loire in France. Ranton was one of the front-line of fortresses which were built to defend the royal city of Loundun at the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War.
Ranton Castle history
Built in 1340-1345, Ranton Castle was constructed on top of an existing fort by the squire of Ranton, Guillaume de Gourmont who worked for the French king. The castle’s main features were impressive towers and ramparts, all protecting access to the underground village – a refuge for locals during raids.
The castle played its military role defending Loundun during the Hundred Years’ War until 1372, when Ranton became a feudal manor and one of the estates of aristocratic families associated with the Dukes of Anjou. The buildings inside the main rampart wall were rebuilt in the 16th century in the Renaissance style, as the home of a series of Protestant families in the French Wars of Religion.
Ranton Castle escaped destruction both by Cardinal Richelieu in the early 17th century and again in the French Revolution, but was little more than a ruin by the 1940s.
Since World War Two, Ranton Castle has been restored in three phases since 1950, and now is one of the most complete fortresses of the 14th century.
Ranton Castle today
Today, you can still see the Merovingian (Frankish rulers in the 8th century BC) columns under the moat, testifying to the presence of a fortified castle at Ranton for over 1,000 years. Open to viewing, the medieval castle boasts beautiful gardens with flowers in bloom during all 4 seasons.
If you are looking to really step back into history, why not stay a night in one of the luxuriously furnished rooms at Ranton? Ultimately, Ranton Castle is a great spot to start any regional tour of the Loire Valley’s Renaissance castles, great food and of course, wine.
Getting to Ranton Castle
A car is indispensible for reaching Ranton: a 3 and a half hour drive from Paris, off the D759 between Loundun and Thouars.
By train: Ranton is less than one hour by the high-speed train (called TGV) from Paris to Tours. Other stations are also served such as Poitiers and Saumur, but you will need to hire a car to drive to the castle.