History (with a capital H) has embraced Chissay over the centuries. Situated between Montrichard and Chenonceaux, this former fortified castle was built under Charles the 7th for Pierre Bérard, chancellor of France and husband to Anne de Rondard. Charles the 7th and Louis the 11th both stayed here, as evidenced by many royal acts.
On the 19th of April 1543 Bérard sold the estate to Philibert Babou, Lord of Bourdaisière, the king’s treasurer and superintendent of finance, for £16 690. The castle remained in the family, then passed into the hands of Duke of Choiseul until the eve of the revolution. Choiseul ceded Chissay to his friend Jean-Baptiste du Buc, a man of merit and good fortune who grew to know well the revolution’s prisons.
On his death in 1795 Chissay became the property of Marie-Jacques Gaigneron, Count of Marolles, allied through his mother to Empress Josephine. Gaigneron remained the owner of Chissay and was also the town mayor for more than half a century. The castle has known varying fortunes, and the original architecture has been added to by its various owners.
Acquired in the twentieth century by Baron and Baroness of Gartempe, then passed to their descendants the Costa de Beauregard, it was this family that welcomed Mr Paul Raynaud in June 1940. The Prime Minister established his headquarters here, and political and military conferences were held in the main salon. Chissay castle received General Weygand, the ambassador of Great Britain, ministers and dignitaries who liaised with the republic’s president residing 30km away in Cangé castle. On the 12th of June, General de Gaulle arrived at Chissay to present Paul Reynaud with his ‘reduit breton’ plan (a joint British/French strategy to defend the Brittany peninsula against the Germans.) Chissay witnessed the agony of the 3rd republic, the future of France was determined behind the thick walls of the castle.