Châteaubriant (Breton: Kastell-Briant) is a commune in the Loire-Atlantique department and the Pays de la loire region in western France. It is part of the historic duchy of Brittany and the country of Mée.
The inhabitants of Châteaubriant are called Castelbriantais and Castelbriantaises.
Châteaubriant lies 49 km (30 mi) north of Ancenis, 68 km (42 mi) south of Rennes, 69 km (43 mi) north of Nantes, and 85 km (53 mi) west of Angers.
The neighboring communes are Rouge, Saint-Aubin-Des-Château, Louisfert, Erbray, and Soudan.
HistoryChâteaubriant's history began in the 11th century when Brient (an envoy of the Count of Rennes) constructed a castle on a motte bordering the Chère and Rollard rivers. He later founded the Priory Saint-Sauveur-de-Béré. The fortress was a part of eastern Brittany's defensive line, known as the Marches of Brittany, along with the other fortified townships of Vitré and Fougères (both in Ille-et-Vilaine) and Ancenis and Clisson (both in Loire-Atlantique), which formed the first line of defense against the French Kingdom. Later in the 12th century a town developed around the western flank of the castle and was called Châteaubriant. As the castle was in a very strategic location, the town was subjected to numerous battles and invasions during the Middle Ages. One of the largest sieges is surely the one commissioned by Louis IX in 1235. Insecurity led the lords to raise ramparts and strengthen the fortifications around the town, which encircled it from the thirteenth century to the 15th century.
The 16th century was marked by the actions of Jean de Laval, governor of Britanny from 1531 to 1542, who modified and built the three Renaissance wings of the castle for his wife Françoise de Foix. Jean de Laval went on to bequeath his barony to Anne de Montmorency.
After the Revolution, Brutus Hugo, and young Republican lieutenant, met a young Nantaise exile, Sophie Trébuchet. They had a son: Victor Hugo. The house of Sophie Trébuchet still exists and is located near the Maison de l'Ange which currently houses the Tourist Information Office.
In October 1941, 27 Communist hostages (imprisoned by the Republican government during the run-up to WWII and by the Vichy police in the fall of 1941) in the Châteaubriant Internment Camp were handed over to the Nazis and shot by a firing squad in revenge for the murder of the German lieutenant-colonel Karl Hotz on 20 October 1941 in Nantes. The youngest of the 27 hostages, Guy Moquet, was 17 years old. The place of execution, known as the Carrière des Fusillés is one of the principal memorials to the Nazi occupation in the region.