1066, Hugues de Carbonnel, the Lord of Canisy, wields his sword at the side of William the Conqueror. The Normans overrun England. The jubilant warrior returns to his fortress at Canisy in triumph. The first de Kergorlay steps over the portals in 1787: when young nobleman Louis-Gabriel de Kergorlay weds Justine de Faudoas at Les Tuileries Palace. It is a momentous occasion, uniting two grand and noble families. King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette themselves are present.
In 1803, Louis-Gabriel de Kergorlay returns to France, becomes a Member of Parliament and takes up residence at the chateau where his cousin Louis debated democracy with his close friend Alexis de Tocqueville. The Kergorlays have remained at Chateau de Canisy ever since, their family spirit undaunted, their standard flying high.
Today, the Chateau is a mixture of new and old, the tower and living quarters of medieval fortress still stand, along with the graceful 16th century structure, while a theatre and a subterranean nightclub modeled on The Cavern, made famous by The Beatles, have been added.
Comte Denis’s passion for Canisy has only grown stronger over the years. During his younger years, its salons and corridors once more echoed with debate over great matters of state, becoming a haven for thinkers and intellectuals – including the renowned brains trust of the Aspen Institute. As a music aficionado he has also hosted a cavalcade of classical luminaries at Canisy’s Dalon de Musique. Latterly, each of its suites have been lovingly restored by the Kergorlays; a project requiring great imagination, research and attention to detail. Among those who have enjoyed the Kergorlays’ hospitality are:
The Japanese Princess Masako, King Philippe of Belgium and the Infanta Elena of Spain;
US Secretary of State Robert McNamara, Governor of Texas Rick Perry, Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, ex-British Prime Minister John Major, The first PRC Chinese Ambassador to the USA Chai Zemin 柴泽民 and numerous French Prime Ministers including, Laurent Fabius, Edouard Balladur, Francois Fillon & Hubert Vedrine.
Hisashi Owada - President of the International Court of Justice, Umberto Agnelli – Businessman, Lambert Wilson – Actor, Ray Charles – Musician, Joan Baez – Musician, Serge Lama – Musician, Michel Platini – Sporting Star, Yves Mourousi – Journalist, Pierre Morel – Director, Helene Carrere d’Encausse – Historian, Bamber Gascoigne - British television presenter and author and lastly Omar Bradly – General, who used Chateau de Canisy as headquarters during the summer of 1944 where he oversaw the successful “Operation Cobra”.
Foundations and think tanks to have enjoyed the chateau’s hospitality include the Aspen Institute, the King’s Fund of London, the Dublin-based European Healthcare Management, the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, and the Brentwood School of Arts from Los Angeles.