Chateaux of Normandy

Château de Saint-Just

The Château de Saint-Just is a Renaissance castle with a one of the most the remarkable gardens of France. The first chateau was built in the 13th century, but only a few foundations remain. Near the end of the 16th century, Jacques de Croixmare built a new residence on the site. A record of the property in the fief of Saint-Just, written in 1608, mentions a manor, common buildings, an orangerie, a garden and a kitchen g ...
Founded: 1608 | Location: Saint-Just, France

Château de Rouen

Château de Rouen was a castle built by Philip II of France from 1204 to 1210 following his capture of the duchy from John, duke of Normandy and king of England. Located outside the medieval town to its north, in a dominant position, it played a military role in the Hundred Years" War and the Wars of Religion. It was the main seat of power, administration and politics in the duchy of Normandy for nearly 400 year ...
Founded: 1204-1210 | Location: Rouen, France

Château de Vire Ruins

Château de Vire was built in the 11th and 12th centuries. Today only a keep, donjon, remains.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Vire, France

Château de Colombières

Château de Colombières dates back to the 11th century. It was a fortress occupied by William, Raoul and Baudouin of Colombières, comrades in arms of William the Conqueror during the invasion of England in 1066. However the oldest parts of the present castle date back to the end of the 14th century. The wealthy Bacon du Molay built the fortress with the defensive architecture: a quadrangle flanked by fo ...
Founded: c. 1372 | Location: Colombières, France

Château de Dieppe

Château de Dieppe was founded in 1188 and destroyed in 1195. The site was restored in the 14th century. The castle was largely reconstructed by Charles des Marets in 1433. The castle is composed of a quadrangular enclosure with round flanking towers and a lower court adjacent. The large west tower dates perhaps from the 14th century, and served as the keep. Several architectural styles are represented, and flint and ...
Founded: 1188 | Location: Dieppe, France

Château de Caen

The Norman Château de Caen was built in c. 1060 by William the Conqueror, who successfully conquered England in 1066. His son Henry I then built the Saint Georges church, a keep (1123) and a large hall for the Duke Court. At Christmas 1182, a royal court celebration for Christmas in the aula of Caen Castle brought together Henry II and his sons, Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland, receiving more than a thousand ...
Founded: c. 1060 | Location: Caen, France

Château de Fécamp

Château de Fécamp originates from the 10th century and the stone castle was built in the 11th century. It was the residence of the first dukes of Normandy. perhaps as early as William Longsword and probably with his successors Richard I and Richard II, who are buried to the near Fécamp Abbey. The castle was damaged in the 19th century during the construction work of raiway.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Fécamp, France

Château de Falaise

Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years" War. The castle was ...
Founded: 1123 | Location: Falaise, France

Château de Fleury-la-Forêt

Château de Fleury-la-Forêt is an impressive red-brick castle built in 1595 by Pierre de Courcol. It was partially destroyed by fire in 1643, but restored by Charles de Caumont later. The new chapel was founded in 1658. The two wings were added during the next restoration in 1700. Today Château de Fleury-la-Forêt is a hotel.
Founded: 1595 | Location: Fleury-la-Forêt, France

Château des Ducs d'Alençon

The 15th century Château des Ducs was a massive castle in Alençon. The first castle, built in the 11th century, is completely disappeared today. The next castle was built by Peter II, the count of Alençon between 1361-1404. It was demolished 1592. Today only a impressive gatehouse and part of the walls remain.
Founded: 1361-1404 | Location: Alençon, France

Château du Bourg-Saint-Léonard

Château du Bourg-Saint-Léonard is a sumptuous building from the end of the 18th century, surrounded by stables, an orangery and a 400 ha park. The interior is decorated with beautiful furniture, Aubusson tapestries, woodwork from the 18th century and restored stairwell.
Founded: 18th century | Location: Le Bourg-Saint-Léonard, France

Château de Gisors

The Château de Gisors was a key fortress of the Dukes of Normandy in the 11th and 12th centuries. It was intended to defend the Anglo-Norman Vexin territory from the pretensions of the King of France. King William II of England ordered Robert of Bellême to build the first castle at Gisors. The first building work is dated to about 1095, and consisted of a motte, which was enclosed in a spacious courtyard or ba ...
Founded: 1095 | Location: Gisors, France

Château d'Harcourt

Château d'Harcourt is a masterpiece of medieval architecture. The home of the Harcourt family, the castle is one of the best preserved castles in the country and contains the oldest arboretum in France. Although the lords of Harcourt trace their origins to the year 1000, the first written record of the castle dates from the second half of 12th century. Robert II d"Harcourt was a companion in the crusade of Richard Lionhe ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Harcourt, France

Château de Saint-Gervais

The first record of Château de Saint-Gervais dates back to the year 1198. In 1651 Jean de Carrey, Advisor to the King in his finance chamber, acquires the titles of Lord of Saint Gervais. The destruction of the original chateau occured at the time of the Revolution (1794). In 1837 the land and property at Saint Gervais was acquired by Michel Pierre Alexis Hebert, barrister in the High Court subsequent Garde des Scea ...
Founded: 1840 | Location: Asnières, France

Château d'Orcher

Château d"Orcher was built to protect the mouth of the River Seine. The square keep was surrounded by a trapezoidal enceinte, defended in the 13th century by three square towers. In 1360 it was partly destroyed on the orders of officials from Harfleur. Rebuilt later, it was taken by the English in 1415 at the same time as Harfleur. Thomas Planterose took possession of Château d"Orcher in 1735 and o ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gonfreville-l'Orcher, France

Château de Gaillon

Château de Gaillon was one of the first Renaissance buildings in France. Georges d"Amboise, Cardinal Archbishop of Rouen, started the reconstruction of medieval fort in 1502. It was completed in 1510 and the next cardinal continued the decoration work until 1550. It became one of the most ambitious and significant French building projects of its time, representing the early Renaissance palatial style. Georges ...
Founded: 1502-1550 | Location: Gaillon, France

Château du Neubourg

Château du Neubourg dates from the 12th century, when it was owned by Henry I, the King of England. The castle lost its military role in the 17th century. In 1782-1783 the eastern parts were demolished.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Le Neubourg, France

Château de Conches-en-Ouche

The construction of Château de Conches-en-Ouche started in 1034 by Roger I of Tosny. The castle was captured by Philip II of France in 1199 and again by the English during the Hundred Years" War in 1364. It was recaptured by Bertrand du Guesclin in 1371. The castle was lost again in 1420, retaken in 1440, lost once more in 1441 before being finally taken by the French in 1449. In 1591, members of the Catholic L ...
Founded: 1034 | Location: Conches-en-Ouche, France

Château d'Amfreville

Château d"Amfreville was originally established in the late 1100s by Richard de Reviers. It was a enclosed castle with a moat. The main building was rebuilt as a manor house in the 17th century and most of the annex buildings in the 18th century. The gate tower from the 14th century still exists.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Amfreville, France

Château de Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte

Château de Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte was built in the 11th and 12th centuries. It was besieged twice during the Hundred Years War. The city walls were breached by cannon in 1374. This is believed to have been among the first successful uses of guns against city walls in history. Today it is partially ruined, but still a notable castle with massive 14th century towers and a 12-15th century abbey.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.