Chateaux of Normandy

Château de Bonnemare

Château de Bonnemare was built to the site of medieval manor in the mid-1500s by Nicolas Leconte. Later it has been owned among others by Étienne de Fieux (1637), Cromelin de Villette family (18th century), Charles Le Blond, and Gustave Gatine (1888), the predecessor of current owners. The castle consists of main building, gatehouse and Renaissance chapel from the 16th century. Today Bonnemare is a hotel. The notable d ...
Founded: 1570 | Location: Radepont, France

Château de Cany

With its majestic main courtyard and its outbuildings, the Château de Cany still evokes the austere splendor of Louis XIII. It was built between 1640 and 1646 by François Mansart. It still preserves its old furnishing and is today a hotel.
Founded: 1640-1646 | Location: Cany Barville, France

Château du Champ de Bataille

Château du Champ-de-Bataille is Baroque castle built in the 17th century for the Maréchal de Créqui. In 1650 Alexandre de Créquy-Bernieulle (1628–1703) was arrested and exiled to the province by Cardinal Mazarin. He built the Château du Champ-de-Bataille between 1653 and 1665. The French formal garden was created beginning in 1992 by a new owner, interior designer Jacques Garcia. It ...
Founded: 1653-1655 | Location: Sainte-Opportune-du-Bosc, 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 d'Amboise ...
Founded: 1502-1550 | Location: Gaillon, France

Château du Breuil

Built in the 16th and 17th centuries, Château du Breuil has been a residence of families Bouquetot, Montgomery, Bence and others. Today it is also one of most prestigious Calvados distilleries (created in 1954). It offers to its visitors guided tours as well as tastings of old Calvados around the year.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Breuil-en-Auge, France

Château des Montgommery

The Ducey domain came into the hands of the old Norman Montgommery family in 1521 after the wedding of James Montgommery to Claude de la Boissière, the heiress to the lands of Ducey. The castle was built at the beginning of the 17th century by Gabriel II de Montgommery, one of the sons of Montgommery first who became famous for killing Henry II, king of France, by accident in a tournament on 30th June 1559. He conv ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Ducey, 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 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 d'Ételan

In 1494 Louis Picart, magistrate of Troyes and Tournaisis, friend and chamberlain of King Louis XII with whom he went to Italy, undertook the construction of the Château d"Ételan. It was built on the site of a fortress which has been destroyed under the order of Louis XI. Of the medieval construction, only the cellar, the castle wall and the guard house dating from 1350 remain. The castle was later conv ...
Founded: 1494 | Location: Saint-Maurice-d'Ételan, France

Château de Verneuil-sur-Avre Ruins

Château de Verneuil-sur-Avre has attested since XIe century. It formed with Tillières-on-Avre and Nonancourt a defensive curtain against the possible incursions in Normandy of the counts de Chartres. Philippe Auguste built there after 1204 one of his famous circular towers.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Verneuil-sur-Avre, 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 Montfort-sur-Risle

Château de Montfort-sur-Risle was built in 1035 by Count Hugues I. It was destroyed already in 1204 during the siege by John, King of England. Since them it has lied in ruins.
Founded: 1035 | Location: Montfort-sur-Risle, France

Chambois Keep

The Norman keep or Donjon in Chambois was built in the 12th century. One of the rare surviving square keeps in Normandy. It can be seen from outside.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Chambois, France

Château d'Ô

Château d"Ô was built in the 15th and 17th centuries with a flamboyant Gothic and Renaissance style. A moat surrounds the castle. Guided tours are available parts to the orangery and inside the castle.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Mortrée, France

Château d'Ivry-la-Bataille

The original square form castle in Ivry-la-Bataille was built around 960 AD. It was 32x25m wide stone building with a small chapel. Today the first floor of this castle remains and it is the oldest medieval building in Normandy. The castle was enlarged during the next centuries. In the Hundred Years" War it was conquered by English (1418), but moved back to the hands of French (1424). After 1449 the castle was left t ...
Founded: 960 AD | Location: Ivry-la-Bataille, France

Château de Galleville

Château de Galleville is remarkable for ifs great unity of style. The castle was built in 1678 by Roque de Varengeville, counsellor to King Louis XIV and also his ambassador in Venice (a city in which he would develop a passion for stucco architecture, later applying this decorative technique to the chateau"s chapel. A continuous line of ownership by inheritance or marriage can be traced from the present owners ...
Founded: 1678 | Location: Galleville, France

Château-sur-Epte Ruins

The Château-sur-Epte Castle construction was begun in 1097 by William Rufus, King of England, to reinforce the frontier of Epte. The castle occupied a site on the border between the Duchy of Normandy and the Kingdom of France. In 1119, it was besieged by Louis VI of France and reinforced by the Plantagenets in the 12th century and again during the Hundred Years" War. In the 12th century, it was restored and re ...
Founded: 1097 | Location: Château-sur-Epte, France

Château de Pontécoulant

Pontécoulant estate presents all the distinctive features of nobility: castle, gamekeeper and gardener"s detached house, dovecote, landscaping park, vegetable garden, guest houses, farm, woods and grounds. The Le Doulcet de Pontécoulant family arrived there in the 14th century. Their home was rebuilt in the 16th century and enlarged in the 17th. Since the second part of 17th century, the family has live ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Pontécoulant, France

Château de Sassy

Château de Sassy was built of stone and bricks in the 18th century. It has imposing four levels of terraces. The Duke d’Audiffret-Pasquier, ancestor of the present owners, bought Sassy in 1850 and converted the east wing into a library, in order to house the important Parisian collection of his uncle, the Chancellor Pasquier. Visitors can admire a fine furniture, various Aubusson and Gobelins tapestries and i ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Saint-Christophe-le-Jajolet, France

Manoir de Villers

The Manoir de Villers was built between courtyard and garden in 1581. A 'Master House' was made of local stone, with a half-timbered storey covered with small tiles. It was transformed and extended through centuries, to become this great manor in neo-Norman style, with the roofing inspired from the best houses of Rouen, and façade dressed up with a strange 'trompe l"oeil'. Welcomed in the h ...
Founded: 1581 | Location: Saint-Pierre-de-Manneville, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.