Chateaux of Normandy

Château Gaillard

Château Gaillard is a ruined medieval castle, located 90 m above the commune of Les Andelys overlooking the River Seine. The construction began in 1196 under the order of Richard the Lionheart, who was simultaneously King of England and feudal Duke of Normandy. The castle was expensive to build, but the majority of the work was done in an unusually short time. It took just two years, and at the same time the town of ...
Founded: 1196 | Location: Les Andelys, France

Château de Beaumesnil

Château de Beaumesnil was designed and built by John Gallard during the reign of Louis XIII between 1633 and 1640. It is constructed of stone and brick walls with a slate roof on the ruins of the motte-and-bailey castle that had stood on the site since medieval times. The east and west facades are richly decorated with carvings. The north and south pavilions were added to the building during the 18th cenbury. The do ...
Founded: 1633-1640 | Location: Beaumesnil, France

Château d'Arques-la-Bataille

Château d"Arques-la-Bataille was originally a motte-and-bailey castle built to the steep hill around 1050. The castle was reconstruted in the 12th century. The long curtain wall and moat surrounded the Norman style donjon, a keep. The castle saw several battles and besieges during the centuries; the rebellion in 1052, Hundred Years" War and the most well-known in 1589 as part of the Wars of Religion. In 16 ...
Founded: c. 1050 | Location: Arques-la-Bataille, 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

Château de Pirou

The Château de Pirou was initially built of wood, then of stone in the 12th century and belonged to the lords of Pirou. It was constructed near the shore of the English Channel, and used to watch upon the west coast of the Cotentin, to protect the town of Coutances. The castle was transformed into Lord Adnans penthouse during the 18th century, and then began to deteriorate. The Restoration was begun on the initiati ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pirou, 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 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 de Creully

Château de Creully has been modified throughout its history. Around 1050, it did not resemble a defensive fortress but a large agricultural domain. In about 1360, during the Hundred Years War, it was modified into a fortress. During this period, its architecture was demolished and reconstructed with each occupation by the English and the French: The square tower was built in the 14th century, a watchtower and drawbr ...
Founded: c. 1360 | Location: Creully, France

Château de Tancarville

Château de Tancarville was built in the 11th century by Raoul, the chamberlain of Dukes of Normandy. In the 12th century the square tower was built with 1.65m thick walls. In 1418 at the time of the conquest of Normandy by Henry V of England, the title of Earl of Tancarville was given to John Grey. After the Hundred Years War the Harcourt family restored the castle. The ballroom was built in 1468. In 1709 the castle ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Tancarville, France

Château des Tourelles

The Château des Tourelles was built originally in 1196, when Philippe Auguste (Philip II of France), fighting against the king of England, Richard the Lionheart, for possession of Normandy, seized Vernon and made the town a military base. The castle consists of a square tower surounded by four round turrets, the whole edifice rising to a height of twenty metres. It is one of the few castles in France which has been ...
Founded: 1196 | Location: Vernon, 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

Château des Ducs

Château des Ducs (Castle of Dukes) was a former house of Dukes of Normandy. It was burnt down in the Hundred Years" War and rebuilt soon after in the 14th century. Since 1827 it has been a courthouse.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Argentan, France

Château d'Acquigny

Acquigny sits at the confluence of two rivers: the Eure, formerly navigable to Chartres, and the Iton. The two rivers were dammed and redirected during the twelfth century by the monks of Conches-en-Ouche to power mills in the region. These newly created branches also fed into the castle"s moats protecting the Saint-mals monastery and the medieval village located directly behind the current castle. During the Hundre ...
Founded: 1557 | Location: Acquigny, France

Château de Bonneville-sur-Touques

Château de Bonneville-sur-Touques was mentioned already in the 11th century, but the castle was probably built in the 13th century (the biggest tower is however mentioned already in the late 1100s).
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bonneville-sur-Touques, France

Château de Brécy

Château de Brécy was built in the 17th century and the other buildings a century later. It is famous for its balcony gardens surrounded by stone balustrades and statues and exceptional high and finely decorated gate.
Founded: 17th century | Location: Saint-Gabriel-Brécy, France

Château de la Fresnaye

Château de la Fresnaye was built in the 17th century. The estate was acquired in 1640 by Nicolas Vauquelin and three manor buildings were mentioned in document dated to 1678. The main building was rebuilt in 1750. The beautiful English style park surrounds the castle.
Founded: 17th century | Location: Falaise, France

Château de Regnéville

Château de Regnéville is a ruined castle, intended to protect the important dry harbour of Regnéville-sur-Mer. The fortress was founded in the 12th century and the major remains date from the 14th century. It was then composed of an upper courtyard in the east, whose foundations were partially revealed at the time of the excavations carried out in 1991 to 1993. The large tower, of which there remain on ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Regnéville-sur-Mer, France

Château de Crèvecoeur

Château de Crèvecoeur is a small castle survived to this day practically intact. The inner bailey is protected by the moat, the motte and its curtain wall dating back to the 12th century, slashed with arrow slits. The only way across to the inner bailey, and thus the lord’s dwelling-place, is a single footbridge. The importance of farming is immediately obvious. There is a farm, a dovecote and a barn i ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Crèvecœur-en-Auge, France

Château de Tilly

Château de Tilly was built by Claude Le Roux, the adviser of Parlement de Normandie, between 1530-1535. The castle is a small Renaissance jewel with its turrets with pointed roofs and red brick façades decorated with diamond shapes and lattices.
Founded: 1530-1535 | Location: Boissey-le-Châtel, France

Château de Couterne

Château de Couterne was originally built by Jehan de Frotté, who acquired the estate in 1542. The granite and red-brick castle has been rebuilt several stages between the 16th and 18th centuries and it has been owned by Frotté family all the time. Today it is open to the public in summer season.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Couterne, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Palacio Real de Aranjuez is a former Spanish royal residence. It was established around the time Philip II of Spain moved the capital from Toledo to Madrid. Aranjuez became one of four seasonal seats of government, occupied during the springtime (from about holy week). Thereafter, the court moved successively to Rascafría, El Escorial and wintered in Madrid. Aranjuez Cultural Landscape is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After the Christian conquest, Aranjuez was owned by the Order of Santiago and a palace was built for its Grand Masters where the Royal Palace stands today. When the Catholic Monarchs assumed the office of Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, Aranjuez became part of the Royal estate. This fertile land, located between the Tajo and Jarama Rivers, was converted into the Spanish monarchy"s most lavish country retreat: during Spain"s Golden Age, Aranjuez became a symbol for the perfection of nature by mortal hands, as El Escorial was for art.

Such excellence was based on strong Renaissance foundations, as Charles V envisaged this inherited estate as a large Italian-inspired villa, a desire continued by Philip II who appointed Juan Bautista de Toledo to design leafy avenues that ran through the gardens and farming land. A series of dams was constructed in the 16th century to control the course of the Tajo River and create a network of irrigation canals.

The splendour of the estate was only enhanced by the Bourbon monarchs, who would spend the whole spring, from Easter to July, at the Palace. Phillip V added new gardens and Ferdinand VI designed a new system of tree-lined streets and created a small village within the estate, which was further developed by Charles III and Charles IV. As Ferdinand VII and Isabella II continued to visit Aranjuez during the spring, the splendour of this site was maintained until 1870.

The Royal Palace, built by Phillip II on the site of the old palace of the Grand Masters of Santiago, was designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo –under whom construction began in 1564– and later Juan Herrera, who only managed to finish half the project. Although glimpses of the original layout still remain, the building itself is more characteristic of the classicism favoured by the Hapsburg monarchs, with alternating white stone and brick. The original design was continued by Phillip V in 1715 but not finished until 1752 under Ferdinand VI. The rectangular layout that Juan Bautista de Toledo had planned, and that took two centuries to complete, was only maintained for 20 years, since in 1775 Charles III added two wings onto the Palace.

Real Casa del Labrador

As the Prince of Asturias, Charles IV was a frequent visitor to the pier pavilions built by Ferdinand VI and grew up playing in the Prince’s Garden. When he became King, he decided to build a new country house at the far end of these gardens, known as the Casa del Labrador (the labourer"s house) due to its modest exterior that was designed to heavily contrast the magnificent internal decor. It was built by chief architect Juan de Villanueva and his pupil Isidro González Velázquez, who designed some of the interior spaces. These rooms, developed in various stages until 1808, are the greatest example of the lavish interior decor favoured by this monarch in his palaces and country retreats. Highlights at this Site include the combination of different types of art and the luxurious textiles, in particular the silks from Lyon, as well as wealth of original works on the main floor, where Ferdinand VII added various paintings and landscapes by Brambilla.

King"s Garden, the Island Garden, Parterre Garden and the Prince"s Garden

Phillip II, a great lover of gardens, paid special attention to this feature of the Aranjuez Palace: during his reign, he maintained both the Island Garden, designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, and the King"s Garden, immediately adjacent to the Palace and whose current layout was designed by Philip IV. The majority of the fountains on this island were commissioned by Phillip IV, while the Bourbons added other features such as the Charles III benches.

Phillip V made two French-style additions to the existing gardens: the Parterre Garden in front of the palace and the extension at the far end of the Island Garden, known as the Little Island, where he installed the Tritons Fountain that was later moved to the Campo del Moro park by Isabella II.

The Prince"s Garden owes its name and creation to the son and heir of Charles III who, in the 1770s, began to use Ferdinand VI"s old pier for his own enjoyment. He also created a landscaped garden in the Anglo-French style that was in fashion at the time and which was directly influenced by Marie Antoinette"s gardens at the Petit Trianon. Both Juan de Villanueva and Pablo Boutelou collaborated in the design of this garden.