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

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.