Chateaux of Normandy

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 de Médavy

Château de Médavy is a beautiful 18th century castle with classical architecture inspired in particular by Mansart (Versailles’ architect). Current main building was erected between 1705 and 1724 for Jacques-Léonor Rouxel de Médavy, marshal of France. The entirety was refurbished between 1754 and 1789 by Pierre Thiroux de Monregard, superintendent of the French relays and postal service. ...
Founded: 1705-1724 | Location: Médavy, France

Château de la Motte

The history of Château de la Motte began as a Viking motte and bailey fortress and evolved into the 18th and 19th century Château seen today. The two most noted families who owned the site were the Gabriel Montgommerys and the Nicolas Angos, but its role as Resistance center in World War II may be its most notable episode. Long established Norman châteaux, like Château de la Motte, usually origina ...
Founded: c. 1700 | Location: Joué-du-Plain, 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 Martinvast

Château de Martinvast was built in three different centuries: 11th, 16th and 19th centuries. The first castle was ruined in the Hundred Years" War and rebuilt between 1579 and 1581 by Bertholde du Moncel, with a wingframed by two large, square protucing fortified lodges. Of the medieval construction which remained, he only retained the keep. It was at that time surrrounded by moats and marshland. From 1820 to 1 ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Martinvast, France

Château Ganne Ruins

Château Ganne was an ancient castle built in the 11th and 12th centuries by La Pommeraye family. The big storm on the December 1999 destroyed the the castle ruins and today only basement and some walls remain.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Cossesseville, France

Fontaine Saint-Denis Ruins

Fontaine Saint-Denis was a former castle of the count of Evreux, of which the walls have been restored. The first wooden castle was burnt down in 1024. The new stone castle was also destroyed by fire in the 15th century. Medieval tower with viewpoint dominating the Seine Valley and pathway around walls with drawbridge. Inside the walls, remnants of wood store and old chapel. At the foot of the site, an old wash house has ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Notre-Dame-de-Gravenchon, France

Château de Querqueville

The construction of Château de Querqueville was probably built in 1730 by Barbou family. Napoleon I visited in the castle in 1811. In 1938 it was acquired by the Querqueville community as a town hall.
Founded: 1730 | Location: Querqueville, France

Château de Brécourt

Château de Brécourt was built in 1625. It consists of a moat and U-shaped main building. Today it is a hotel.
Founded: 1625 | Location: Douains, France

Château de la Madeleine

Château de la Madeleine was originally built in 1129 by St. Adjutor (the patron saint of the river sailors, who died in 1131) and it was dedicated to Mary Magdalene. There is only one wall left to the west of the property. In 1407 a monk named Jean le Vigneron probably built a new castle and priory to the same site. The priory called 'priory of La Madeleine' remained church property until 1789, when it was confiscated. T ...
Founded: 1129 | Location: Pressagny-l'Orgueilleux, France

Manoir d'Auffay

There has been a feodal castle near the current Manoir d'Auffay since 11th century. Today a some stone fragments remain of this castle. The current castle was built in the early 1500s by Jacques D'Holbach and his nephew Antoine. The square-form building has rounded towers in corners.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Oherville, France

Château de la Rivière-Bourdet

The first castle in Quevillon was built by Étienne Bourdet in the 13th century and it was demolished in 1570. The current castle dates from the 1620s and it was built by Charles II Maignart de Bernières. Voltaire stayed in the castle in 1723. Today Château de la Rivière-Bourdet is in private use.
Founded: 1620s | Location: Quevillon, France

Château de Beaumont-le-Richard

Château de Beaumont-le-Richard is named after Richard du Hommet (1115-1180), who built the castle. With the decline of the seigniory, the castle was replaced by a farm, which functioned up until World War II. Today everything but the chapel is in ruins. The private chapel was dedicated in 1640 and other farm buildings were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. The castle and the surrounding terrain is private prope ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Englesqueville-la-Percée, 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

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 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 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

Chateau de Guernon-Ranville

he actual date of construction of the Château de Guernon-Ranville is not known. However, taking into account the architectural style of the château and notably the harmony of its façade, the château was built in the 18th century. Its name comes from the family who acquired the fief of Ranville in 1751 and who then added Ranville to their patronymic name, the result of which is Guernon-Ranville . T ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Ranville, France

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 Crosville

The history of Crosville family dates from the Norman Age (11th century), but the Château de Crosville was built in the late 1400s by Jean Boudet Crosville. Today the keep and gatehouse remain of this castle. In the 18th century Jean V Crosville rebuilt the castle, but it was left to decay in 1742. Put up for sale in 1980, the Lefol family, then farmers, bought up the entire property. Today, thanks to their eager f ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Crosville-sur-Douve, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.