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

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

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 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

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.