Chateaux of Normandy

Manoir de Vauville

The manor of Vauville was originally built as a fortress in 1163 by Richard de Vauville who participated in the Conquest of England with William the Conqueror. The current château was built in the 1650s. It has been in the same family since 1890. The garden was created in the moat in 1947 by the parents of the present owners, who had a particular interest in exotic plants. Since 1980 the garden has grown from two to ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Vauville, 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 Gratot

The first Château de Gratot was built during the 14th century, but it underwent many transformations until the 18th century. It was constructed by the family of Argouges, barons of Gratot, who sold the castle in 1771. The castle is built in a number of styles, the most recent addition being a pavilion built in the 18th century.The castle was neglected in the 19th century, and was used as a fodder warehouse for local ...
Founded: 1251 | Location: Gratot, 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 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 Bizy

Château de Bizy was built first in 1675 by Michel-André Jubert de Bouville and reconstructed in 1740 by Coutant d"Ivry. He redesigned the castle in a classical style inspired by Versailles. Bizy has had notable owners, including Louis XV, the Duke of Penthièvre and Louis-Philippe. In the castle, the rooms are decorated with beautiful Regency woodwork and house mementoes from the Bonaparte family, ...
Founded: 1675 | Location: Vernon, France

Château de Martainville

Château de Martainville was built in the 15th and 16th centuries. It houses a fantastic exhibit of everyday life items in Normandy, from 16th to 19th centuries. Furniture, chinaware, kitchen equipment, dairy implements are all displayed according to their geographic origin from the Pays de Bray, the Pays de Caux, and the coast. The top floor of the castle is devoted to Norman costumes.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Martainville-Épreville, France

Château de Tournebu

Château de Tournebu was originally built by the Tournebu family in the 12th and 13th centuries. In the early 17th century it was modified and enlarged with four bastions. The castle was destroyed during the Revolution. Today donjon, a keep, remains.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tournebu, France

Château de Versainville

The construction of Château de Versainville was started in 1715 by François-Joseph de Marguerit. It was completed until 1730. The castle renewed and modified in the early 20th century. Today Versainville is used for weddings or seasonal rentals.
Founded: 1715 | Location: Versainville, 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 d'Ailly

Château d'Ailly was first mentioned in 1050 when Robert d'Ailly built a manor surrounded with walls, moat and mill. The near St. Gerbold's Church was also built then. In 1431 english King Henry VI gave the land property of Ailly to his uncle. Back in French possession, the manor belonged to the Courseulles and De Saint Laurens families until it was acquired by d'Aubert de Caudémone in the 17th century. Charle ...
Founded: 1050 | Location: Bernières-d'Ailly, France

Manoir de Coutainville

The Manoir de Coutainville is a fortified manor house built during 15th and 17th centuries that was a fiefdom of Jean de Costentin. It is listed in the French Supplementary Inventory of Historic Monuments. Today it is a hotel.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Agon-Coutainville, France

Château d'Olivet Ruins

Château d"Olivet was an motte-and-bailey castle in the Grimbosq forest. It was built in the 11th century by Erneis Taisson. The castle was demolished probably in the 17th century. The excavation and restoration of ruins was made in the 1970s.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Saint-Laurent-de-Condel, France

Château de Mesnières

In the 11th century there was wooden fort on the site of current castle, built by Robert Mesnières. It was demolished in the 15th century and the new Renaissaince castle was built in the early 1500s and inaugurated in 1546. It was influenced by famous castles of Loire valley. In 1590 Château de Mesnières was moved to the possession of Fautereau family. Louis Fautereau enlarged and decorated the castle ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Mesnières-en-Bray, France

Château de Bonneville

In the 15th century, the site of château belonged to the family Bonneville. Jean Bonneville, king"s chamberlain, was quoted in 1400 as lord of Chamblac and Bonneville. The castle was a property of this family until the 18th century. The mansion is a square brick house, fully renovated during the Louis XV era with mansard roofs. In the 19th century Château de Bonneville was a residence of writer Jean de La ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Chamblac, 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 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

Château de Bailleul

Château de Bailleul was built by Bertrand de Bailleul, powerful nobleman, who acquired the land in 1534. The castle was probably completed between 1550-1560. It was strongly modified in the late 1700s and the major restoration was made in 1870-1890. It has never been sold and is still in possession of Bailleul family.
Founded: 1543-1560 | Location: Angerville-Bailleul, 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 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

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.