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

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.