Chateaux of Normandy

Château de Miromesnil

Built in 1590 on the remains of the old fortified castle destroyed during the Battle of Arques, the Miromesnil castle is the testimony of four centuries of architectural history. The simple lines of the Henry IV style south façade contrast with the decorative profusion of the Louis XIII monumental north facade. Despite the succession of numerous landlords, the castle has kept its decorative elements from the past ...
Founded: 1590 | Location: Tourville-sur-Arques, France

Château du Plessis-Bouquelon

Château du Plessis-Bouquelon was built first in the 16th century and enlarged during the 18th and 19th centuries. The oldest mention of the castle dates from 1464. The chapel was built in 1844.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Saint-Mards-de-Blacarville, 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-sur-Epte Ruins

The Château-sur-Epte Castle construction was begun in 1097 by William Rufus, King of England, to reinforce the frontier of Epte. The castle occupied a site on the border between the Duchy of Normandy and the Kingdom of France. In 1119, it was besieged by Louis VI of France and reinforced by the Plantagenets in the 12th century and again during the Hundred Years" War. In the 12th century, it was restored and re ...
Founded: 1097 | Location: Château-sur-Epte, France

Château du Tourps

The history of Château du Tourps dates to the mid-1100s. It was burnt down by English Army in 1346 and besieged during the Wars or Religion in 1591. Since the late 1600s the château lied in ruins. The current private mansion dates from the 18th century.
Founded: 18th century | Location: Anneville-en-Saire, France

Château de Plain-Marais

Château de Plain-Marais was built to the hill surrounded by marsh land in the 14th century. In the 15th century it was owned by Jean d"Arclais and later by Jean de Talbot. It was originally a square stone castle surrounded by a moat. Current main building, annexes and tower were built in the 15th and 16th centuries and the major restoration was made in the 17th century.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Beuzeville-la-Bastille, France

Château du Taillis

Château du Taillis was built in 1530 by Jehan du Fay du Tailly in an Italian Renaissance style on the foundations of a fortified mansion of the 13th century. It was extended between the 17th and the 18th century. The castle has a beautiful large park with a chapel dating from the 16th century.
Founded: 1530 | Location: Duclair, France

Château d'Yville

With its magnificent park and gardens, the 18th-century Château d"Yville and its domain are privately owned, and usually closed to the public. It was built in 1723-1735 to the site of 15th century mansion, which was destroyed in 1708.
Founded: 1723-1735 | Location: Yville-sur-Seine, France

Château des Ravalet

Château des Ravalet is an outstanding Renaissance style castle, built between 1562 and 1575. Transformed into a farm during the 17th century, it was restored between 1859 and 1874 by Alexis de Tocqueville’s family, the author of on democracy in America. They created the park, with its ponds and its exotic greenhouse. The Cherbourg city acquired the castle in 1935. Today, the castle and its park are both listed as natio ...
Founded: 1562-1575 | Location: Tourlaville, France

Château du Repas

The current Château du Repas was built to the site of older castle in the early 17th century, probably between 1605-1615. The U-shaped building was surrounded by a moat.
Founded: 1605-1615 | Location: Chênedouit, France

Château de Sassy

Château de Sassy was built of stone and bricks in the 18th century. It has imposing four levels of terraces. The Duke d’Audiffret-Pasquier, ancestor of the present owners, bought Sassy in 1850 and converted the east wing into a library, in order to house the important Parisian collection of his uncle, the Chancellor Pasquier. Visitors can admire a fine furniture, various Aubusson and Gobelins tapestries and i ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Saint-Christophe-le-Jajolet, France

Château d'Ô

Château d"Ô was built in the 15th and 17th centuries with a flamboyant Gothic and Renaissance style. A moat surrounds the castle. Guided tours are available parts to the orangery and inside the castle.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Mortrée, France

Château de Houlbec

Château de Houlbec-près-le-Gros-Theil was originally a square castle with rounded corner towers. It was built in the Middle Ages and conquered by English in 1418 (Hundred Years' War) and by Catholic League in 1588 (during the Wars of Religion). The castle was rebuilt in 1786 and heavily damaged by fire in 1910. Today the château is abandoned but two towers and other signicant ruins still remain.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Houlbec-prés-le-Gros-Theil, 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

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

Manoir d’Ango

The Manoir d’Ango was built between 1530 and 1542 by the Dieppe ship-owner Jehan Ango. It is the work of Italian architects and artists. The southern wing of the manor includes a loggia and a gallery with four bays. The upper part of the south wing is decorated with frescoes by 16th century Italian artists. The entrance to Ango’s manor house is through a vaulted passage between two buildings, one of which has ...
Founded: 1530-1542 | Location: Varengeville-sur-Mer, France

Château d'Ételan

In 1494 Louis Picart, magistrate of Troyes and Tournaisis, friend and chamberlain of King Louis XII with whom he went to Italy, undertook the construction of the Château d"Ételan. It was built on the site of a fortress which has been destroyed under the order of Louis XI. Of the medieval construction, only the cellar, the castle wall and the guard house dating from 1350 remain. The castle was later conv ...
Founded: 1494 | Location: Saint-Maurice-d'Ételan, France

Château de Verneuil-sur-Avre Ruins

Château de Verneuil-sur-Avre has attested since XIe century. It formed with Tillières-on-Avre and Nonancourt a defensive curtain against the possible incursions in Normandy of the counts de Chartres. Philippe Auguste built there after 1204 one of his famous circular towers.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Verneuil-sur-Avre, France

Château de Bonnemare

Château de Bonnemare was built to the site of medieval manor in the mid-1500s by Nicolas Leconte. Later it has been owned among others by Étienne de Fieux (1637), Cromelin de Villette family (18th century), Charles Le Blond, and Gustave Gatine (1888), the predecessor of current owners. The castle consists of main building, gatehouse and Renaissance chapel from the 16th century. Today Bonnemare is a hotel. The notable d ...
Founded: 1570 | Location: Radepont, France

Château du Buisson de May

In the Middle ages, the land of today Château du Buisson de May belonged probably to the family de May. The oldest written document dates back to XVth century, when Jean de Brucourt, responsible for the famous Chatelet of Paris, sold the estate of Osmoy Michel de Bordeaux. The family de Bordeaux kept the Buisson de May over the centuries, selling wood, letting out land, farm and houses, as they were aldermen in Vern ...
Founded: 1781-1783 | Location: Saint-Aquilin-de-Pacy, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.