Crèvecœur Castle

Dinant, Belgium

The ruins of the Château de Crèvecœur are located in Bouvignes-sur-Meuse, part of the Belgian city of Dinant. The ruin field can be visited freely all year round at your own risk.

Already at the end of the 11th century, Godfrey I, Count of Namur had a fortress built at Bouvignes. His son Henry the Blind had heavy walls built around it. Archaeologically identified fire marks are associated with a siege of Bouvignes in 1188 by Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut. Knights from the County of Champagne then came to help the Namur with the defence. On behalf of Ermesinde, Countess of Luxembourg, Waleran III, Duke of Limburg besieged the castle in 1214, but this time it held out.

From the 14th century, it was the people of Liège who threatened the castle. A first siege took place in 1321 without success. Presumably just before that, around 1320, the square tower of Crèvecœur was erected on a separate rock. In the old feud between Bouvignes inNamur and Dinant in Liège, this building was a response to the tower of Montorgueil that the Dinantians had built on the other side of the Meuse. Crèvecœur was extended in 1388 by master builder Godefroid de Bofiaule and later received a semicircular extension (bastille). A third construction phase took place during and after a new siege.

That happened when Bouvignes was in Burgundian hands. The captain of Crèvecœur, Jean le Blondel (Blondeau), tried to capture the tower of Montorgueil on the night of 5 to 6 February 1429. At the request of the Dinantezen, Prince-Bishop John of Heinsberg launched the Wars of Liège of 1429-1431. Despite the use of a 'cat' (medieval assault construction) and serious damage to the castle, the people of Liège were unable to enter. With the arrival of Philip the Good, the siege was broken down and a truce was concluded. The legend of the three ladies of Crèvecœur is linked to this Liège episode.

After many quarrels, sieges and battles, Dinant and Bouvignes finally met the same fate: in 1554 they were sacked by the French soldiers of King Henry II of France. Because of the resistance against the French army, Crèvecœur Castle was heavily damaged by artillery. It lost its military function and was manned only as a watchtower. To this end, it was partly rebuilt between 1567 and 1580. In 1655 the French took the castle one last time and in 1672 it was dismantled under the supervision of François d'Otreppe. The ruin was restored in 1950-1951.


The actual castle of Crèvecœur rises on a cliff eighty meters above the Meuse. The core is formed by a square keep from ca. 1320. Along the keep, two staircases of twelve steps give access to a protruding, semi-circular bastille from the 15th century. The full length of forty meters reached Crèvecœur ca. 1430.

Below Crèvecœur is the old count's castle, which is three times as long and whose ruins are situated on three levels. The highest and also the oldest is at the height of the Romanesque keep (floor plan 15 x 11.5 metres). On a second terrace, five meters lower, was the farmstead, which was extended in the 13th century towards Sint-Lambertuskerk. This part contains a still remarkably well-preserved cellar. The Saint Catherine's Chapel, the coinage and the large hall that served as town hall were also located here. The third and lowest terrace came up against the Sint-Lambertus Church.



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Rue Richier 19, Dinant, Belgium
See all sites in Dinant


Founded: 1320
Category: Castles and fortifications in Belgium

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Barry Hooper (2 years ago)
Beautiful imposing ruins… but the path for access by walking runs thru someone’s yard, and the gate was locked. Would be great if it was not only accessible by car.
Chamel Badr Khan (2 years ago)
Great view of the city of Dinant with the river Meuse. Beautiful ruined castle in need of restoration.
Darya Silchenko (2 years ago)
Great place to visit in Dinant! The walk over from the city is relaxing, by the water. Then, closer to the castle you are able to walk through a small village (Bouvignes) which is calm, quiet and peaceful. There you can see the church and the castle, which is already worth the walk. I almost didn't walk up to the castle because I was wearing sandals, but the walk up was not that bad. It's quite an incline and would probably be very difficult if wet, but it only took about 8-10 minutes. The view is well worth it! Especially for a free attraction, I recommend!
Euge (2 years ago)
There is little left of the castle itself, but some bastions, still worthy for the view over the river and the city of Dinant on a good day
Melissa - (2 years ago)
Very nice, however be careful on the hiking path, it could be not so accessible.
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