Château de Châteaudun

Châteaudun, France

Château de Châteaudun was built between the 12th and 16th centuries. The Count of Blois Thibaut V had the keep built around 1170. The Sainte-Chapelle was built between 1451 and 1493. The choir and the high chapel were built between 1451 and 1454, with the nave and the oratory between 1460 and 1464. Jehan de Dunois, the bâtard d'Orléans (Bastard of Orléans), built the west wing (the "aile Dunois") between 1459 and 1468. The bell tower was erected in 1493.

François I of Orléans-Longueville began construction of the north wing between 1469 and 1491. The upper floors were added by François II d'Orléans-Longueville and his descendants during the first quarter of the 16th century.

Today the castle includes a keep, a chapel (Sainte-Chapelle), the Dunois wing and the Longueville wing. Château de Châteaudun overlooks the Loir river. Perched on a limestone outcrop, it shows its origins as a 12th century fortress. Converted during the Renaissance into a comfortable residence, the main body of the building is roofed in the gothic style. It still has, notably, a finely carved staircase from this period. Renovated since the 1930s, the castle has been classed as a historic monument since 1918.

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Details

Founded: 1170
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Paul Longstaff (8 months ago)
Lovely little town and a great chateau to ramble around for a modest entry fee
Gerald Burton (9 months ago)
Ancient area of Chareaudun. Well worth a visit for history buffs.
Merlijn Krijntjes (10 months ago)
An amazing place to visit and experience all the history. The chateau itself can be visited by yourself but the 12th century tower can only be visited with a french guided tour. Well worth the time.
Karen Kerr (13 months ago)
Great overnight camper stop chateau lovely, very peaceful with the river, facilities clean
René Christensen (2 years ago)
Really exciting place where you want to come back ... have been there several times over the past 8 years and you can see that it is improving continuously. In addition, entering the price is fine and you can pack your car close to. I would like to recommend that you go in and see the place ... and maybe a trip into the square in the city center, which is within walking distance of the castle.
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Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.