Donjon de Pons

Pons, France

Built on the site of an Celtic oppidum, the castle of Pons was an important medieval stronghold due to its location as a hub of roads including those for the pilgrims of Saint James. It belonged to the lord of Aulnay, Charente-Maritime, to the dukes of Aquitaine, then to the lords of Pons. Razed in 1179 by the Duke of Aquitaine Richard Lionheart following a revolt of his vassal, the castle was rebuilt in 1187 by Geoffroy III de Pons with the addition of the imposing quadrangular Keep of Pons, partially over of the foundations of the original, smaller keep and partially over new foundations. Based on the chapel facade, it is believed that the chapel was also rebuilt during this period.

The castle was again destroyed in 1622 (with the exception of the keep and some defensive elements) by the armies of Louis XIII following the siege of 1621. A few years later, Marshal Caesar Phoebus d'Albret had the current main building erected. Despite its cold appearance, several rooms within the Keep have comfortable interior with wooden ceilings and mounted canvas decorated with allegorical figures. The base of the ramparts has been partially preserved, and forms a walk from which one can enjoy a panoramic view of the Seugne valley. Caesar Phoebus d'Albret, Sire de Pons, ordered the construction of the monumental staircase which connects the upper city to the lower city.

The buildings and vestiges of the medieval castle were bought in 1806 by the municipality. Only the Castral Chapel and the Saint-Gilles porch, the Keep and the ramparts on the cliffs are the remains of the medieval fortress. The municipality set up the esplanade in the public garden and repurposed the main building as the town hall.



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Founded: 1623
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Lesley McGee (10 months ago)
Beautiful little town.
Sam Ashton (10 months ago)
Very scenic but scary on top as you can climb many stairs up to the roof!
Anita (2 years ago)
What a shame, they have done away with the fish pond. Put seating up for summer shows but during the day it looks like scaffolding. This used to be a nice place
Mart Hardie (2 years ago)
Beautiful town to visit. Dungeon is a fabulous building, perched high up on a cliff. Festival of St Jacques and Bouchon de Pons well worth a visit in July
Stuart Seale (6 years ago)
This is a must visit site if you are in the area. Interesting exhibition of Medieval weaponry and fantastic views from the roof terrace. Free parking available outside. Recommend
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