Château de Noirmoutier

Noirmoutier-en-l'Île, France

Château de Noirmoutier is very well preserved and a fine example of 12th century medieval architecture. The first traces of the castle appeared in 830 with the construction of a castrum by the abbot Hilbold, from the monastery of Saint-Philbert. It served to defend the monks and the island's population from the Vikings. The castle was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century by the feudal power who was trying to stabilise the region, notably by preventing Norman pillaging. The island at that time was under the control of the barons of La Garnache. The keep was built by Pierre IV of La Garnache, then an enclosure equipped with towers was built around the lower courtyard. In the 16th century, the castle was held by the La Trémoille family, then viscounts of Thouars.

The castle has resisted numerous attacks, like the English in 1342 and 1360, and again in 1386 under the command of the Earl of Arundelthe Spanish in 1524 and 1588. In 1674 it was taken by the Dutch troops of Admiral Tromp.

Château de Noirmoutier was sold in 1720 to Louis IV Henri de Bourbon-Condé who resold it in 1767 to Louis XV. During the French Revolution, the castle served as a military prison. During the 19th century, the castle was used as a barracks. In 1871, during the Paris Commune, insurgents were imprisoned there. In 1960, a house was built within the castle grounds by the governor of the island and the castle. Today, the keep houses the Noirmoutier Museum.

The keep at the centre of the castle is solid and rectangular. Built of rubble, it has three floors with the lords' residence at the top. The keep has numerous murder holes and defensive turrets at the corners. The rectangular fortification consists of two towers, a single gate and two watch turrets in the four corners. At the beginning of the 18th century, the towers were reconstructed and the keep adapted for artillery.

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Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

Rating

3.9/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ian Anderson (2 years ago)
Great views over the area. Best if you speak French to understand the displays in the castle.
Dshaiya Reine des archers (2 years ago)
I was disappointed because of the renovation which caused the castle to block certain access.. But through all I am happy with it.. It's absolutely authentic.. hope to come visit it again after renovation :)
Marie Simpson (2 years ago)
Lovely place to visit especially for the view at the top. The castle and the islands history is told throughout. I don't speak very good French but I did understand what happened there. It was nice to have a history lesson of this part of the beautiful France.
Simon Evans (2 years ago)
A visit to Nourmoutier isn't really complete without a trip to the salt farms or this lovely castle. Right in the centre of town it is an inexpensive hour-long diversion (longer if, unlike me, you speak French and can read all the exhibit information!). The views from the top are worth the entry fee alone. I went on a stunning day which does help but I would imagine even a visit on an overcast day would prove worthwhile.
Matthew Lawrence (2 years ago)
Good museum and the view from the keep roof is spectacular. Wall walk closed til 2020.
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