The Norman Château de Caen was built in c. 1060 by William the Conqueror, who successfully conquered England in 1066. His son Henry I then built the Saint Georges church, a keep (1123) and a large hall for the Duke Court. At Christmas 1182, a royal court celebration for Christmas in the aula of Caen Castle brought together Henry II and his sons, Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland, receiving more than a thousand knights. Caen Castle, along with all of Normandy, was handed over to the French Crown in 1204. Philip II reinforced the fortifications.The castle saw several engagements during the Hundred Years' War (1346, 1417, 1450).
The keep was pulled down in 1793 during the French Revolution, by order of the National Convention.The castle, which was used as a barracks during World War II, was bombed in 1944 and seriously damaged.In 1946, Michel de Boüard, an archeologist from Caen decided to start excavations in the area of the castle to bring to the light medieval traces. The musée des Beaux-Arts, which was installed in 1967, opened in 1971.
The castle was constructed on a hillock and is now in the middle of the city. With an area of 5.5 hectares, it is one of the largest castles in Western Europe. It remained an essential feature of Norman strategy and policy.
Today, the castle serves as a museum that houses the Museum of Fine Arts of Caen, Museum of Normandy along with many periodical exhibitions about arts and history, Saint Georges church and the Exchequer of Normandy, used as a temporary hall of exhibitions, which seated the Court of Normandy.
There is also a garden showing plants cultivated in the middle-ages. The keep, now razed, had a large square section with round towers at each corner. As the castle, it was also surrounded by a moat. The top of the ramparts offers a splendid view of Caen. Some parts of the curtain walls were built during the 12th century, most of them date from the 15th century.References:
The Château des ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany) is a large castle located in Nantes. It served as the centre of the historical province of Brittany until its separation in 1941. It was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany between the 13th and 16th centuries, subsequently becoming the Breton residence of the French Monarchy. Today the castle houses the Nantes History Museum.
The restored edifice now includes the new Nantes History Museum, installed in 32 of the castle rooms. The museum presents more than 850 objects of collection with the aid of multimedia devices. The castle and the museum try to offer a modern vision of the heritage by presenting the past, the present and the future of the city. Night-time illuminations at the castle further reinforce the revival of the site. The 500-metre round walk on the fortified ramparts provides views not just of the castle buildings and courtyards but also of the town.