Château de Regnéville is a ruined castle, intended to protect the important dry harbour of Regnéville-sur-Mer. The fortress was founded in the 12th century and the major remains date from the 14th century. It was then composed of an upper courtyard in the east, whose foundations were partially revealed at the time of the excavations carried out in 1991 to 1993. The large tower, of which there remain only two of the four sides, was located at the north-east of this upper courtyard. In the west, facing the harbour, the lower courtyard was originally the royal residence of Charles the Bad.
In 1336, the fiefdom of Regnéville passed into the hands of the Navarre. In 1349, Charles the Bad, king of Navarre, inherited the Norman possessions of his father, the count of Evreux. In 1364, Charles V ascended the French throne. The supproters of Charles the Bad, allied with the English, held Normandy, relying on numerous castles. Regnéville received important work to reinforce its fortifications. At the beginning of May 1378, the fortress of Regnéville was taken by French troops. After the death of Charles V in 1380, his son Charles VI returned his lands to Charles the Bad. Eveentually, Regnéville left the Navarrese inheritance to finally join the kingdom of France.
In March 1418, the Duke of Gloucester seized the castle. In 1435, the captain of the castle was Hue Spencer. He was the bailiff of Cotentin for the king of England, combining high administrative office and military command. Until 1448, he made Regnéville his residence. On 19 September 1449, the fortress was retaken from the English by the constable of Richemont.
In 1603, the fiefdom of Regnéville was sold to Isaac de Piennes, lord of Bricqueville. In 1626, King Louis XIII ordered the demolition of the fortifications of cities and castles which were not at the borders of France or considered to be important to the kingdom. The castle was rased in 1637. The keep, filled with powder, burst and split from top to bottom, along the spiral staircase. The lords of Piennes lived in the place until the 18th century. In the middle of the 19th century, Victor Bunel installed a mechanical sawmill for cutting marble in the former lower courtyard. The castle was acquired by the Conseil Général de la Manche (département council) in 1989. It was classified as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture in 1991. The restoration of the castle, undertaken in 1994, seeks to restore the appearance at the time of Roulland de Gourfaleur, at the end of the 16th century.
In the north-eastern corner of the upper courtyard of the castle is a rectangular tower some 20 metres (~65 ft) in height, the thickness of the walls exceeding three metres. Four storeys, including three arched, were served by a spiral staircase, rebuilt in the 16th century and still visible nowadays. At the ground floor, a cellar was used to store supplies. In the 16th century, Roulland de Gourfaleur made bays in the western and southern sides of the keep. These openings led to a balcony supported by a pair of large double corbels.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.