Château de Martinvast was built in three different centuries: 11th, 16th and 19th centuries. The first castle was ruined in the Hundred Years' War and rebuilt between 1579 and 1581 by Bertholde du Moncel, with a wingframed by two large, square protucing fortified lodges. Of the medieval construction which remained, he only retained the keep. It was at that time surrrounded by moats and marshland. From 1820 to 1867, one of his descendants, Count Alexandre du Moncel, a brigadier and french peer, restored it to make it habitable and flanked it with four towers. Furthermore, he did away with the moats and dried out the marshland.
In 1867, Château de Martinvast was sold to Baron Arthur de Schickler, banker to the king of Prussia in Berlin and transformed into a neo-Gothic Château by the addition of a medieval gallery to the north and the erection of a wing in the same style which connected the keep and the 16th century construction. The architect entrusted with this transformation was the Englishman William Henry White, who had worked on numerous buildings in Paris.
In 1944, the 16th century construction was completely burnt to the ground by a British incendiary bomb, at the same timeas an American bomb blastdestroyed half of the neo-Gothic wing built in the 19th century.
The unique English park of 100 hectares is embellished with forest, meadows, gardens, ponds, waterfalls and an 19th century obelisk. Today Château de Martinvast is a hotel.References:
Situated in the basement of Metropol Parasol, Antiquarium is a modern, well-presented archaeological museum with sections of ruins visible through glass partitions, and underfoot along walkways.
These Roman and Moorish remains, dating from the first century BC to the 12th century AD, were discovered when the area was being excavated to build a car park in 2003. It was decided to incorporate them into the new Metropol Parasol development, with huge mushroom-shaped shades covering a market, restaurants and concert space.
There are 11 areas of remains: seven houses with mosaic floors, columns and wells; fish salting vats; and various streets. The best is Casa de la Columna (5th century AD), a large house with pillared patio featuring marble pedestals, surrounded by a wonderful mosaic floor – look out for the laurel wreath (used by emperors to symbolise military victory and glory) and diadem (similar meaning, used by athletes), both popular designs in the latter part of the Roman Empire. You can make out where the triclinium (dining room) was, and its smaller, second patio, the Patio de Oceano.
The symbol of the Antiquarium, the kissing birds, can be seen at the centre of a large mosaic which has been reconstructed on the wall of the museum. The other major mosaic is of Medusa, the god with hair of snakes, laid out on the floor. Look out for the elaborate drinking vessel at the corners of the mosaic floor of Casa de Baco (Bacchus’ house, god of wine).