Château de Dinan

Dinan, France

The Château de Dinan consists of a keep and gate, which are part of the 2,600 metres of medieval ramparts which still surround the old town. The keep is called Donjon de la duchesse Anne (Keep of the Duchess Anne), and stands 34m high near the Saint Louis gate. John V, Duke of Brittany built the keep in 1382-1383. The keep is formed by a union of two tall circular towers; a moat and drawbridge divides the keep from the outside of the ramparts as well as from the inside of the city, providing a stronghold both against outsiders and from the townspeople themselves. Extensive machicolations overhang the wall head providing defensive coverage of the base of the tower. Château de Dinan is owned by the commune and houses the local museum.

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Château d'Olhain

The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.

The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.

The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.

During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.