There was a small fort in Bettembourg as far back as the 10th century. A tower was added later but was removed when further extensions were made in the 17th century. A second castle was built around 1733 by Lothaire de Zievel and his wife Appolinaire-Agnès-Elisabeth de Haagen Motten. The neighbouring stream known as the Düdelingerbach was probably one of the reasons they chose the site. The rather austere architectural style was typical of the period, especially as the building was designed in the interests of farming.
The oldest part of the castle is the south wing which housed stables and barns. The north wing, now the main part of the U-shaped complex, was added later. In about 1759, Jean-Henri de Zievel charged the architect Rousselet de Boulay with major restoration work. In 1765, on the death of the last member of the De Zievel family, the castle fell into the hands of the castle manager, Marc-Antoine de Verniolles. Various proprietors followed including members of the Hohenzollern-Hechingen-Haigerloch family (1780), Charles Joseph Collart de Donnea, owner of the Dommeldange iron works (1807), followed by various members of the Collart family until 1971. When his wife, Daisy Collart-Weber, died in 1969, August Collart decided to sell the property. The commune of Bettembourg bought the property in 1971 and, after undertaking extensive restoration and reconstruction work, opened the building as the Bettembourg town hall in 1991.
The castle now serves as the commune's administrative building and as the town hall of Bettembourg. One of the important transformations has been the creation of a large cultural room or art gallery. The castle's ornamental wooden panelling and its many fireplaces are of particular interest. The large park surrounding the castle is also open to the public.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.