Colpach Castle was originally a small medieval stronghold surrounded by a moat, similar to the castles at Ell and Everlange. The earliest reference dates from 1303. From 1628, it belonged to the Pforzheims who filled in the moat and converted it into a modest manor house around 1747 (the date on the entrance gate). In the 19th century, it was administered as a farming centre by Baron Edouard de Marches who lived in Guirsch Castle near Arlon. In about 1870, he laid out the gardens surrounding the castle. The lake with an island, the curved pathways, the ornamental bushes and trees can still be seen today. In 1874, his widow née Cécile Papier married the famous Hungarian painter Michael Munkácsy. They spent their summers in Colpach Castle and the winters in Paris. In 1886, Franz Liszt visited the couple in Colpach shortly before his death. After 1900, the castle was increasingly deserted by Munkácsy's widow who died in 1915.
Émile Mayrisch, head of ARBED, bought the castle and surrounding area on 27 January 1917. From 1917 to 1920, he had the castle enlarged and modified by the architect Sosthène Weis, lending it a simple but elegant style.
Together with his wife Aline, Mayrisch made the castle a centre of attraction for noteworthy politicians, economists, writers and artists between the two world wars. Guests included Walther Rathenau, André Gide, Jacques Rivière, Otto Bartning and Théo van Rysselberghe.
In 1947, Aline Mayrisch bequeathed the castle to the Red Cross for use as a convalescent home. The facilities have been constantly improved over the years. The park is open to visitors all the year round. It is particularly suitable for handicapped visitors.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.