The Barbican, the 15th century bastion with a circular floor plan used to belong to the wall system of the Bishop's Castle. Its construction is linked to the visit of General Pál Kinizsi, who came to the town in 1498. In the shadow of the Turkish threat the defence systems of castles and towns were strengthened all around the South. The Gothic-style gate tower was built in the 15th century at the western corner of the high castle wall. The Barbican is a round gate tower sitting on a narrow column. Its back gate served a specific purpose: it enabled the defenders to attack the attacking enemy getting in the gate from the side. The Barbican is surrounded with the remains of the castle ditch and you can walk up to the entrance on the old drawbridge. The pulleys of the drawbridge are still displayed inside.
There is a fantastic view opening towards the town from the top of the bastion. You can walk along the machicolation (the wooden walkway) on the top of the Barbican.
After defence structures became obsolete during the 18th-19th century, similarly to other parts of the town, houses were built around the castle wall. The buildings that were built along the castle walls were demolished in the 1960s making the old Barbican as well as other parts of the wall free and visible again.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.