Achstetten Castle is a spacious three-storey building in classicist style. Two wings are loosely attached to the main structure at a right angle. These two wings function as economy buildings. On three sides the castle is surrounded by a large park, which is home to an enclosure where fallow deers are kept. The main access to the castle is by a driveway measuring about 150 metres in length. Noteworthy of the interior are a classicist staircase, 19th century furniture, an iron stove from 1798, portraits of the Freyberg family and a porcelain collection. A raised and roofed passageway on wooden pillars connects the castle to the nearby church. This passageway has a length of approximately 100 metres. Passageways of this kind, which enabled the lord of the castle and his family to enter the church without being subject to the weather, were not uncommon; remnants of such a construction can also be seen at Großlaupheim Castle.
A castle in Achstetten was first mentioned ion 1386. In a description dating from 1449, the castle is said to be a tall building, surrounded by moats and having two bridges. The castle was looted and burnt to the ground during the German Peasants' War in 1525 by members of the local peasant army, the Baltringer Haufe. A new castle was erected in 1583 which was described in 1620 by the visiting abbot of Ochsenhausen Abbey as a splendid palace.
By around 1750 it consisted of an inner yard, surrounded by a large building which contained the stables, a derelict barn and a gate on the ground floor, the granary in the attic and living quarters in between. To the left of the gate there was a prison building and the dairy whereas on the right hand side of the gate more stables for cattle and sheep were located. In the outer yard stood the building allocated to the Vogt as well as a barn. The castle and its gardens were surrounded by a tall hedge which functioned as a living wall.
The original castle was owned by the barons of Freyberg until 1639 after which time it changed hands several times before being bought by Baron Beat Conrad Reuttner von Weyl in 1795. He had the current castle built in 1794–1796. The architect was Franz Anton Bagnato. The building works started one year before the actual contract of sale was signed. Beat Conrad Reuttner von Weyl must therefore have been quite certain of his future acquisition. During the first half of the 19th century, the pond and the moats that surrounded the previous castle were drained and turned into a park. Most recently restoration works at the castle took place in 1982 and 1983. In 1996 a fountain, which already appeared in the original plans by Bagnato, was erected in the castle yard.
Achstetten Castle and its estate are in the possession of the family Reuttner von Weyl who still reside at the castle. It is also home to the offices for the administration and the management of the estate. The castle is in private hands and not accessible to the public.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.