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31 March 2016 @ 05:17 pm
Just a picture from the road, after a long day of discoveries.
According to this website (where you can find a few more historical informations) the castle, overlooking the little bay of Dunmanus, was built in 1430 by Donogh More O'Mahony.


Home of the real Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, and home of the fictitious Earl and Countess of Grantham.  It is not open to the public all year round but there was a Christmas Fair on recently.  Unfortunately there was no photography allowed inside, but here are a few of the outside (built in the 1840s).

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06 November 2015 @ 08:48 pm
Imagine a walled city surrounded by the sea. At low tide, beaches and rocks at the feet of the ramparts. At high tide, islands and waves, sometimes spectacular.
A medieval castle between the harbour, the main beach and the town, and two 17th century forts built by Vauban to improve the defence of the city.
The place was home of many navigators (Jacques Cartier), privateers (René Duguay-Trouin, Robert Surcouf...) and shipowners, but also of François René de Chateaubriand, whose native house was set on the rampart.

In 1693, before the forts were erected and while France was at war with England, English army organized a raid against Saint-Malo and tried to destroy it with an "Infernal Machine", a boat ful of bombs, gunpowder, pitch and grapeshots, that was supposed to explode under the walls during the night. But the boat ran aground on a rock, and exploded too far from the town. On french side, only windows and a house were blown away, and a single victim was made. A cat.

In 1944, Saint-Malo was not so lucky, and 80% destroyed by american fire bombs. A few buildings and the church were rebuilt as they were before, and an "ancient-like" style was used for the rest, but most of the wonderful wood and stone old houses are gone forever. Anyway, it's still a lovely place, one of my favourites on Earth. And you're not watching this post for the houses, but for the castle and forts ;-)

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25 October 2015 @ 11:33 am
The first castle was built here in the 12th century by Jean de Bazoches, on the site of an old Roman post.
In 1675, the famous military ingineer of Louis XIV, Vauban, purchased the place. He turned it into military garrison, where his ingineers worked, and made many fitting-outs, for militar and private use, keeping the original trapezoidal architecture, with its four corner towers and keep.
The descendants of his elder daughter still own the place, now opened to visitors.

08 October 2015 @ 07:24 pm
Robert II d'Harcourt, one of the companions of Richard Lionheart, probably built the first stone castle here, in the late 12th century. One hundred years later, the old keep was integrated to a larger, polygonal castle, and the defence of the castle continued to improve with a monumental fortified door.
In the 17th century, the old castle was partly demolished to make the apartments more comfortable and illuminated. Since these days, it has two faces : the old medieval one, with wide defensive walls and towers, and a more modern and classical one, maybe more welcoming but a bit dull.
The castle was almost abandoned when an old building lover, Louis Gervais Delamarre, bought it in 1802. He restored the place, created a beautiful arboretum in the park and gave it to the Académie Royale d'Agriculture.

"Malmaison", which could be translated by "Bad" or even "Evil House" is a strange name for this quiet, pastoral castle in a quiet suburb of Paris. This is not linked to Napoleon's presence here - whatever you may think of Napoleon ^^ - but History says that Norman invaders had their den here, a lond time ago.
The name (Mala Domus, at that time) appears for the firs time in 1244, and a lordly house is mentioned here in the 16th century. We don't know much about the rebuilding of the castle during the 17th or 18th centuries. Before the Revolution, Mme du Molay had her salon in the castle, visited by Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Grimm, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre...

But the most famous story begins in 1799, when the place is sold to Josephine Bonaparte, Napoleon's wife, while her husband was in Egypt. She spent a fortune to buy the castle and to restore it. A fortune she had not, of course - Napoleon was furious when he came back, but he paid, as usual, and between 1800 and 1802, french government sat in La Malmaison, before settling in Saint-Cloud (a much larger castle, with a royal history). But the place remained Josephine's favourite house. She kept it after the divorce, and died here in 1814.

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This first photo is not good with its white sky, but it's the best I could do with this light to picture the two castles on top of the small city of Bourdeaux.
Two castles for one city ? The first, on the right, was built in the 11th or 12th century by the bishops of Die. The second one, on the left, was built in the 12th century by Aymar de Poitiers, count of Valentinois. This was not a peaceful face-to-face between ecclesiastical and temporal powers : at that time, and until 1357, a real war opposed the bishops of Die and the counts of Valentinois for the possession of the area and many ruins around Bourdeaux still testify to this struggle.
The two castles were already partly ruined in 1450 : not much remains now, but the remains are still quite impressive.

17 July 2015 @ 09:13 am

It was built in late 17th century by the Omanis to defend the island from the Portuguese

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Southern France, Northern Provence. Nyons is a lovely little city, well situated between the plain and the mountain. A fortified city, in the middle ages. When you leave the touristic centertown and climb the alleys to the top of the hill, you can find a few ancient towers.

The first one is a remain of the fortifications of the city - the "Tour Dauphine", built in 13th century.
The second, a remain of the feudal castle, built between the 10th and 13th century.


26 June 2015 @ 11:01 am