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The original castle of Bussy was built in 12th century, but the place was reconstructed and modernized many times.
In 1520, the surrounding wall is knocked down to create delicate Renaissance galleries in the courtyard, and in 1649, the new front of the castle is finished by the new owners of the place, the family of Rabutin - now de Bussy-Rabutin.

In 1844, after the great success of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas is at the height of his fame and fortune. Searching for a place where he could escape parisian bustle to produce new stories, he buys a few plots of land on the slopes of Port-Marly and hires the architect Hippolyte Durand to build his dream house. A neo-Renaissance castle overlooking the Seine river, completed by a miniature neo-gothic castle (the Château d'If) and gardens "à l'anglaise" inspired by the English poet and gardener William Mason.

On july 25, 1847, 600 people came at the housewarming party. Dumas'door was opened to almost everyone and many people took advantage of it - the house was always full of friends, mistresses, admirers, profiteers, full of pets too (dogs, cats, parrots, monkeys and even a vulture)... A ruinously expensive way of life that couldn't last long.
In march 1849, pursued by many creditors, Dumas sold for the modest sum of 31,000 gold francs a property that had costed him hundreds of thousands. The buyer allowed him to remain here, but in 1851, as the creditors and the debts had only increased, he had to leave France for Belgium.
Here ends Dumas' story in Port-Marly.

In 1969, the castle had fallen in disrepair, water started to seep inside by the broken roof and the owner, a private development company, planed to destroy it to build 400 new homes on the site.
In response, two preservation groups were created, one by Port-Marly and cities around, the other by french historian Alain Decaux. The restoration began in early 1970's and the two groups still work together to preserve the place, now given back to its old splendour.

02 July 2016 @ 08:27 pm

A fortified medieval Islamic palace built during the second half of the 11th century in the Moorish taifa of Zaragoza of Al-Andalus."
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01 June 2016 @ 04:09 pm

Built by Sultan Mehmed II in 15th century

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On the shores of a quiet little strait in Beara Peninsula, a 19th century manor and the ruins of a 15th castle stand face to face. A notice here tells the story of Dunboy Castle, besieged by English troops during Nine Years War but you find almost nothing about the manor and I had to search the web to find more informations about it. These are two different buildings, two different times, families and stories, but related by the land they dominate and the dramatic pages of Irish History they embody.

First of all was Dunboy Castle.
The place belonged to Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare, who joined the irish noblemen fighting against English authority. Unfortunately for him, the letter in which he submitted to the Spanish king (ally of the rebels) was intercepted by the English. The queen was not amused, and sent her troops to attack Dunboy. The castle fall in june 1602, an all the defenders died, killed in combat or executed. The O'Sullivan clan never returned to their castle home, of which not much remains now - a few crumbled walls, half covered by vegetation.

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Here, you'll find the whole story, with old pictures of ruined Puxley Manor and an interesting video of the place before and during restoration.

Last (but not least) interesting thing to know about the place : Daphne du Maurier's Hungry Hill is directly inspired by the Puxley family and manor's history.

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.