About Carrouges Castle
Carrouges Castle is a 14th century fortress château located in Normandy, France. It is unusual in that it combines being an austere fortress as well as a comfortable residence.
History of Carrouges Castle
The original fortifications at Carrouges were besieged and destroyed by English forces in 1367 during the Hundred Years War. After the war, the château was rebuilt by Jean Blosset, grand seneschal of Normandy, in the 15th century. In the 16th century, the family of Le Veneur de Tillières came into possession of the château.
It was extended several times until the 17th century, with notable additions including a gatehouse, which is considered to be the first example of Renaissance architecture in Normandy, the western bastion which served as a re-fortification during the French Wars of Religion, and the grand apartments. The interior was remodelled in the 18th century, when the music room was built.
The last Le Veneur sold the château to the French state, and from 1944 it was restored. It is now managed by the Centre des monuments nationaux and is open to the public.
Carrouges Castle Today
Today, visitors can enjoy the castle in its restored splendour. It has retained all of the charms of a family residence, with portraits of successive generations of the Le Veneur family lining the walls and furniture dating from the Renaissance to the early 19th century providing an insight into the centuries of change that the castle has borne witness to.
Guided tours are available of the castle, and it’s worth spending a few hours wandering around the extensive and well-kept gardens too.
Getting to Carrouges Castle
From the centre of Alencon, the castle is a 30 minute drive via the D2 road, or a scenic 1 hour 40 minute bike ride via the D201. From the centre of Paris, the castle is a three and a half hour drive via the A11 road.
As one of the great historic regions of France, Normandy is bursting with a number of stunning castles with equally compelling histories to match. Here's our pick of 10 of the best.