About Colombières Castle
Colombières Castle or Château de Colombières is a medieval castle built during the 14th century in Calvados, Normandy, and was one of the most famous military fortresses in feudal France.
Colombières Castle history
Colombières Castle was a prominent military fortress in Lower or Basse-Normandy while France was under feudal rule, and is also known as ‘la vigie des Marais‘ or ‘the marsh lookout’. Until the 12th century, Normandy was essentially independent of the French kingdom, instead ruled over by powerful dukes who could raise armies, administer justice, and collect taxes from the security of fortresses such as Colombières.
During the succession struggle of William the Conqueror‘s sons, Henry I and Robert, Normandy was passed to French-English kings until France regained permanent control in 1450 after the Battle of Formigny. By the mid-14th century, the King of France had started bestowing the Duchy to trusted friends and family, ceding that Normandy could be used to rebel against royal power. Resultantly, in 1469, Louis XI had the ducal ring placed on an anvil and smashed to pieces, signifying the end of the duchy.
Built between Bayeux and Isigny-sur-Mer, Colombières Castle is also located close to the D-Day landing beaches, and the village was liberated on 9 June 1944 by Allied forces. Shortly after liberation, the castle was repurposed by the US General Omar Bradley as a base for the 12th US Army Group.
Colombières Castle today
If you’re looking for some grandeur, then be sure to book a stay at Colombières Castle – now a hotel and occasion venue. While the chateau is currently inhabited by the aristocratic Maupeou de Ableiges family, guests can expect a richly historic and refined stay in the castle’s beautiful rooms.
For a time-travelling day trip, the castle offers seasonal feudal festivals reimagine Colombières’ time as a medieval fortress, as well as displays of World War Two era military amphibious vehicles in the castle moat. Visits also include an exterior tour of the moat, the interior courtyard and the main rooms.
Getting to Colombières Castle
Colombières Castle is in a particularly rural area so taxis from nearby Bayeux train station should be booked in advance and can be expensive. If driving from Bayeux, follow the D613, D29 and D29A which takes approximately 30 minutes. From Caen, it is only another 15 minutes along the N13 until joining the route at Bayeux.
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.