About Tourelles Castle
Tourelles Castle is a medieval fortress in the town of Vernon in Normandy, France. The castle originated in 1196, when Philip II of France seized Vernon from the forces of Richard the Lionheart and made the town a military base.
Tourelles Castle history
Tourelles Castle is locally known as Château des Tourelles. In 1196, King Philip II of France took the town and castle of Vernon from the English.
As part of his process of shaping Vernon into a base for further military operations, he built a bridge over the Seine river and Tourelles Castle. The castle was built to protect the city and the passage of the bridge.
Tourelles Castle was a simple square keep with four, 20 meters high, crenelated towers. Its entrance would have been on the side of the bridge. It was surrounded by a moat and linked to the stone bridge by a wooden bridge.
The castle belonged to the local châtellenie during most of the Ancien Régime and was hardly ever involved in military action. It was decommissioned in 1650.
In 1760, the castle underwent a restoration commissioned by Lemoyne de Bellisle. Some alterations were made, such as the fitting out of doors and windows, the fitting out of stairs or finally the replacement of the original crown by a parapet. After this, the castle was acquired by a miller and wheat warehouses were built.
During the Revolution the castle became a prison, it was then used as barracks in the 19th century.
The castle sustained damage during bombings in World War Two, but was later restored.
Tourelles Castle today
Today Tourelles Castle consists of a square tower surrounded by four round turrets, the whole edifice rising to a height of twenty metres. It is one of the few castles in France which has been practically unchanged for 800 years. It has been listed since 1945 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
The castle and its grounds are interesting to explore in conjunction with the medieval centre of Vernon.
Getting to Tourelles Castle
The castle lies in the northern part of the city of Vernon. The nearest train station is Gare de Vernon.
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.