The main concept :

As is often the case, buildings that are no longer in use are progressively forgotten . Therefore, the keeps of the castle were abandoned as soon as the 16th century. In the same way, but to a lesser extent, the defensive castle walls of the enclosure were progressively left to decay. As well, the outer ditches were gradually filled up until the 20th century, when they formed a flat surface used as a public square facing the town. The general idea behind the restoration of the castle walls is to recapture the defensive aspect of the castle, as well its image as a fortified stronghold.

Generally, the entirety of the castle walls and the towers will be strengthened . The missing walls will be rebuilt as they looked like originally. The access way to the castle , which was totally transformed during the 18th century, will be recreated according to its original purpose. The ditches will be excavated as well as the inside of the enclosure's southern walls.

This campaign follows the restoration of the keeps , which took place between 1986 and 1996 , and the restoration of the inner courtyard , between 2002 and 2003 . Those works came after a full archaeological excavation campaign.

The present restoration project follows the line of the previous works. It will enable our visitors and the future generations to recognize, on this Norman site, the entirety of the defensive apparatus that made this fortified castle what it was.

Timetable for the restoration campaign :

The campaign follows 4 phases :

The definitive phase and the conditional phase n°1 :

The main elements of this phase are as follows :

  • Excavation of the castle's eastern ditch facing the city.
  • Recreation of a fixed bridge over the ditch, replacing the slope created during the 18th century between the Townhall and the castle. The bridge will be laid on a fore-yard, as was the case before the modern modifications.
  • Renovation of the ditches , the scarp and the counterscarp.
  • Restoration of the walls and the towers of the eastern walls.
  • Restoration of the north - eastern « bastion » , with a recreation of its lower levels (13th century) and upper levels (15th century). This part of the program will start with a preemptive excavation campaign that will last several months. Its aim will be to analyse the archaeological niche that was the result of several centuries of occupancy.

The conditional phase n°2 :

This phase will focus on the southern front of the enclosure , from the Porte Saint Nicolas to the Tour de la Reine. In addition to a restoration of the existing masonry, this phase will also include an excavation of the rubble located inside the castle walls (inside the enclosure). This rubble has been piling up 6 or 7 meters since the Middle Ages.

Today, the levelling course of the castle walls is at the height of a balcony's balustrade.

Without recreating the medieval levels, the idea will be to remove the more recent layer of the rubble on a depth of 2 meters. This will enable the visitor to recapture the feeling of protection and confinement that was proper to a fortress .

In order to access to the wall-walk and the enclosure's towers, two or three panoramic viewpoints will be built.

The conditional phase n°3 :

This phase will focus on the south-western and western parts of the castle walls to the Philip-Augustus Tower .

First, the Tour de la Reine will be restored so as to become accessible to the public. The beginning of the western wall , which is connected to this tower, will be rebuilt , including a restoration of the Passage Guillaume , a vaulted room set inside the wall.

The remains of the last tower , the Tour Ravenel , will be emphasized.

Finally, the walls of the western front , which are the most damaged of the castle, will be rebuilt up to several meters, using traditional restoration techniques .

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