Nord-Pas-de-Calais Chateaux and Castles


The French region of Nord pas de Calais has few castles. Those still remaining today that are worth visiting are:

  • Boulogne-sur-Mer Château:

    the castle was built in the 13th century by Philippe Hurepel (1180-1234), count of Boulogne and son of Philip II of France. Following the death of his half-brother, king Louis VIII after a short three-year reign, Hurepel was one of the leaders of a rebellion against the regent, Blanche de Castille, mother of the minor Louis IX. He constructed castles at Calais and Hardelot and refortified Boulogne. The castle is built in the eastern corner of the medieval walls surrounding the Haute Ville (literally, high town - the part of Bologne on the hill). The walls themselves were reconstructed by Hurepel. The eastern part of the castle was built over a corner of the Roman wall, parts of which are still visible in the basement. Housing together the political, legal and economic powers of the time, it was also a residential and defensive site.
    Various modifications have taken place. Major alterations were carried out by the duc de Berry between 1394 et 1416. The horse shoe shape (barracks, arsenal) was completed around 1567. After being adapted because of developments in artillery during the 16th century, it lost some of its medieval character. In 1767, it became a barracks and, after World War II, it also housed a prison. In 1974, the town council took over ownership of the castle and decided to install its museum collections.
  • Fort Risban, Calais:

    it is one of the three main fortifications built to protect Calais, the others being Fort Nieulay and the Citadel. Work began on the fortifications in the 13th Century, but there have been many alterations over the years, much of the now visible brickwork being from the 19th Century. These French forts saw a great deal more action than those on the other side of the channel and during their long history have been captured by the English and Spanish and re-captured by the French.

    Fort Risban is one of the first things which can be seen from the ferry, as it comes into Calais harbour.


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