The Castle of Fougères is an extraordinary sight, standing on a mound in a bend of the Nançon River and jutting out from the side of the walled, Mediaeval town. You can look down on the castle from the public gardens next to the Church of St Leonard in the upper town –
I walked down the hill, through the public gardens and across the river, and suddenly found myself underneath the walls, looking towards one of the city gates, and up into the town walls.
The first, wooden castle on the site was built in 10C and today’s castle dates from the 11C, built by Raoul II, Duke of Fougères. It is apparently a lesson in defensive architecture. The oldest tower is the Gobelins Tower (late 12C) and the square gate towers date from the same time. The semi-circular towers are later and the shape allows for gun emplacements – the whole castle illustrates the development of warfare over the early centuries and much has been written about it on the internet.
There is the usual drawbridge into a gateway with portcullis, and then a second barrier formed by the river with another drawbridge, portcullis and gateway – this was a formidable stronghold! The waterwheels are modern and represent the industries in the town – milling, tannery, and cloth manufacture.
Inside the walls the original buildings have disappeared, with only some outlines in place. These can best be seen by walking around the walls, as the sentries might have done in the past.
Fougères Castle is absolutely fascinating – do visit if you are in this part of France, or travelling through the area on your way to the South!