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8-08-2015, 16:18


In the thirteenth century King Philip Augustus built a manor house in the royal forest of Vincennes near Paris. Charles V (1364–80) in turn rebuilt this hunting lodge as a castle with the great tower we see today, finishing it in 1370. Like many fourteenth-century castles, it had a rectangular plan with walls, moat, corner towers, and central gateways but was not designed to withstand a serious siege. A residential tower standing in the middle of the west wall and an independent defensive system of walls and moat make the chateau of Vincennes secure against treachery. A chapel resembling the Ste.-Chapelle in the royal palace in Paris stood in the courtyard. Begun in 1379, it was not finished until 1552. The tower house at Vincennes is a masterpiece of fourteenth-century architecture. The tower with its battlements stands about 170 feet high. Each floor has a single large room with a central pier supporting a stone vault. Corner towers provide space for additional small rooms and garderobes. Spiral stairs provide access to the six floors and roof. A large ceremonial stair leads from the second floor entry to the royal residence and to a chapel on the third floor. Lords attending the king occupied the fourth floor, and the fifth floor provided lodging for servants. The top floor and roof line are battlemented and the space is entirely given over to military use.