In France, there are many differentstyles of castles depending onwhen and where they were built
The first castles (10th century)looked like thisThey were built on moats, mounded dirt andwood palisades.Farmyardmoat
By the 12th century, they discovered thatstone was much more efficientThese hugebuildings servednot only to defendthe country fromforeign invadersbut as the basictool in preservingthe king’s and thenobles’ power overthe land.
And eventually by the end of the 13th century theyadded layers of walls for better protectionThe castle wasboth a residencefor the lord andhis family, and afortification.
The purpose of a castleFor the lordand his familyFor the soldiersand the knightsFor theservantsACCOMODATIONPROTECTION STOCK ROOMFor food supplyandArmsCasteles werebuilt to keep outennemiesandas a shelter tothe surroundinginhabitantsThe castle was both a fortification and a residence.
Let’s follow the knights and see whatis going on ….
Inside the castle wall wasthe keep, a large, heavily-built building that was themost secure place in theentire castle. This waswhere the Great Hall waslocated, and where theprivate apartments of thelord and his familywere, possibly with achapel.
The knights and their servants andtheir mounts all had to eat, as did thelord, his family, and his servants andofficials, and their families.Many castles grew certain types offood inside their walls, to add varietyto the diet of those inside the castle Afair number of people could live forweeks within the castle walls, if theyhad brought adequate provisions inwith them.La Basse cour – the farmyard
A less ordinary lifeThe wife of the lord often wasthe one who actually ran thedomestic arrangements of thecastle, attending to herhusband, and supervising theservants.. A noble lady wasalso expected to be well-learned inetiquette, embroidery, andsewing.
Servants woke up before the lady of the castle, preparing food, setting the large tablein the grand hallway. The kitchen of a castle was generally located outside of thekeep, but near the great hall. Good food took a long time to cook and thelord, lady, and knights loved to eat a variety of it. When one meal was done, anotherwas being prepared. The kitchen centered around two fires, one for roasting largelivestock or game, and one for a large cauldron for soup and stew.
Certain religious holidayswere marked with feastsat the castle.These feasts lasted forhours, constantlyrequiring more food to bebrought into the greathall.Bears, jugglers, musiciansentertained the guestsduring the feast.
Tournaments and joustsTournaments were public contests of skill betweenknights. Anyone could enter a tournament if theyhad armor, a horse, a sword, and a shield.
War times: the castle as fortificationWhen war threatened the localpopulation, mainly peasants, wouldtake refuge in the castle.Beyond the drawbridge was aportcullis, a grate made of iron orwood in a vertical slot which couldbe lowered quickly to stop intruders.
When an attack wasexpected, the drawbridgewas raised, the gates andportcullis wereclosed, and archers werestationed on the towers.The walls were not onlyhigh, in a well-plannedcastle, but they werearranged as much aspossible so that anyoneclimbing the walls couldbe shot at from twodirections.
Rolling woodentowers, covered with thickhides to stop arrows andkept wet so they could notbe set on fire, werebrought up to the walls inan attack.Catapults threw heavystones or fire bombs atthe walls to make abreach over the walls.
From the Middle Ages fortification to theresidence of the Renaissance(15th century)After gunpowder and cannonsbecame available, there wasless point to a castle as afortification.Most of the chateaux fortswere remodeled especiallythose along the Loire valley :they were enlarged and redevelopped : many pieces wereadded to improve the castle asa residenceParisThe Loire Valley
Château de Chaumont sur LoireThis is an example of a typicalcastle from the Renaissanceperiod : a fancy refined andornamented fortifcationRenaissance castles arecaracterized by typicalarchitectural elements:arches, ihighceilings, symmetrical designbase, ornate moldings anddécorThese castles were built toimpress and to last.A few samples of Renaissance castles
Château d’AmboiseInvited to stay in thiscastle by the kingFrancois 1er, Leonardo da Vincidied three years afterin 1519.
Château d’UsséSleeping Beauty’s castleThis castle inspiredCharles Perrault(1628-1703) theauthor of SleepingBeauty
The Chateau de Chambord ofChambord, France, is considered themost beautiful Renaissance castle ofthe Loire Valley. The construction ofthis 440-room castle took more than25 years. The castle contains 84staircases and 365 fireplaces.
ChenonceauOne of the oldest castlesin the Loirevalley, Chenonceau wasbuilt entirely in theriver, with a drawbridgelinking it to the elegantgardens on theriverbanks. The castlewas designed entirely byits female occupants anddemonstrates both theelegance of Renaissancedesign and the skill of theeras engineers.
Cheverny : drifting to the 17th centuryThe Château deCheverny becamethe model for Hergéto design the castlefor CaptainHaddock.
Vaux le VicomteGradually it became clear that the purpose of a castle was to accomodate the king, his family and manymembers of the nobility, the courtiers reason why the castles became much larger and much moreopulent and luxurious.
A bit of history• During the reign of Louis XIII, there was very littleapart from an old brick and stone hunting lodgeon the site of what is now the Château deVersailles. His son, Louis XIV, however, had grandplans for its expansion and in 1661 work began totransform and enlarge both the palace and thegardens at Versailles. The court and governmentof France was moved to Versailles in 1682 andremained there until the French Revolution in1789.• The transformation of the palace was entrustedto two architects, Louis Le Vau and then JulesHardouin-Mansart while the gardens weredesigned by André Le Nôtre. Work continueduntil the death of Louis XIV in 1715 and hissuccessors, Louis XV and Louis XVI continued toadd to the palace. In 1837, the palace officiallybecame a museum dedicated to "All the gloriesof France".
The chateau is one of the largest palaces in the world. It has morethan 700 rooms, 2000 windows, 1250 fireplaces, 67 staircases andmore than 1800 acres of park.The most famous feature of the Palace of Versailles is the Hall ofMirrors. Spanning across a length of 240 feet the hall was onceused to be lit with 3,000 candles. On the either side of thehallway are two salons namely the ‘de la guerre’ and the Hall ofMirrors called ‘de la paix’.
The Kings daily routineThe Kings day was timed down to the last minute so that the officers in the service of the monarch could plan their work asaccurately as possible. From the rising ceremony to the retiring, he followed a strict schedule, as did all the members of theCourt, all regulated like clockwork.The Kings mornings7.30-8 am "Sire, it is time", the first Valet de Chambre awakens the King. The First Levee begins. Doctors, familiars and a fewfavourites who enjoyed the privilege of the Grand Entries followed in succession into the bedchamber of the King who waswashed, combed and shaved (every other day). The officers of the Chamber and the Wardrobe then entered for the GrandLevee during which the King was dressed and breakfasted on a bowl of broth. Only the most important personalities in thekingdom were admitted to observe this ritual. The number of attendants is estimated at around a hundred, all male.10 am:As they left the Kings apartment, a procession formed in the Hall of Mirrors. Followed by his courtiers, the Kingcrossed the whole breadth of the Grand Apartment. This was the moment when the crowd gathered along the passage of theroyal cortège was at last able to catch a glimpse of the monarch. Some were even able to speak to him briefly or pass him awritten request. The King sat in the tribune of the Royal Chapel to attend mass, for about thirty minutes. The choir of the"Chapel Music", renowned throughout Europe, sang a new work each day, composed by Lully, Delalande and many others.11 am: Back in his Apartment, the King held council in his cabinet. On Sundays and Wednesdays was the Council ofState, Tuesdays and Saturdays were devoted to the Royal Council of Finances, and finally, on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridaysthere might be an extra Council of State to replace a Dispatch Council (domestic affairs) or a Religious Council (religiousaffairs). On these same days, the King might also decide to examine the progress of the building programmes. Five or sixministers worked with the monarch who spoke little, listened much and then made his decision.1 pm: In his bedchamber, the King dined alone, sitting at a table facing the windows. This meal was in principle a private onebut Louis XIV used to receive all the men of the Court, in general those present at the Levee.
His afternoons2 pm: The King gave his orders announcing his intentions for the afternoon in the morning. If he wished for apromenade, it was in the gardens, either on foot or in a carriage with the ladies. If he chose to hunt, thefavourite sport of all the Bourbons, it took place in the grounds when the King preferred to shoot, or in thesurrounding woodland when he rode to hounds.6 pm: Often Louis XIV let his son preside over the indoor entertainments, like the evenings in the apartments.Meanwhile, he would sign the many letters prepared by his secretary and then go to the apartments ofMadame de Maintenon where he would study an important dossier aided by one of his four secretaries ofState.The evenings10 pm: The crowd squeezed into the antechamber of the Kings apartments to attend the Grand PublicSupper. The King would sit at the table, surrounded by members of the royal family. At the end of themeal, the monarch walked through his bedroom and into the salon to salute the ladies of the court. Then hewithdrew to his cabinet to converse more freely with his family and a few close acquaintances.11:30 pm: The retiring, a public ceremonial where the King withdrew to his bedroom, was a shortenedversion of the Levee
Construction of thepalace, based onexisting records, cost116,438,892 livres. Thisis $2 billion in currentday dollarsThe Hall of Mirrors contains 17 large chandeliers and26 smaller ones each made of solid silver. Thechandeliers held 3 000 candles !The Chapel in the palace took 28 years tocomplete (from 1682 to 1710) because LouisXIV demanded absolute perfection indesign, construction and materialsThe entire complex wascompleted with the ultimate inopulence and luxury. Somefirst time visitors thought theyhad arrived at thepalace, when in fact they hadentered the royal stables . Thestables for the 2,000 horsesthe King kept on site containedfireplaces and appeared to bea portion of the main palace.