Article About Loire< FRANCE
William the Conqueror, who invaded and took England in the 11th century, had his castle at Caen in Normandy. His influence on castle building in Europe is undeniable. Massive medieval fortifications dot the French landscape. An ancient medieval walled city can be viewed at Caracssonne, one of the few of such cities to survive in its original form.
During the later Middle Ages, French castles began the transformation from formidable, protective strong hold, to elegant, sophisticated chateau. Allies of French kings and other aristocracy claimed fortresses and transformed them into mini palaces.
Avignon - Vaucluse
A heavily fortified palace was built in the 14th century when the Popes, exiled from Italy, went into exile in France. The castle's architecture is a balance of asymmetrical, yet ordered buildings, and is a blend of French and Italian styles. Ornate gargoyles penetrate fro the exterior of the castle walls.
Mont-Saint-Michel - Normandy
One of the most picturesque castles in France, and perhaps all of Europe, this stronghold is a city unto itself, built in the Saint-Michel bay. Tides would bring in a daily barrier of water between the castle and the mainland. In 966 the Duke of Normandy founded a Benedictine abbey here.
This site was changed throughout the following centuries to include a Carolingian church, one of Romanesque style and finally with the massive Gothic complex that exists today. This medieval fortress survived many sieges and has been restored after fires swept through the complex on several occasions.
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