Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Magnificient Medieval Donjon

The word 'donjon' is of course French and comes from the Norman French who built many of the world's greatest medieval castles.

A donjon was a formidable piece of medieval architecture - a freestanding structure, rectangular in shape and most readily identifiable to what most people think of as a castle keep. Built for defence, a donjon had very thick walls and an internal spiral stone staircase connecting all floors (up to four storeys high). A donjon was usually constructed inside a castle's walls but was sometimes located within the curtain wall itself.

I have seen many a castle keep in medieval castles over the years, particularly in Britain but I had never seen a definitive French donjon until recently when I visited Bazoges-en-Pareds. It was a magnificent sight, towering above the small town and dominating the skyline for miles around. Here is a video clip which I hope will convey some of that magic.

video

There was also a most beautiful, medieval garden located just in front of the donjon - but that's a story for another day!

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