Château de Sedan

The Château de Sedan is a castle situated in Sedan, France, on a headland on the border of Meuse, flanked by the rivers Bièvre and Vra, in the Ardennes département of France. It is a grand fortress of medieval European stock, covering an area of 35,000 m2 in its seven floors.

Around 1424, Eberhard II von der Mark built a manor with two twin towers around a church over a period of six years. When Evrard died in 1440, his son Jean de la Marck began reinforcing the fortress, but it was Robert II de la Marck, the grandson of Jean, who finished the most important work. In 1530, the fortifications of the manor were modernised by the construction of a circular boulevard and terraces with cannons, thickening the 4.5m curtain wall by an additional 26m. The bastions were added during the course of the next century, but some of them were eventually dynamited at the end of the 19th century. In 1699, the principality having been absorbed into France in 1642 (see the Battle of Marfée, during the Thirty Years’ War), and the castle having been transformed into a garrison, Vauban built the door of the Princes (French: « des Princes ») that was adapted to the progress of artillery. In 1822, the Church of Saint-Martin was demolished and replaced with a store for cannonballs. Turenne was born in the Château de Sedan in 1611. On September 1, 1870, the castle was surrounded by the Prussian army headquartered in Sedan. Napoleon III surrendered the following day in the small neighbouring city of Donchery.

The castle was given by the French Army to the city of Sedan in 1962, and was subjected to a number of restoration attempts. Today the castle, in addition to being a tourist hotspot in the Ardennes, contains the office of tourism of the city as well as a 3-star hotel. There is also a museum inside the castle; one of the rooms of this museum is dedicated to the war of 1870, and one can find there a rich collection of Prussian helmets.

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