Loches
Comment 1

Le Donjon

Last weekend we visited le Donjon and le Logis Royale – we’ve wandered through the Cité Royale a fair bit, but we hadn’t yet had the chance to go inside.

The kids standing in front of the entry door to the Keep.

The kids standing in front of the entry door to the Keep.

The Donjon in Loches was built between in stages from the 11th to 15th centuries, and is the tallest and most intact dungeon remaining in Europe. It’s a pretty impressive structure – there are many winding staircases, up to tallest tower and down down down to the depths of the tunnels beneath the Martelet. There are so many little hallways leading off to cells, rooms, and more staircases. To put it simply, it’s an amazing place, and mind-blowing to think of what went on inside.

Salle de Graffiti, walls adorned with hundreds of years' drawings, words, names...

Salle de Graffiti, whose walls are adorned with hundreds of years’ drawings, words, names…

In the tower, we visited the torture chamber (I couldn’t quite bring myself to take pics of the shackles…), the “Salle de Graffiti” which is covered in carvings on the walls dating back many hundreds of years, multiple cells, rooms, and the rooftop terrace.

Staircases winding up to the top of the tower and down to the depths of the tunnels below the Martelet.

Staircases winding up to the top of the tower and down to the depths of the tunnels below the Martelet.

The views from the terrace are pretty spectacular, showing all the rooftops of Loches below.

The views from the terrace are pretty spectacular, showing all the rooftops of Loches below.

The doors in the dungeon were pretty interesting to me – the thickness of the wood, the many different iron bars, handles, and locks.

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Dungeon Doors

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We then went through the courtyard and down to the Martelet, where there were more cells, including that of the duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. He was treated as a “privileged” prisoner because of his status, so he had a latrine, furniture, and even heating. He was also allowed the company of his jester, and he painted the walls of his cell. He died in his cell in 1508, after having been in this particular cell for 4 years (though he was arrested and imprisoned in 1500).

Ludovico Sforza's dungeon cell, adorned with the paintings he did on the walls.

Ludovico Sforza’s dungeon cell, adorned with his paintings.

In the dungeon’s 36 metre high keep, the floors and roof are long since destroyed, but you can still see the impressions of the fireplaces on each level. You can almost imagine the ceremonies and receptions that were held in the “grande sale” on the ground floor of the keep.

You can see where each of the levels of the keep once was, with fireplaces and many windows on each floor.

You can see where the levels of the keep once were, with fireplaces and many windows on each floor.

There was one room which housed a detailed model of the Donjon. It was pretty interesting the way it was made, with the white bricks at the tops the walls and towers representing how it originally looked, the white being the parts which have since crumbed away (as well as all of the roofs gone).

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Donjon model

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1 Comment

  1. Gillian Bird says

    Miss you. Love your blog. Will write soon💋

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

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