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BOULOGNE SUR MER


Telling you the complete history of the castle would take forever so I will try to make a little synopsis. A military camp was built at the beginning of the 2nd century. New fortifications following the same outline were erected at the beginning of the 4th century. The solid high walls, still visible in the basement of the castle, protected the town for more than 900 years and it was inside this ancient camp that the first seigniorial dwellings were built. Renaud de Dammartin, Count of Boulogne allied with the German emperor, the Count of Flanders and the King of England. The King of France attacked and defeated Rebaud and stripped him of his assets. The French king gave the earldom to his bastard son Philippe Hurepel in 1223. Hurepel decided to reorganize the defenses and he built the castle of Boulogne and also restored the fortifications of the upper town. In the 16th century the English invaded France and in 1544 King Henry VIII succeeded in besieging the heavenly defended town. Boulogne remained under English control until 1550 when it was bought back by the King of France. At the end of the 17th century there were plans to modernize the curtain walls and castle. Louis XIV however refused under the pretext of it costing too much and instead decided that Boulogne's military complex should be pure and simply demolished because it had lost its strategic interest. It is said that the local population resisted and thanks to them only work that was erected in front of the medieval walls was lost. Few things changed since then and today it remains pretty much as it was. The castle has the shape of a 9 sided polygon with each corner flanked by a round tower. Five of the nine towers were however incorporated into thick stonework put up in the 16th century to protect the eastern side from artillery and are no longer visible from the outside.
The castle functions now as a museum holding all kinds of collection including a large Egyptian artifact collection. The fun part is that you can go deep into the foundations of the castle where you still can see the oldest parts of the castle while walking through dark and narrow passageways.
Beside visiting the castle it is also fun to walk through the narrow street of this old fortified town.

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