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Château d'Ainay le Vieil

Visites culturelles

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Description :

Ainay-le-Vieil combines two architectural styles: feudal and renaissance. The feudal part has kept most of its means of defense. The high walls are intact and form a closed ring. The fortress was build around 1300, by a young and powerful Lord, Jean de Seuly, or Sully. Those big walls measure almost an hectare. Their shape is that of an octagon, with nine towers attached to one another by the guards walk way. The fortress is surrounded by running water moats.

The fortress has eight "courtines" or stretches of remparts. Some of those are open with an amazing view on the renaissance lodging -end of the 15th. From the top of the ramparts, you can also see the surrounding park. All towers are not alike. Some have kept their roofs from the Middle-Ages, with a "poivriere" style roof -a pepper grinder look- and are covered with red tiles. On the inside of the ramparts, the roofs show a flat side. This is meant to follow the convex shape of the ramparts which is a particularity of Ainay-le-Vieil. The open "courtines" have a defense purpose. In case the enemy set foot on the remparts, they would become easy targets. Some towers have maintained their XIIIth century with arrowslits or narrow openings from which arrows could be safely shot, and ammunition storage space.

All towers were designed on that same plan. One tower modified in the 14th century, has rectangular windows. The windows were covered with wooden shutters, which would swing around a horizontal wooden bar to serve as a shield against the archer, who fired his cross-bow : a weapon recently invented and that needed wider openings than the classic bow-and-arrow. The steps to enter the tower from the walk way, would give the guards a superior position over an enemy who would want to come in after setting foot on the rampart.