A palace and a tower in Poitiers!!

So here I continue with my latest live visit to wonderful old Poitiers. As said was here many years ago, and now back, it seems better this time around. We were all over walking, and two spots connected I like to tell you about is the Palais des ducs d’Aquitaine and the Tour Maubergeon, today part of the courthouse/palais de justice of Poitiers!!

Throughout his lordship, the duke Jean of Berry never ceased to invest in building sites intended to mark the appearance of the city. Among these, major works were launched in the former Palace of the Dukes, shortly after the start of the renewal of the castle.  The Palace of the Counts of Poitiers is the former Ducal Palace of Aquitaine. It is a medieval testimony to the architectural style of Angevin Gothic.

A bit of history I like

The kingdom of Aquitaine had been reconstituted by Charlemagne for his son Louis the Pious. A palace was built for him in the 9C straddling the Roman wall dating from the end of the 3C, on the highest point of the city. King Louis stayed there several times, and returned there once he became emperor, in 839 and 840. It was then the seat of the Counts of Poitiers. This first state of the palace completely disappeared in a fire in 1018. It was rebuilt by the counts-dukes of Aquitaine, then at the height of their power. Count William IX added a keep to it around 1104, on the town side, called the Maubergeon tower in homage to his mistress.

Poitiers palais de ducs aquitaine de justice now front oct21

From 1192 to 1204, Aliénor d’Aquitaine had the Great Hall built, which replaced an older one. Without a particular name at the time, this room was probably the largest of the time (50 × 17 meters) in Europe, The walls of the room are decorated with blind arches supported by fine columns, with a different organization according to the wall. The walls were plastered and painted in the 19C with patterns imitating stone. A stone bench goes around the room. This is the current salle des pas perdus. It was already in this room that the counts-dukes sometimes rendered justice. After the attachment of Poitou to the royal domain, the salle des pas perdus became the room of the King, where the justice of the king was exercised,

The palace of the dukes and counts became the seat of the court of appeal of Poitiers from the French revolution, which thus perpetuated its function of Ancien Régime (monarchy). In 1852, the court of first instance was housed in this wing. It was also in the 19C that the private apartments built in the 14C were demolished to make way for the court of appeal and the registry. In 2019, the tribunal and the court of appeal move to a new judicial complex. On January 1, 2020, it officially becomes the property of the city of Poitiers and hosts an artistic and cultural event combining heritage and contemporary art: Traversées. Since July 2020 it has been open for free visits all week long and various events (conferences, shows, etc.) take place there regularly. Pending what to do next with it, Here as an anecdote the scene from the movie film Jeanne d’Arc was filmed here by Luc Besson.

Poitiers palais de ducs aquitaine de justice now oct21

Founded in the 11-12C, the Tour Maubergeon tower is characterized by a square structure with circular towers at four angles. The set with the four round towers is the old keep of the Palace of the Counts of Poitou. William IX of Aquitaine, poet known as the Troubadour, rebuilt it after a fire in 1018. The count gave it the name of his mistress Mauberge, whom he abducted from her husband’s castle. The Duke of Berry fitted out the keep in the fashion of the time around 1400 during a truce during the Hundred Years War with the piercing of Gothic windows and the addition of sculptures representing the Duke’s vassals. He did not complete the site, hence the level appearance of the building.

Poitiers tour maubergeon front oct21

The Maubergeon tower, behind the palais des ducs of Aquitaine. Topped with sixteen sculptures, this building, rebuilt in the 14C, is a former keep, which belonged to the castle of the Counts of Poitou and Dukes of Aquitaine. Today, it hosts a room in the courthouse. The place has been associated with justice for centuries: the name of Maubergeon indeed comes from “mall berg”, the old Merovingian court. The square at the foot of the tower houses a statue of Joan of Arc, which recalls that in 1429, King Charles VII sent Joan to Poitiers to be heard by theologians.

Poitiers tour maubergeon side oct21

The Poitiers tourist office on the palacehttps://visitpoitiers.fr/en/activite/palais-des-ducs/

The Nouvelle Aquitaine region tourist board on Poitiershttps://www.nouvelle-aquitaine-tourisme.com/en/poitiers-futuroscope/poitiers-a-journey-through-time

There you go folks a dandy city of Poitiers and two of its emblematic monuments not to be missed. The palace of the Counts/Dukes of Aquitaine and its tour Maubergeon sublime. Hope you enjoy the historical architecture introduction we like.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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