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Château de Falaise

Birthplace of William De Falaise

(original ancestor of the Farley Line)



The Château de Falaise is a castle located in the south of the commune of Falaise ("cliff" in French) in the Calvados département of France. [Located in Basse-Normandie (English: Lower Normandy)

The town was the birthplace of William I the Conqueror, first of the Norman kings of England. The castle (12th-13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy.

The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the "large keep" (Grand donjon). Later was added the "small keep" (Petit donjon).

In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep, now known as the "Talbot" tower (Tour Talbot). It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.

It changed of hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. A program of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during World War II in the battle for the Falaise pocket, 1944.

During the 1990s, the castle was again restored, this time by the Monuments historiques, resulting in the further destruction to the interior of the square keep and reconstruction of its forebuilding in a concrete and metal fantasy.


Overview of the Castle, drawn by Viollet-le-Duc



Detail of a window, from the      

Dictionnaire of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc

(French architect famous for his restorations of medieval buildings)