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Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Essonne

Dourdan - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Essonne

Standing on the banks of the Orge, the medieval town of Dourdan has a fine architectural heritage, a reminder of its rich past as a royal town and capital of Hurepoix.

Built in the 13th century at the request of Philip Augustus to defend and symbolise royal power, nowadays Dourdan Castle is a superb example of military architecture. Examples of this include the quadrangular wall dotted with towers and surrounded by dry moats, the fortified little castle and the isolated cylindrical keep. From the top of the keep, visitors can enjoy a pretty view of the town and the wooded surroundings. The fortress is also of special interest, with its 18th-century former salt attic, later converted into a residence and now the headquarters of the municipal museum. Inside are a series of collections relating to archaeology, fine art and local history.

Opposite the castle, other monuments can be seen, such as the covered market dating from 1836, where a market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday morning, and the 13th and 15th-century gothic church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, with its spires that tower over the town.

Each year in the month of June, a medieval festival with a market, activities and performances takes place in the castle courtyard and on Place du Général de Gaulle.

Additional information

Set in a natural bowl, lined trays, City Dourdan developed over centuries around its historic heart and its castle of the thirteenth century. historic capital of Hurepoix, Dourdan boasts a varied heritage: the Gallo-Roman pottery with characteristic houses catalogs of urban expansion in Île-de-France at the turn of the century.

Located on the road connecting the vast wheat cereal plateau of Beauce in Paris, Dourdan was for many centuries a clearinghouse and trade as evidenced by the old market square and its grain halls. This construction of medieval foundation, replaced in 1836 by a new building, still home to merchants and craftsmen today.

City of potters: Built on the banks of the Orge, Dourdan is a pottery production center since the Roman times up to the late Middle Ages. Urban archaeological excavations conducted in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have updated several ovens and a rich collection of archaeological pottery preserved today at the Castle Museum Dourdan.

Royal City: The medieval period devoted Dourdan as a royal city. Hugh the Great, Duke of France, dies at Dourdan in 956. On the accession of his son, the city becomes property of the Crown of France. Cradle of the Capetians, Dourdan has a first wooden castle whose location is not yet determined. In 1220, Philip II chose to erect a powerful stone fortress in the heart of the city, whose construction is completed in two years. Remarkable example of military architecture, the castle became, over the centuries, the prerogative of nobles of the kingdom, the family of Evreux the Dukes of Orleans.

The Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion result in a period of conflict. Successive seats the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries led to the burning of the city archives, the destruction of the upper parts of the castle and the Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois church. To protect themselves, Dourdan gets a city wall whose imprint and remains still mark the current plan of the city.

New prosperity: After the reconquest of the city by the troops of Henry IV in 1591, the city begins to rebuild. wool socks industries, mills bring a new prosperity. The development of the suburbs beyond the gates of the city, along the main roads linking Dourdan in Etampes, Chateaudun, Paris and Chartres, testify to this new dynamism. The governors of the city, on behalf of the family of Orleans, owner Dourdan, settled in the castle of the Parterre, built in 1725, now City Hall today.

The old fortress loses its defensive role and hosts, from 1672, for two centuries, prisoners, thieves and beggars. The royal prison, became departmental and communal alongside, in the castle, royal audience, forestry administration and a mutual school in 1836.

City resort: The second half of the nineteenth century brought many changes in the city. The castle, now private property, in a period of restoration, study and redevelopment. It was bought by the city in 1969.

The arrival of the train in 1866 attracting a new population. Publishers moved to Dourdan and route by train, catalogs offering everyone the opportunity to choose his house. Just like other cities in Île-de-France, becomes Dourdan resort. Many houses are built on the outskirts of Dourdan, particularly in the station area. Many of these houses still shape today's cityscape.

The medieval historic heart to the construction of suburbs, the city of Dourdan always pursues a policy combining urban development and conservation of its heritage.

Built on the banks of the Barley, Dourdan owes its notoriety, from the Gallo-Roman times, its pottery workshops. Strategic location on the road connecting the wheat Beauce in Paris, Dourdan has played a role in almost all wars in the history of France.

Property of the Crown from the sixth century, the city became the seat of the Capetians in their struggle against the feudal lords in the Paris region. Cradle of royal power, it is characterized by a strong fortress built in the heart of the city in 1220 by Philippe Auguste. Remarkable example of military architecture, still visible, it would become, over the centuries, the prerogative of nobles of the kingdom: Blanche of Castile, St. Louis, Duke of Berry, Sully, Orleans family.

In the 17th century, the city is at that time, the dowry of Marie de Medici, will beautify and develop economically. It owes its fame to its factories sock knitting machines which were introduced at the initiative of a young woman dourdannaise, Marie Poussepin, which modernized the wool industry in the city.

In the 19th century, Dourdan is known for its publishers. Standardization of materials has enabled all classes to choose from a catalog habitat of his dreams.

Historic city still surrounded by its ramparts, Dourdan is now the testimony of a living past and a well preserved architectural heritage.

Things to see and do

Castle of the 13th century Castle Museum Dourdan.

Circuits in the historic city from the Tourist Office Dourdan.

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Natural sites

Events and festivities

Medieval Festival in the city each year the first weekend in June


Dourdan Castle pregnant
Dourdan Castle pregnant
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Castle Dourdan
Castle Dourdan
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Dungeon Castle
Dungeon Castle
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Castle Museum
Castle Museum
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Castle Museum Dourdan
Castle Museum Dourdan
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Town of Dourdan
Town of Dourdan
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby


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