Coucy Castle is located in the town of Coucy-le-Château-Auffrique, in the Aisne, 19 km north of Soissons.
This is a fortified castle built on a rocky outcrop at the beginning of the 13th century by Enguerrand III, lord of the place, who had served in the battle of Bouvines and participated in expeditions against the Cathars. Previously, the first lords were content with a simple castle motte…
Wanting to compete with the kings of France, Enguerrand III built a fortress that covers 14 hectares, has 33 towers and totals more than 2,000 m of ramparts. The four corner towers of the castle approached the dimensions of the royal keep of the Louvre and the keep of Coucy was for a long time the tallest tower in all of the Christian West.
At the end of the 14th century, his descendant Enguerrand VII, a great diplomat, embellished and transformed the fortress by fitting out vast, richly decorated rooms and endowing it with a Gothic-style palace.
Besieged during the Hundred Years War, the castle was attached to the royal crown in 1498, under the reign of Louis XII. Then, during the Fronde (1648 - 1653), the lord of the castle refused to submit to Louis XIV. With Mazarin, the king orders its dismantling and abandonment. In 1692, an earthquake accentuated this initial damage, which was aggravated during the Revolution when the site turned into a stone quarry.
The ruins could have been abandoned… but Louis-Philippe bought the site in 1829 (on a personal basis) before the State in turn became its owner in 1848. A consolidation project began, led in particular by the famous Viollet-le-Duc.
From now on, the castle and its impressive remains remain visible. This is no longer the case with the keep, however, since the estate was partly destroyed by the Germans in 1917.
Restoration and excavation sites still take place.
Nowadays, the majestic and impressive ruins are the setting for a spectacle in summer.
The ramparts tour can also be the object of a pleasant walk (free).
As for the visit of the remains themselves, managed by the National Monuments Center, it is possible every day. Admission: 4.50 and 5.50 euros. Information on +33 3 23 52 71 28.