Boulogne Castle, France

The Castle at Boulogne was built in the early 13th Century by Philippe Hurepel, Count of Boulogne who was simultaneously rebuilding the City Walls of the Ville Haute.

Hurepel was one of the leaders of a revolt against Blanche of Castille, the regent of the infant King Louis IX, and at that time he built castles at Calais, Hardelot and here at Boulogne. Unusually for the time the Castle did not have a keep (as is also the case at Hardelot) making Hurepel one of the first proponents of the keep-less castle.

Various amendments have been made to the Castle over subsequent centuries, in particular the Duc de Berry made a lot of changes between 1394 and 1416 and it is likely that he is responsible for the Gatehouse.

The barracks and arsenal were added during the 16th Century. In 1767 the Castle became a barracks and at around this time various windows were added to the structure, as well as the sloping tile roofs, all of which give the Castle a slightly more Manorial feel. After World War II the Castle served as Boulogne’s prison.

In 1974 the town of Boulogne bought the Castle and today it serves to house an unusual and eclectic collection of antiquities which comes as a surprise to anyone expecting it to be full of the usual suits of armour and old weaponry. It actually houses the fifth largest collection of Egyptian relics in the world!

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