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Down from its towers, more than eight centuries contemplate you!

Curiosity Frédéric - assistant base de données et TIC By Frédéric - assistant base de données et TIC, the 30 August 2018

The preservation of the museums of Niort Agglo proposes you a guided tour of the Donjon until September 7th, from Tuesday till Friday, at 11 am. It is entitled " History and architecture of the Donjon ".

In this Thursday, August 23rd, a group of seven people is welcomed by Marie, one of the three cultural mediators of museums, which, after an introduction in the room of welcome, invites them to go out to appreciate better the impressive stature of the guard of the Sèvre Niortaise!

" Originally, a castrale clod, a wooden castle-fort, is certainly brought up along the current street of the City hall to protect itself from Vikings. In 1104, it is accidentally set on fire either during the fights between the count of Poitou and that of Anjou, then reconstructed wooden and stone. From the end of the XIIth century, it is rebuilt in river bank, bigger and completely stone further to Henri's revolt the Young person, the son of king of England. Its two chief towers connected by a main building symbolize the ascendancy of Plantagenêt on all the big West of the kingdom of France and Richard's co-sovereignty, count of Poitou, under the authority of his father Henri II, duke of Aquitaine and king of England! ".
Then, guide puts a set of interactive questions to clarify the technical vocabulary bound to this Romanic military architecture: what an archère and a murderess is the difference between a donjon and a castle? What a machicolation on bow?
The game of spot the difference in support of a computer generated image comes then reconstituting the donjon at the time of Plantagenêt. Even the grown-ups try to meet the challenge!

Of return behind the protective walls of the ancient memorial, the direction the topographic model of the medieval city allowing in a wink of eye to understand the strategic position of the double Romanic donjon surrounded with its surrounding wall castrale, itself extended by the urban wall encircling both Saint André's and Notre-Dame’s hill-parishes. Also imagine the fluvio-maritime port serving the covered hall where the trade of big person and detail participated in the local economic life! 

In the " room of the Donjon ", the architectural evolution of the built is detailed to you to arrest the various transformations and the uses of the building over time. Moreover, the proofs of its past are still visible on the naked stone! Alternately, the old building was of the XIIth in the XVth century a place of defense and reception, then the apartments of the royal captain; barracks and prison of State in the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries; the departmental detention center from the French Revolution and finally a museum at the end of the XIXth century.

The big room of the furniture from Poitou offers itself then to the curious having climbed a spiral staircase. At Marie's invitation, eyes get up to admire a skeleton in the former reconstituted by the Compagnons du Devoir of the company Asselin de Thouars which also worked in the construction of Hermione. She is in hull of ship opposite and covered with studded wooden lathing in the hand!

In the XIIIth century, at this level, it was the covered way with aliasing in archères. Will you know how to guess them, crenels having since been filled?

Icing on the cake, guides invite her the group to a panoramic final on the terrace of the north donjon. Of above, in 23 meters, under a brilliant blue sky, the visitor kisses in 360 degrees the old town with its donjon, deserving representing some royal and state power and the twin tower of which we see more 5 meters high; the échevinage, the ancestor of the City hall calling back that Niort was one of first municipalities based in France; Saint André and Notre-Dame, represent holders of the religious authority: a triple peace convenient to the prosperity time of Alienor d' Aquitaine!

To go farther, the museum of the Donjon organizes also all year round thematic visits, of which to satisfy your insatiable appetite of novelties! More information on the site of the Conurbation of Niortais: www.niortagglo.fr

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