Donjon du château de Regnéville sur Mer vu du dessus
©Donjon du château de Regnéville sur Mer vu du dessus

The keep


Over the years, the keep, with its strange shape, has become a symbol of the commune of Regnéville. Its imposing mass dominates the vestiges of the castle, and at times seems to defy the laws of balance.

An archaic architecture

Situated on the north-east corner of the inner ward, the keep is a rectangular tower of about twenty metres high, with walls about two metres thick. Four floors, three of which were vaulted, were accessed by a granite spiral staircase. In the 16th century, Rolland de Gourfaleur had openings created on the west and south flanks. The openings led to a balcony supported by a pair of large double corbels, still visible on the two sides.

Challenging the laws of balance ?

During the dismantling of the castle ordained by Richelieu in 1637, the keep exploded – being filled with gunpowder, opening up at the spiral stairway. The top part of the keep is balanced due to the strong adherence of the lime mortar and the presence of two arches below, one on the second level and the other on the third level. The flat part at the top of the tower was carefully assembled with stones set in lime, also helping maintain the whole in place.


The architecture of a square keep in Regnéville is sometimes seen as archaic for the 14th century.

> Which more modern form was used for the construction of keeps from the 12th century ?
Answer : A circular shape, better adapted to defend against artillery projectiles.