A little history of Bar-le-Duc ducal castle
A medieval fortress
Frédéric, count of Barrois then duke of Mosellane, raised the castle at the end of the 10th century, on the left bank of river Ornain.
He erected it on the foundations of an older fortress and added surrounding walls. His goal? Prevent counts of Champagne from invading his land.
Several big towers protected the castle: to the south-east, Clock tower, Valéran tower, Black tower (the jail), Belle gate.
In the second surrounding wall, we had a vast garden, a gallery which led to the duke’s apartments, a keep with several rooms and an oratory.
A royal palace!
In the 16th century, the fortress was transformed by duke René II and his sons Antoine and Charles: it became a royal palace!
Just imagine the decoration, with beautiful stained-glass windows, huge carved chimneys, golden tapestries, golden and silver plate, damask and taffeta linen...
In the garden, they planted rare trees. Birds and wild beasts lived freely. A dreamy place, really... But dukes moved in Nancy and abandoned Bar! A violent fire destroyed the castle in 1649. King Louis XIV finally ordered to demolish it, in 1670.
Inhabitants did the job, more than 500 men carted stones during month and month! In the detached houses, a factory opened at the end of the 18th century: then the city owned the place and opened it to the public.