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A little history of Vire fortifications

Tour aux Raines | Ikmo-ned / CC-BY-SA
Fortification Hundred Years War Siege Vire fortifications

Once upon a time a castle raised by Henri I Beauclerc, William the Conqueror's son in the beginning of the 12th century, on his rocky spur. A little city soon appeared and extended quickly: Vire was born!

In order to protect it, they raised powerful surrounding walls with moats in the 13th century.

People from Vire then had to fight with cruel henchmen (les Grandes Companies), who plundered France during Hundred Years War.

During the siege, the famous poet from Vire Olivier Basselin (well-known for his drinking songs, hiccup), wrote those verses:

Tout à l'entour de nos remparts, les ennemis sont en furie. Sauvez nos tonneaux, je vous prie! Prenez plutôt de nous, soudards, tout ce dont vous aurez envie...

Which means in English:

All around our ramparts, furious enemies. Save our barrels, please! And steal everything you want from us.

Normans, beware! Besieged by the English in the 15th century, the city successively fell to the Catholics and the Protestants: Matignon and Montgomery plundered the city.

Cardinal of Richelieu even demolished the castle! During Wold War II, Vire was razed 90 %... adieu, medieval city!

But, wait, come here! We still can see the high tour de l'Horloge ("Clock tower", 32 metres high), an old fortified gate, vestige of the surrounding wall. This clock crowned the 13th century gate since 1480...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!