Here, we are in the current Court of Justice, the old castle of counts of Poitou! Raised on the location of an old Gallo-Roman palace, the place became the estate of counts of Poitou’s, in the 10th century: the proud Guillaume IX completely re-raised it (especially the salle des Pas-Perdus)!
Guillaume was handsome, blond and strong. You know what? Well, he was Eleanor of Aquitaine’s grandfather! By the way, in the 12th century, we see the aforesaid grand-daughter turning up in Poitiers with her husband, king of England Henri II: the city became the duchess’ favorite court.
After that, king of France saint Louis settled his brother Alphonse in the palace: there, in 1241, the boorish count Hugues X de Lusignan insulted his king in public, refusing to pay homage to Alphonse… ouch! Hughes was angry, he had hard feelings against this brother who became count of Poitiers…
Hey, he was afraid to loose his lands and his authority! He insulted him, in the heart of this palace… scandal! So each one raised an army, Hugues helped by the English. It was a French victory for the king in 1242, in front of the castle of Taillebourg (Charente-Maritime). Lusignan’s end!
Joan of Arc was questioned here in 1429 (they also checked her virginity). The famous Finance Minister Jacques Coeur, accused of Agnès Sorel’s murder, appeared before the court in 1453, on his knee, a candle in his hands. Here, alone and tortured, he learned his dear wife’s death… Here, also, the dauphin was proclaimed king Charles VII of France in 1422.
But the English (who ruled over the area during the Hundred Years War) burnt the palace in 1346… so, duke Jean I of Berry (also count of Poitiers) rebuilt it in 1395: do you remember Jean, the art sponsor?
We met him in his ducal palace of Bourges (Cher) and his castle of Mehun-sur-Yèvre (Cher)... His favorite architect, Guy de Dammartin, completely transformed the palace of Poitiers: he made the gorgeous details of the famous salle des Pas-Perdus!