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The Louis XI tower in Loches: torture and sufferings on every floors

Louis XI and his cage | / CC-BY-NC-SA
Castle of the Loire Valley Castle Imprisonment Torture Louis XI Loches keep

The keep

Raised by the count of Anjou Foulques Nerra in 1030 on a feudal clod, it took 10 years to built this giant keep (37 m. high)! Because Foulques the ardent was a super conqueror: he wanted to take control of Touraine, and stop every raids of his enemy, the count of Blois Eudes. For that, he raised a big fence made of fortresses: Montbazon, Langeais, Montrésor... and of course, Loches! Long ramparts were added one century later thanks to Henri II Plantagenet. Loches was besieged by the English during the Hundred Years War, but king of France Philip Augustus get it back in 1205… Our ruined stronghold soon became a giant citadel: we have the keep, the Louis XI’s tower and the Martelet.

Louis XI’s tower

Dungeon or attic?

This tower dates back to the 15th century. In a dark cellar, here’s the jail. In middle of the staircase, we can see a kind of tunnel: the legend says that king Louis XI liked to come here, to spy on his prisoners… But in fact, we don’t know if this room is a jail or an attic. Today, we would tend to say it’s an attic!

Hell on earth!

Lugubrious to perfection, with its fireplace where they used to boil the pitch they put on prisoners’ wounds… On the soil, we can see a big iron bar flanks by 3 stony poles, with rings to put the victims’ ankles inside. Then, they subjected them to fire torture, or brodekin torture… brodekin? They crushed your legs until the bones explode!

Engravings’ room

On the walls, we can see here some kind of graffiti. Prisoners (Catholics or Protestants?) drew them in the 16th century, during war of Religion… those characters are wearing typical clothes from Henri III’s reign! We have a guard, at the entrance, with a halbert (the only character in profile), fighting soldiers, others holding guns… Look at those details! Those life-size men have their own features, we even can see nails on hands and details on their clothes... Come closer, next to the fireplace: do you see this religious scene engraving in the stone? It represents a temple, a kind of church, anyway, with a queue of characters below.

Louis and his fillettes

King of France Louis XI transformed the place into a famous jail, popularized by his famous fillettes: the tradition used to say they were tiny wooden cages. But not at all! The fillettes (″little girls″) were only heavy chains which shacked prisoners’ hands and feet...

About the the author

Passionnée par les balades et par l'Histoire, grande ou petite... pleine de détails bien croustillants, si possible !