Berzy-le-Sec Castle, locally known as Château de Berzy-le-Sec, lies in the village with the same name, south of the city of Soissons in the Aisne department in the Picardy region in France.
The village and castle are located on a position that dominates the valley of the Crise stream. There already existed a fortified building on this site in Carolingian times.
The first Lords of Berzy-le-Sec were mentioned in the 12th century. Berzy-le-Sec Castle was strengthened and enlarged in the 14th and 15th century during the Hundred Years' War. During the Italian Wars, from 1494 to 1559, the castle was changed in the style of the Renaissance.
Berzy-le-Sec Castle was built in a quadrangle of 32 to 51 meters on each side. It included, in addition to what remains at present: a defensive wall of about 10 meters high topped with turrets in the corners (all these walls still existed in 1850), a roof covering the second floor, domestic buildings in the courtyard, a well and a drawbridge. It was surrounded by a dry moat dug out of the limestone bedrock, now partially filled in.
From the mid-15th to the mid-16th century Berzy-le-Sec Castle was owned by the De Louvain family. Then it went to the d'Estrées family by marriage. They owned it until the 18th century. The Le Peletier de St. Fargeau family then owned it until the early 19th century. Then the castle buildings were taken into agricultural use. Several farmers then owned the castle; Moreau, Fontaine and Leroux.
During WW 1 Berzy-le-Sec Castle was destroyed and became a ruin. It is now owned by the local community.
Since several years a group of volunteers under the guidance of ASPAM (Association pour la sauvegarde du patrimoine de l'Aisne Meridionale) is working at the castle for 2 weeks during the summer months to partially restore and consolidate the ruins. When I visited I was led round by a nice Spanish girl who was one of some 40 volunteers making new stones, tiles, woodcarvings and ironware. Worth a visit!