César Tower

César Tower, locally known as Tour de César, lies in the medieval town of Provins, in the Seine-et-Marne department in France.

César Tower was probably built in the 2nd part of the 12th century during the reign of Henry I, Count of Champagne. An earlier tower at this site was already mentioned in 1137. Around that time Provins was very prosperous and the 3rd largest city of France, after Paris and Rouen. It served as a prison but mainly as a watchtower, looking out over the plain of Brie. It was built on a motte at the high point of the medieval town. Originally the tower was not roofed but crowned with battlements.

During history it was also known under the names "King's Tower", "Grand Tower" or "Prisoners Tower". Its present name comes from the legend that the town dates back to Roman times and that hence the tower was built by Julius Caesar. There are however no sources to prove that Julius Caesar ever came here.

The town was visited a couple of times by Philip the Fair (Philip IV of France) in the late 13th century. In 1307 he had all remaining Templars in the town arrested and imprisoned at Melun Castle.

During the Hundred Years' War the town was besieged and taken several times. First there was an unsuccessful siege by Edward III of England in 1359. Charles II of Navarre seized the town twice, first in 1361 and again in 1378. After his 2nd seizure the Duke of Berry, John, brother of Charles V of France besieged the town and the Navarrese capitulated.

In 1432 the town was taken by English forces. They then strengthened the tower by adding a sturdy circular wall around it, which became mockingly known as the English Patty. Shortly afterwards they were driven out by troops led by Nicolas Girème, Commander of the Order of Malta, only to return quickly and sack the town.

During the French Wars of Religion Provins had sided with the Catholic League and was therefore besieged by Henry IV of France, first in 1590 and again in 1592.

During the 17th century César Tower was roofed and equipped with bells to serve as a belfry.

In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, the town was occupied by German forces and even visited by Prince Albert of Prussia, brother of William I, the later German Emperor. In 1914 German forces were stopped at the town gates by a counterattack.

At present César Tower can be visited for a fee. The town, with its largely preserved medieval ramparts, is a bit touristy but the tower is beautiful.


Gallery

César Tower

César Tower, locally known as Tour de César, lies in the medieval town of Provins, in the Seine-et-Marne department in France.

César Tower was probably built in the 2nd part of the 12th century during the reign of Henry I, Count of Champagne. An earlier tower at this site was already mentioned in 1137. Around that time Provins was very prosperous and the 3rd largest city of France, after Paris and Rouen. It served as a prison but mainly as a watchtower, looking out over the plain of Brie. It was built on a motte at the high point of the medieval town. Originally the tower was not roofed but crowned with battlements.

During history it was also known under the names "King's Tower", "Grand Tower" or "Prisoners Tower". Its present name comes from the legend that the town dates back to Roman times and that hence the tower was built by Julius Caesar. There are however no sources to prove that Julius Caesar ever came here.

The town was visited a couple of times by Philip the Fair (Philip IV of France) in the late 13th century. In 1307 he had all remaining Templars in the town arrested and imprisoned at Melun Castle.

During the Hundred Years' War the town was besieged and taken several times. First there was an unsuccessful siege by Edward III of England in 1359. Charles II of Navarre seized the town twice, first in 1361 and again in 1378. After his 2nd seizure the Duke of Berry, John, brother of Charles V of France besieged the town and the Navarrese capitulated.

In 1432 the town was taken by English forces. They then strengthened the tower by adding a sturdy circular wall around it, which became mockingly known as the English Patty. Shortly afterwards they were driven out by troops led by Nicolas Girème, Commander of the Order of Malta, only to return quickly and sack the town.

During the French Wars of Religion Provins had sided with the Catholic League and was therefore besieged by Henry IV of France, first in 1590 and again in 1592.

During the 17th century César Tower was roofed and equipped with bells to serve as a belfry.

In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, the town was occupied by German forces and even visited by Prince Albert of Prussia, brother of William I, the later German Emperor. In 1914 German forces were stopped at the town gates by a counterattack.

At present César Tower can be visited for a fee. The town, with its largely preserved medieval ramparts, is a bit touristy but the tower is beautiful.


Gallery